The following statement is from state Representative Nima Kulkarni of Louisville, the ACLU of Kentucky, the Kentucky State Conference of the NAACP, Minorities for Medical Marijuana, Kentucky NORML and the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition.
“President Biden’s decision yesterday to pardon anyone federally convicted of cannabis possession is a massive and much-needed step forward for thousands of Americans. As advocates who have long championed such a move, we urge Governor Andy Beshear to take similar action here in Kentucky. This would immediately help more than 7,000 of our citizens, many of whom are people of color.
“Despite clear evidence showing cannabis usage among races is largely the same, minorities are still four times more likely to be arrested nationally, and 10 times more likely in Kentucky, which is a travesty. Such a broad state pardon — which the Kentucky Supreme Court has upheld as legal in principle — would better balance the scales of justice while effectively stopping future prosecutions.
“We want to emphasize that these pardons would not be the end of our work. We also need to raise money to cover expungement costs so that everyone who benefits truly has the clean record they deserve, and we need the General Assembly to act on cannabis decriminalization, as well as legalization, so that the will of a majority of Kentuckians finally becomes law.”