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Kentucky Lawmaker Proposes Bill to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

LOUISVILLE, KY – A new proposal to legalize recreational marijuana has been introduced in the Kentucky House of Representatives, according to the Courier Journal.

House Bill 420 was put forth by Rep. Rachel Roberts, D-Newport last week.  It would legalize the possession, growth, processing, marketing, sale and use of marijuana for adults 21 and older in the state of Kentucky.

“It sets a marketplace and a legalization of cannabis in the state for adult use,” said Roberts. “It sets the parameters and the regulation around that.”

Last year the state passed a medical marijuana program for patients with specified medical conditions that will begin in 2025.

Under the bill introduced by Roberts, employers would be prohibited from discriminating against employees who use cannabis outside of working hours if it doesn’t affect their job performance.  Those people who were convicted of misdemeanors for possession or delivery of marijuana would be able to have their records expunged for free.

The bill calls for a tax of 9% on wholesale and retail purchases of recreational marijuana, while local governments would be able to levy a licensing fee of up to 5% for operating within the limits of the local government.

A new board would be created in the Public Protection Cabinet that would be responsible for regulating and overseeing the industry, including granting licenses for growing, processing and selling cannabis.

Roberts said the time has come for legalizing marijuana use in the state.  “Make no mistake people in Kentucky are currently using cannabis,” she said.  “They’re growing cannabis.  They’re selling cannabis. It’s just not regulated for consumer safety or tax for the benefit of the general populace.”

If the bill is passed by the legislature and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear, licensed sales of recreational marijuana would start July 1, 2026.

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