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New legislation aims to 'end the prohibition on cannabis in Kentucky,' senator says

Lawmakers from both the House and Senate filed identical legislation Thursday to legalize the sale of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Lawmakers in Kentucky's House and Senate chambers have filed legislation to legalize marijuana for both medical and recreational use.

Rep. Rachel Roberts (D-67) and Senators Morgan McGarvey (D-19) and David Yates (D-37) filed identical legislation Thursday titled L.E.T.T.'s Grow. According to a press release from the Kentucky House of Representatives, the acronym stands for legalizing sales, expunging crimes, treating those who "deserve to benefit" from the medicinal properties provided by cannabis and taxing sales for people who want to buy cannabis for "adult use."

"This would be a boon for our economy and farmers alike, plus give state and local governments a major new source of revenue," said Roberts.

McGarvey said the legalization of marijuana is an area where Kentucky is falling behind as 37 states have already legalized cannabis for medical use.

"It's time we end the prohibition on cannabis in Kentucky," McGarvey said.

RELATED: Medical marijuana legalization faces uphill battle in Kentucky General Assembly

If the legislation is passed, it would create a Cannabis Control Board, which would mirror the work of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, according to the press release. The board's seven members would establish and enforce regulations "from seed to sale" and none of the board members could have interest in a cannabis business.

The legislation would also work to expunge criminal records for low-level marijuana offenses.

Rep. Jason Nemes said he believes he has the votes to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky but this legislation may have a tough time clearing the Senate. In January, Senate President Robert Stivers told KET he was open to discussing the issue but had personal concerns about advancing the legislation.

In 2020, the Kentucky House passed a bill legalizing marijuana but the measure stalled in the Senate.

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