All Call For Decriminalization

Confidence is being able to turn thought into action and to do what you haven’t done before, and I have come looking for confidence in state legislators on the issue of cannabis decriminalization. Over the past weeks we saw the quiet death of House Bill 166. It was not defeated by a vote of our elected representatives but because some committee chairman failed in their responsibilities and now a few leaders have allowed the continued suffering of thousands in this state and have dropped the chance to better the economy, education and public safety for all Kentuckians.

Now I see that only a new course of action can protect those who are still labeled criminals because a bill was not allowed to pass. Our citizens should not be put in jail or harassed with consequences from laws which in more than half of the states in our union are no longer valid and our current cannabis laws continue to add unneeded burden to the minority and poor. A 2013 study published by the ACLU stated that in Kentucky African-Americans were six times as likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than fellow Caucasians yet the rate of consumption per both groups was almost equal. In Jefferson county the disparity rate was 3.5. This disparity which was addressed at the time still exist today and should be reason enough to decriminalize cannabis possession and stop incarcerating people unjustly.

To that end I propose Kentucky decriminalizes possession of up to one ounce of cannabis or 4 plants. Many other bigger cities have taken this step for their citizens. Chicago, New Orleans, Atlanta. In 2016 Pittsburg passed a law that makes possession of less than an ounce punishable with a $25 fine and $100 if you’re busted smoking in public. Kansas City voters approved a measure that removed jail time for possessing up to 35 grams. And these cities have seen good things happen as law enforcement is reallocated and allowed to focus on more important issues within the community such as to ease the opioid crisis for their citizens.

We who advocate and responsible citizens need to continue taking a stand and educate others on this issue with compassion, common sense and confidence. Please Share.

Chad C Rediker

#CCR #editorial

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