Gubernatorial candidate Adam Edelen called for the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana in Kentucky on Monday. Under the plan, possession of less than half an ounce of cannabis would be charged as a civil offense, similar to a traffic violation, and subject to a fine of up to $100. Currently, possession of cannabis is a Class B misdemeanor, the lowest level crime in Kentucky, with convictions penalized with up to 45 days behind bars.
Edelen, who was elected as Kentucky state auditor in 2011, planned campaign stops in Lexington and Louisville on Monday to share the details of his decriminalization proposal. He said in a press release that it is time to reform cannabis policy in Kentucky.
“We need modern laws that reflect our modern world and that means that no one should be held in jail for weeks or be forced into a criminal justice system that limits their potential just for having a small bag of marijuana,” Edelen said. “It’s bad policy and the time has come to change the way we treat marijuana.”
More than 11,000 Kentucky residents were convicted of marijuana possession last year, according to Edelen’s campaign, which also noted that research in 2013