Is medical marijuana a “political question” or a liberty issue? One Kentucky Judge will have to decide.
On Tuesday, Kentucky Judge Thomas Wingate asked Governor Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear’s legal team why he should reject a lawsuit calling for the legalization of medicinal cannabis in the Bluegrass State.
Filed in July, the motion placed before the Franklin Circuit Court asked the judge to consider whether or not medical marijuana is a political question that should be decided by the General Assembly, according to Kentucky.com.
“The General Assembly will consider legalizing medicinal marijuana again in the 2018 session. It is solely within the General Assembly’s constitutional powers to determine whether to make medicinal marijuana lawful,” noted Barry Dunn, an attorney for Gov. Bevin.
Nevertheless, the litigants — Dan Seum Jr., Amy Stalker, and Danny Belcher, strongly disagree.
After years of unsuccessfully lobbying the state’s General Assembly to consider legalizing medical marijuana, the plaintiffs allege that Kentucky’s ban on marijuana infringes on their state rights provided within the Kentucky Constitution: “Section 2. Absolute and arbitrary power denied. Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty, and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.”
While Gov. Bevin and A.G. Beshear both want the lawsuit dismissed, their ideology on the timely topic differs significantly. The governor has repeatedly claimed that he supports the legalization of medicinal cannabis, but not for recreational adult use. On the other side of the prohibition spectrum, Kentucky’s Atty. Gen. noted during his 2015 campaign that he was adamantly opposed to legalizing medical marijuana until the FDA authorized the herb as medicine.
In the Bluegrass State, individuals caught with less than 8 ounces of marijuana face a class B misdemeanor. And if the police seize your pot, and there’s no tax stamp affixed to the baggie or bottle, you can easily be charged with a class C felony for a tax violation in addition to getting caught with your meds.
Anticipated to rule soon, Judge Wingate asked one attorney for the state to justify Kentucky’s “absolute ban on marijuana, given that his own experience as a judge has shown many examples of men abusing women while drunk on alcohol, a legal product, but never while high on marijuana.”
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