Lexington law firm launches petition urging lawmakers to decriminalize pot

By  | 

LEXINGTON, KY. (WKYT) - A Lexington law firm is joining the fight in an effort to decriminalize marijuana.

On Tuesday, Louisville Metro Council voted to pass an ordinance making marijuana possession a low priority for officers. It comes weeks after Cincinnati's city council voted to decriminalize up to 100 grams of marijuana.

READ MORE: Louisville Metro Council lowers priority on marijuana possession

"I think anybody that went to college knows that everyone that smokes marijuana doesn't end up using heroin," said Attorney Brad Clark from Baldani Law Group.

Clark said while public perception of marijuana has changed in recent years, it is still causing problems for some of his clients.

"Just last month, I had a guy call me and he had a line on a new job. He was going to get hired but they said 'You've got to get that possession of marijuana conviction off your record or we can't hire you,'" Clark said.

That is why Baldani Law Group launched a petition urging the Kentucky General Assembly to decriminalize the drug.

"The courtroom's already too crowded. We need to find a way to get these kinds of charges or these kinds of offenses out of there, treat it the same way as a traffic ticket and kind of streamline the system," Clark said.

However, local Fraternal Order of Police President Jason Rothermund isn't convinced.

"I'm not aware of a minor possession charge altering the course of somebody's life to the degree that they're unemployed and homeless," Rothermund said.

Sgt. Rothermund said marijuana possession is a common problem officers encounter, and they continue to view it as a criminal act.

"I have seen the impact of the illegal sales and distribution of marijuana on the streets of our community, to young children," Rothermund said. "I don't think that providing a lesser penalty for people who commit a criminal act is necessarily the answer."

While pot remains illegal federally, Clark said there's nothing stopping Kentucky lawmakers from deciding the penalty should be nothing more than a fine.

"I think this is a step they can take right now," he said. "They don't have to be hesitant about contradicting federal law, and it's something that could be done as soon as January in this next session."

Rothermund hopes if legislators take up the issue, they will consult with law enforcement.

To view the petition, CLICK HERE.