By James Mayse Messenger-Inquirer | Posted: Wednesday, March 18, 2015 12:00 am
The debate over the legalization of marijuana has been very much in the public eye over the last few years, as states such as Colorado and Washington have moved to make recreational marijuana legal, while other states have created policies for medicinal marijuana use.
While marijuana use is illegal in Kentucky, bills that would allow for people to use marijuana for medical reasons were introduced during this year’s state General Assembly.
On Thursday, Kentucky Wesleyan College’s Stanley Reed Society will host a debate on whether the state should legalize marijuana for recreational use. The debate will begin at 8:15 p.m. in the Hocker Family Dining Room on the second floor of the Winchester Center on the KWC campus.
Presenting the arguments will be Bill Conroy, a KWC professor of history and political science, and Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain, a KWC alumnus who also teaches criminal justice classes at Owensboro Community & Technical College.
“It’s a timely and relevant issue,” Cain said. “I think it’s good KWC has sponsored a forum where people can voice their concerns” about the issue, he said.
Conroy said the debate will begin with presentations from both sides of the issue, with time for questions from the audience after both sides have made their arguments.
“It’s not so much a debate, ‘who wins, who loses,'” Conroy said. “It’s about having a pointed discussion of the issues.”
Currently, four states, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, along with Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for recreational use. According to National Public Radio, 23 states have legalized marijuana use for medicinal purposes.
“I think people need to realize even though this issue is in the western part of the United States, issues usually begin in the west and move east,” Conroy said. “It’s coming, and it won’t disappear.”
The debate will be moderated by a KWC student, who also work to keep audience questions flowing, Conroy said. Cain said the debate should be a time where people can come and learn about the issues surrounding the legalization of marijuana in a non-confrontational atmosphere.
“Good government and good decisions are based on input from our constituency,” Cain said.
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, [email protected],