Kentucky Senator Wants Legal Pot for Pensions
A Kentucky state Senator will propose legislation to legalize recreational marijuana to pay for the state’s pensions. Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale, has suggested that legalizing weed will give revenue for Kentucky state’s pension system, which severely underfunded. The 2018 budget report for the state was grim, reporting that the state’s pension fund will have a $200 million deficit.
Seum told Spectrum News that “There is an estimate now that we have to come up with $1 billion in new money in our budget to cover this problem. Once we come out of the special session the governor is about to call, then we’re going to have a real, hopefully, a real understanding of what the needs are when it comes to revenue. As a legislator, I’m not inclined to look at any kind of taxes, new taxes or additional taxes until we have explored the possibility of creating new monies.” The Senator also supports having casino gaming in the state.
Legalizing weed in Kentucky could make the state over $100 million in profits annually. The Senator says that the profits would be used to fund pensions, as well as creating numerous jobs, which would also boost the state’s economy. He used Kentucky’s thriving bourbon industry as an example of the revenue that would be produced from the cannabis industry, calling the new legislation a jobs bill.
Seum suggests that Kentucky use Colorado as a model of how to regulate legal marijuana. His son, Dan Seum Jr., went to Colorado earlier in the year to learn how the state has written and amended their legislation since the state legalized weed in 2012.
The political director of Alliance for Innovative Medicine Jason Warf believes that Kentucky would surpass Colorado’s profits due to a larger demand. He said that Colorado has a successful system where licenses for collectives are provided by the Department of Revenue as well as their own a division for enforcement. He thinks that Kentucky could also accomplish such a system.
Niko Mann is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. She enjoys writing about activism, social justice, politics, education, marketing, and comedy.