Decriminalization Bill Introduced in Frankfort
Kentucky and our surrounding states have had a major push regarding marijuana decriminalization as of late. The Louisville Metro Council passed a Lowest Law Enforcement Priority Ordinance (LLEPO) which directed law enforcement not to issue arrest citations for cannabis possession under one ounce. This was followed shortly by the Jefferson County Prosecutors Office issuing a statement saying that they would drop the charges against anyone brought before them for simple possession. Not even two months later in Marion County Indiana, which is home to Indianapolis the state’s largest city, the County Prosecutor enacted basically the same stance.
Other places in Kentucky have had on-going LLEPO efforts in places like Lexington, Henderson, Frankfort, and Paducah with mixed results. But one thing is clear; Kentucky’s citizens are aching to have marijuana reform. While the efforts at the municipal level are a sign that things are changing, reform begins and ends in Frankfort.
House Bill 221 introduced by Rep.Charles Booker would take the necessary steps to decriminalize cannabis possession for adults 21 and over. For people under 21, the person would be liable for a civil fine of $100. The fine wouldn’t constitute a criminal offense and can be pre-payable just like a speeding ticket without the need to show up to court for a hearing.
The bill would go further than municipal efforts have gone, defining a personal-use quantity of marijuana to be 100 grams or less.
HB221 also implements a path for expungement. Any person who has been convicted of possession of marijuana within the personal use amount is eligible to have their record expunged of those charges at no cost. Countless Kentuckians are caught up in low-level possession charges that torment them and can follow them around for the rest of their lives, hindering job, housing, and other opportunities.
The time is now to implement reform! If you support marijuana reform please take a moment to call your legislators at 800-372-7181 and tell your legislators to support HB221 for decriminalization, HB136 for medical marijuana, HB236 for the emergency hemp bill and HB148 a bill that establishes an adult-use cannabis program.
If you can not wait for Frankfort to vote to do the right thing in regards to cannabis decriminalization and expungement, please read our guest blog by attorney Brad Clark from the Baldani Law Group on how to get your record expunged.