Kentucky Senate to Consider Marijuana Decriminalization in 2015

A Kentucky state senate bill introduced last month would eliminate the possibility of arrest and criminal prosecution for low-level cannabis possession in the state.

Senate Bill 79 (SB79), the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Act, was introduced on Jan. 9 to alter established law enforcement priorities in the state of Kentucky. Authored by State Senator Perry B. Clark (D-Jefferson), this legislation would make marijuana policy in the Bluegrass State much more sensible.

If enacted, SB79 would change the Kentucky code to state that "possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less shall be a violation that is punishable by a maximum fine of seventy-five dollars" while "possession of more than two ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor" with a "maximum term of incarceration... no greater than forty-five days."

Under SB79, criminal penalties would be reduced for marijuana cultivators as well. The bill would make it a Class B misdemeanor to grow fewer than six plants. Growing six or more plants would be considered a Class C felony for a first offense and a Class B felony for any subsequent offense.

Although the passage of SB79 would not mean an immediate end to the war on marijuana, it is still a great step in the right direction. A state like Kentucky passing a law to decriminalize simple possession could be a game changer. It may lead to further measures to relax marijuana laws in the state, and could start the trend of more red states embracing the cannabis revolution.

Activists should embrace any opportunity that they have to make it more difficult for people to be locked in cages for the non-violent non-crime of marijuana possession. Full-blown legalization is on its way whether the prohibitionists like it or not. Measures like SB79 can help grease the wheels on our way toward that inevitable goal.

SB79 will need to pass through the Senate Judiciary Committee before it can receive a full vote in the state senate.

HOW TO SUPPORT THIS BILL

If you live in the state of Kentucky, contact your state legislators immediately. It is important for you to politely urge them to co-sponsor this important bill. That is how you can make a difference in the fight against cannabis prohibition.

If you live in different state, contact your state legislators and urge them to introduce a supporting bill to SB79 such as our P.E.A.C.E (Preventing Excessive Allocations for Cannabis Enforcement) Act.