The cannabis industry will create more jobs than trying to save a dying coal industry. The General Assembly should move on cannabis legalization, stand back and let the market grow.
Colorado has allowed medical cannabis since 2012, and in 2014 began recreational legalization. In 2015 the industry paid $146 million in taxes on $947 million in sales and has created 18,000 full-time jobs with $2.5 billion in economic activity.
Colorado’s population is about 5.5 million and Kentucky’s is 4.5 million. We would probably see an $800 million market with $2 billion in economic activity. We could borrow Colorado’s program, adapt it and be up and running in two years.
Californians have had access to cannabis for 20 years and Coloradans for five years. They have yet to experience any of the terrible things that opponents of legalization claimed. Prohibitionists have been wrong about every doom-and-gloom prediction.
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Is job creation a private sector activity, as Sen. Mitch McConnell claims? Certainly when government lets a contract, jobs are created. In the case of cannabis, government simply has to follow the science and get out of the way. Our eastern counties are desperately awaiting action and don’t want their leaders to let them down again.
Senior adviser, Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access