By Erica Rucker
Kentucky, your governor is a fool. The pension crisis — among the nation’s worst — is a defining issue in Kentucky. So… WWBD? What will Gov. Matt Bevin do? What has he done? Not much.
One thing is certain: He will keep repeating the phrase “a sucker’s bet,” and do little else besides cut programs that help Kentucky’s struggling families. That’s the only idea he has. Families in Kentucky need real solutions.
If Bevin won’t do something to deal with this mess, then legislators need to take the reins and begin legalizing marijuana. It’s the wisest bet.
Marijuana is a cash crop. It could generate a potential $100-plus million boon for the Kentucky economy. Standard & Poor’s has ranked our pension fund as the worst-funded of any state, a debt that will bring down all of us. So… WWBD? Probably more of the same. Bevin and his antiquated friends are stubbornly wandering in the proverbial green road, blocking traffic.
Is the legalization of marijuana a perfect budget solution?
No, but it is working in nearly 30 other states, including Washington, D.C.
Recently, on WHAS radio’s Terry Meiners show, Bevin said this about legalizing marijuana, “You get a hundred and something million dollars worth of revenue and, yeah, that’s money, but the cost? … ”
“There are people overdosing based on ingestion of products that are edibles and things. You have that state being sued by at least two of their border states. You have law enforcement people and emergency rooms being overrun by problems. You have homelessness … spiking in that state.”
Bevin’s generalizations about Colorado lack truth: The evidence shows that many early problems have been remedied by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and the legislature.
Before saying that, Bevin laughed and said, “…A lot of toked-up people gambling, that’s the solution? Those are suckers’ bets.”
Bevin sure thinks he’s funny, but… Derby.
A lot of toked-up people are already gambling in the state, governor, and man, what a revenue boost if they could do it legally. Also, that sounds like a fucking great time, to be honest. I’d probably go to my first Derby, if that were the case.
Bevin said he will never allow marijuana legalization and that there is no support for expanded gambling.
If Derby guests could gamble during the horse races, hit a casino when the races are over, plus relax with good bud instead of the harder drugs that have killed thousands of Kentuckians, this would seem a significant win for Kentucky — win for a state already behind economically and being torn apart by opioid addiction and deaths.
Let the Bevins of Kentucky cry, “What about public safety?”
Marijuana is certainly safer than alcohol. It improves outcomes for those dealing with opioid addiction. According to the American Journal for Public Health, while there are slight increases in motor vehicle crashes in states with legal marijuana, the numbers of fatalities are unchanged. The effects of marijuana on health are infinitely milder than that of alcohol or harsh prescription medications.
In Colorado, which Bevin sees as the land of weed-laden woes — ignoring that California and 27 other states have legalized pot to some degree — there was an increase in calls to poison control and more emergency room visits from folks who’ve eaten too much or too strong of an edible and think they are dying.
No one has actually died from marijuana alone. But someone has probably died from an opioid overdose in the time it’s taken to read this.
Of course, people have thought they were dying after smoking certain strains of marijuana, but a bag of Cheetos, a nap and several doughnuts later, they’re still with us.
Gov. Hickenlooper suggests that practicing “good government” has helped take care of these early hiccups in the legalization of marijuana. Hickenlooper is still cautious but thinks that it is important for Colorado to continue to move forward with the “experiment.”
“I’d say in most circumstances, from most perspectives, our worst nightmares haven’t materialized. We haven’t seen a spike in teenage use. We haven’t seen a giant increase in people’s consumption of marijuana. Seems like the people who were using marijuana before it was legal, still are. Seems like the people who weren’t using marijuana before it was legal, still aren’t,” Hickenlooper told The Cannabist in March.
So why can’t Bevin follow this example?
For one, Bevin is not bold and, his use of social media aside, his ideas aren’t fresh. As with most carpetbaggers who sell the promises of returning to a value system that’s never existed in states they don’t really understand, Bevin is singing the same tired tunes. Trying something that seems to be working in other states, well… he can’t do that. He’s afraid of losing the Christian voters in a state where the Christians smoke too. (shhh!)
What about retooling the state narcotics statutes and legalizing marijuana to help remedy damage done by Nixon and Reagan administration’s ridiculous drug laws, which have jailed many a mother and father for using street level capitalism as a means to exist with dignity.
Bevin says that there is “no political appetite for gambling,” and it seems he feels the same about legalizing marijuana. But what does “political appetite” mean and who are these people serving, the people of Kentucky or themselves?
This isn’t a Republican or Democratic party issue. The legalization of marijuana for Kentucky should be a no-brainer. Other states see it. The people of Kentucky see it, but perhaps we need to work on the “political appetite” of our elected officials who seem to exist in an alternate universe. Elections are right around the corner. We’ve certainly got a lot in our “political appetite” that our leaders aren’t strong enough to execute. Seek new leaders? Definitely, because sticking with Bevin and his cronies certainly seems to be, as he puts it, “a sucker’s bet.”