By Nicolas Jose Rodriguez
“The Kentucky General Assembly finds and declares that it is in the best interest of the Commonwealth to legalize and regulate the possession, cultivation, production, processing, packaging, transportation, testing, marketing, sale, and use of medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis,” reads new legislation filed on Thursday by Kentucky Democrats to legalize cannabis sales to adults over 21, establish a medical marijuana program and expunge past convictions, reported Marijuana Moment.
The new bill would legalize possession of up to 1 ounce of marijuana in public and up to 12 ounces in a private space.
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The bills, SB 186 and HB 521 sponsored by Senate Minority Floor Leader Morgan McGarvey, Sen. David Yates and Rep. Rachel Roberts, aim to establish a Cannabis Control Board and create the Department of Cannabis Control for the daily oversight of cannabis operations as well as setting up “various one-year business licenses.”
In a press conference, Rep. Roberts called the legislation a “comprehensive plan that Kentuckians deserve.”
McGarvey added that “Kentucky continues to fall behind in an area where we could be leading. It is 2022. It’s time we end the prohibition on cannabis in Kentucky.”
The Bluegrass State is already an important producer of hemp. According to the latest Hemp Report by the USDA, Kentucky has harvested approximately 1,400 acres of industrial hemp flora, with one of the highest yields per acre, about 2,000 pounds, only second to Washington state.
Highlights Of The New Bills
The Cannabis Control Board would be responsible for the oversight and regulation of the possession, cultivation, production, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, testing, sale and use of cannabis products.
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Moreover, the board would establish the number of licenses that may be issued within a list of 25 licensing categories, including cultivation, processing, and manufacturing; testing; retail sales; special events; on-site consumption; transportation; micro-businesses; and “any other category deemed necessary by the board” within the parameters of the new legislation.
In addition, the new legislation would expand funding for the treatment of substance use disorder and earmark a portion of local cannabis taxes to fund scholarship programs and grants for groups disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs.
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.