GOP leader still believes in marijuana as pension solution

GOP leader still believes in marijuana bill

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Kentucky Senator Dan Seum, who represents parts of Louisville is still pushing for pot as a solution to Kentucky's pension crisis.

He's at odds with the Governor and Senate President, who is from his own party. They say it will never get the green light.

In less than two months the regular session will begin here in Frankfort, double-digit budget cuts across the board are a hot topic of discussion as lawmakers flirt with ways of bringing in new revenue.

"Absolutely it's going to be an ugly budget session and if we don't start looking at new sources of revenue it's going to get even uglier...," Seum, (R)-Ky., said.  

RELATED: Paying for pensions with pot?

Seum has represented the 38th district for decades and he expects this budget session to be worse than ever before.

But recently Governor Bevin and Senate President Stivers--who is also a Republican, like Seum--have snuffed Seum's idea of adult use or recreational marijuana as a revenue alternative.

“Marijuana is a gateway drug. You start with marijuana then a lot of people move on to other things and I’m not going to be in that camp, either for legalization of marijuana or am I going to be in the camp for expanded land-based casino gaming," Stivers said. 

Gov. Bevin says Seum’s solution has zero chance

“Let me just say, the odds of that happening not high and all pun intended. “…I will say this, if you look at this, the proposal, that this would generate $100 million, we have a $60 billion problem, at least,  probably bigger. That's 600 years of smoking pot to fix the pension crisis, I don't think that's the solution for Kentucky. We're going to fix it with constructive changes and not with delusional ideas like that,” Bevin said. 

WHAS11’s Chris Williams asked Seum why he is continuing to push this even after the governor and Senate President Stivers have said they don’t back it.

RELATED: Witnesses testify against Kentucky legalizing marijuana

“Well it's called leadership, I think. They call me a leader. I’m not bashful you know, back when we did the vehicle emission testing thing, they said that couldn't happen either. But we got rid of it. 

Seum said he didn’t think his effort of pushing the marijuana solution would cause a fissure. 

“I don't think so. We're all adults over here, you know we're allowed to disagree on issues. I think the world of President Stivers. He's a tremendous leader and we just disagree on this issue and…maybe when we get into the regular session and desperation gets in place and we need new money, we might look at this,” Seum said. 

On Wednesday Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said she would form a task force to look into legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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