While legal marijuana in Kentucky doesn’t sound like a crazy idea, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s opinion on the matter is quite shocking.
Governor Bevin has a lot of criticism to offer regarding legalizing cannabis in Kentucky. For some reason, he believes that legalization will result in more emergency room visits and a spike in homelessness.
Bevin’s comment portraying his views on how legalization would impact the state of Kentucky focuses on his perception of problems relating to Colorado’s legalization back in 2014. He’s quoted as saying the following:
“Look at the homelessness, look at the increase in their emergency rooms, look at the problems they have with law enforcement of bordering states. Look at the amount of disease and things that have spiked up as a result of people who are coming for the fact that they can smoke legally.”
So is he justified in publicizing these fears? While he’s correct about the boost in emergency room visits, it’s not necessarily an issue.
Back in 2012, the UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital was seeing one patient every other day on average as a result of a marijuana-caused issue. The number increased significantly to two to three per day in 2016. While this stress an already burdened healthcare system, it’s not enough to overwhelm the emergency department.
The governor has also been quoted saying that he doesn’t believe legalization would boost the tax revenue of Kentucky. He’s quoted saying the following:
“Everybody in Kentucky would need to smoke pot for the next 600 years to fund what we owe today in 2019. It’s not a serious solution. It’s not even a solution at all. It’s a ridiculous proposal.”
Even as he made this quote, states are collecting large sums of marijuana tax revenue. Let’s take a look at what’s been happening in Colorado, for example.
According to The Denver Post, Colorado has officially brought in more than $1 billion in marijuana tax revenue since legalizing recreational marijuana. This money has been used to finance a plethora of public programs throughout the state, ultimately making it a better place to live for residents.
In Colorado, the marijuana tax, license, and fee revenue is currently at $1.02 billion. The sales of this recreational drug have reached over $6.5 billion as well. With 2,917 licensed marijuana businesses and 41,076 licensed individuals operating in Colorado’s cannabis industry, it’s safe to say Kentucky has the potential to boost tax revenue for both the local and state governments.
Governor Polis of Colorado has a very different outlook on how legal cannabis is impacting the state. He’s quoted as saying the following:
“The industry is helping grow our economy by creating jobs and generating valuable revenue that is going towards preventing youth consumption, protecting public health and safety, and investing in public school construction.”
As we can see, Governor Belvin’s criticisms regarding legalizing cannabis in Kentucky do not reflect how marijuana legalization is truly impacting other states.