Medical Marijuana

Matt Bevin Says No, but Not to Everything


As states fall like dominoes to legalize cannabis use,  the question is being posed more frequently outside the coastal bubble of perceived liberalism. The question was raised recently in the state of Kentucky and flatly rejected by the sitting governor, Matt Bevin. Bevin’s rationale: overdoses. Bevin reaches deep into antiquated drug policy for that one. Ironically, states with legal and accessible cannabis have fewer overdoses, by 25%. Were the governor concerned about the overdose problem, he would be welcoming cannabis use, not forbidding it. 

Kentucky has its share of social problems. According to a study by wallethub, Kentucky ranks #1 in the nation in welfare dependence beating perennial rival for the honor,  Mississippi. (https://wallethub.com/edu/states-most-least-dependent-on-the-federal-government/2700/).  According to U.S. news and world report, Kentucky saw a 39% increase in overdose deaths from the previous year. The education ranking of Kentucky is 47th in the nation. Kentucky didn’t quite crack the top 10 for obesity coming in at 11. It would seem that Governor Bevin would have his work cut out for him and there is massive room for improvement among the citizens of Kentucky. Kentucky is poor, obese, drug addicted, welfare dependent and minimally educated but the Governor presumes to  judge cannabis users? As ever, drug policy makes no sense but a closer look might reveal more of the governor’s concerns. 

Kentucky has two strongholds. Horse racing being one of them. The Kentucky derby is an internationally viewed event and revenue generator. An annual money maker for the state. Horses also feed the state’s tourism. The other thing that flourishes in Kentucky is bourbon. They make it, have for generations and they make lots of it. According to kyburbon.com, the bourbon industry contributes $8.5 billion to the Kentucky economy annually and they are in the midst of a “bourbon boom!” Congrats to Kentucky, if there is anything an obese, poorly educated, welfare dependent population needs, it’s to stay good and drunk. 

There aren’t logical reasons to criminalize cannabis, there are social reasons, racial reasons and economic reasons. In a state awash in booze with a surging overdose problem, legalizing a safer form of intoxication would make sense from a public health and humanitarian viewpoint. The collateral damage of cannabis is markedly less than alcohol, the application for replacing opiate use with cannabis has at the minimum the potential to save lives with little if any downside for the effort. So, who loses? It’s hard to say but it would seem that the Kentucky Bourbon concern and their “bourbon boom!” Don’t want to find out. What if people were offered a safer form of intoxication without being labeled a criminal? Would they take that option? Would the bourbon boom go bust?  It might, it might not but in a state with little going for it, it would seem to make political sense to keep the states one flourishing industry happy. 

Matt Bevin is clearly putting money over the well being of his state. Reducing the alcohol consumption would save lives. The taxes generated from legal cannabis could be used to help their surging overdose rates. Who knows, maybe even a few of them would finish high school. There are clear patterns emerging, southern politicians don’t get it. Jeff Sessions says “good people don’t smoke cannabis”. Matt Bevin overtly lies about the risks of cannabis. As always, I called the governors press secretary to ask if the Governor drinks to no avail but give him a call, maybe we can get an answer. 
Woody Maglinger: (502) 564-2611

Author: Joe Schrank, Editor-in-Chief