Illustration by Ben Wade

April 20 is a day of celebration, a chance to rejoice in cannabis culture, and a time to reflect on legalizing marijuana, for good.

Just recently, Pennsylvania became the 24th state to legalize the use of medical marijuana. At the signing by Gov. Tom Wolf, the Capitol rotunda was filled with patients, families, lawmakers and supporters to celebrate this grand step forward in history.

Why isn’t Kentucky one of these 24 states?

Medical marijuana has recently shown serious potential for the medical community, including killing and slowing the growth of cancer cells. According to the American Association for Cancer Research, cannabinoids have, “been shown to specifically inhibit glioma (an aggressive cancer cell with low survival rates) growth as well as neutralize oncogenic processes such as angiogenesis.” 

In December, Sen. Perry Clark of Louisville pre-filed the Cannabis Freedom Act, which would allow the responsible use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21 in Kentucky. A person would be able to possess one ounce of cannabis on their person and cultivate up to five plants of cannabis on their personal property.

According to section 13 of the proposed bill, the Kentucky Responsible Cannabis Use Program would be funded by all excise taxes on cannabis declared in the same bill. For this program, 30 percent of the funds would go to public schools, 20 percent to the Department of Education for scholarships and socioeconomic needs for students, 20 percent to the Office of Drug Control Policy, 15 percent to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council, and the remaining 15 percent would be given to the general fund.

Colorado has seen many positive results after legalizing the use of marijuana. Crime rates have decreased, public schools are improving and tourism has increased by 10 percent. 

Clark said he believes a relaxed marijuana policy would also benefit Kentucky. 

According to Clark, one reason Kentucky isn’t one of the 24 states with medical marijuana is because the older generation is still voting, and to them, marijuana use will always be viewed negatively. 

Colorado, a home to legal marijuana, proves that legalizing marijuana doesn’t increase crime rates, but does just the opposite. 

Whether April 20 is a day of importance or not, the topic of legalizing medicinal marijuana, or the responsible use of marijuana in general, certainly is.  

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