Letter to the Editor: The correct debate concerning cannabis

Tom Rector Jr.

Editor’s Note: This Letter to the Editor was sent in reaction to “Price on Politics: Medical Cannabis in Kentucky” published on Jan. 24, 2023, and has been edited for grammar and clarity, but not content.

I read your opinion piece and you completely missed the point.  The entire discussion of “recreational” versus “medical” is the wrong debate. Regulation should be determined based on how dangerous something is, not if it treats illness or what illness it treats. Cannabis simply isn’t dangerous enough to require strict regulation or medical-only access. Cannabis is safer than alcohol, over-the-counter drugs like acetaminophen, guns, high speed cars, huge trucks, chainsaws, etc. Dogs and football kill more people!

According to Gallup survey data, 16% of Americans report regular cannabis use. The Kentucky population is 4.4 million × .16 = 704,000. Survey data is often underreported because of the illegality of cannabis.  Additionally the 4.4 million is the entire population and the survey data is only adults which would likely be at least 3 million so the number would come out right at 500,000 regular cannabis consumers in Kentucky.

If that many people ignore the law then the law is wrong and not the people. What the governor should be doing is suing the state with thousands of plaintiffs because the laws that prevent access to cannabis violate the basic rights guaranteed in Kentucky. The Kentucky Constitution clearly states that the rights guaranteed to every citizen are inherent (born with) and inalienable (can’t be taken away). The third right enumerated states that every citizen has a right to pursue their own safety and happiness. Cannabis doesn’t have to be safer, it’s just amazingly non-toxic and safe to consume. There’s no doubt that cannabis consumption also brings happiness to the consumer. 

Hopefully you’ll evolve on this issue and realize that the opinion piece you published is devoid of logic. The Constitution doesn’t stipulate between sick and healthy people. Any law that violates the basic rights guaranteed to every citizen is unconstitutional. The Constitution only matters if we make it matter. You should stand up for everyone, not just sick people. Do you think if the legislature passes a limited medical bill that helps 5,000 Kentuckians that the other 495,000 Kentuckians are going to stop consuming?

Tom Rector Jr. is a cannabis activist from Prospect, Kentucky.

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