LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Kentucky’s neighbor to the west, Illinois, became the 11th state to legalize marijuana on Wednesday, prompting long lines and long waits for legal weed.
Illinois officials said people bought $3.2 million worth of the drug on the first day of sales alone, with the long lines continuing Thursday.
Authors of a survey Illinois Democratic lawmakers commissioned say the state should see anywhere from $440 million to $676 million in revenue the first year.
So will Kentucky be next in line?
Republican leaders are hesitant to support it.
"We haven’t even gone into session yet," House Speaker David Osborne said after a Legislative Research Commission meeting Dec. 19. "So we will deal with the bills that are filed and give every bill its proper consideration."
State Rep. Cluster Howard, D-Jackson, has filed a bill to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
"This is a chance for us to raise some revenue and stop the prohibition," Howard said.
But House Minority Whip Derrick Graham said support within his party is split.
"Some are opposed, some are for it," Graham said Dec. 19. "So it's like the majority caucus: There’s debate within the caucus about the direction we need to move in."
Medical marijuana could gain more traction this year.
Gov. Andy Beshear supports it and State Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, has filed a bill to create a program for it.
Whether or not that will mean anything for Kentucky’s budget issues remains to be seen.