(KY) Magistrates voice support for legalizing medical cannabis


By Laura Harvey Lead Reporter lharvey@the-messenger.com

Nearly two weeks after Kentucky’s secretary of state announced convening a special task force to propose the legalization of medical cannabis, two Hopkins County magistrates have voiced their support for the action.

Currently, 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow their citizens to use marijuana in some form — whether for recreation or medicinal purposes. The majority, including Illinois and Ohio, have legalized cannabis for medical purposes only.

On Nov. 15, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced that she had created a task force to focus on a similar legislative proposal. The group includes members of the state’s medical community, law enforcement, medical marijuana advocates and military veterans.

State Rep. John Sims, of Flemingsburg is currently drafting medical marijuana legislation for the 2018 session. On Tuesday, two members of the Hopkins County Fiscal Court voiced their support for the proposal during a regular meeting.

“I am not talking about the ‘average joe’ smoking pot,” said District One Magistrate Karol Welch. “I am talking about people, medical cannabis and the immediate need for laws in Kentucky to allow true, sick and disabled people to legally use cannabis as an option in treating their illness.”

Welch said 12,000 people in Kentucky, including a relative of hers, live with Parkinson’s disease. The incurable disorder, which affects the central nervous system and movement, progressively causes trembling and stiffening of the extremities while affecting balance and coordination.

Welch said some studies have suggested that medical cannabis can significantly improve Parkinson’s symptoms.

“It reduces muscle spasms and stiffness … and improves sleeping, anxiety and eating,” she said. “It also calms your mind without making you crazy. There are numerous studies that support the medical uses of cannabis.

“There needs to be compassionate, common-sense reform of the laws that will help the genuinely sick, diseased and disabled citizens of the Bluegrass State,” she added. “Those are the people who are going to be using it — the citizens. We need to realize that just because you don’t need it today, doesn’t mean you won’t later have an accident and be begging for it tomorrow.”

District Four Magistrate Jack Whitfield Jr. said he agreed with the proposal.

“Five years ago, I was completely against it,” he said. “But I have a twin sister with multiple sclerosis. Four years ago, we were just talking at Thanksgiving and she — my twin, my age — just fell. I mean, she hit the floor and I broke down crying.

“But now I have looked at the statistics,” he added. “(Marijuana) is here already, but I think it will be much better and safer if it were legal.”

While proposed legislation is already scheduled for discussion next year, Welch said she was confident a law governing cannabis use would be passed relatively soon.

“I think it is going to happen,” she said. “I don’t think it is going to take 20 years like some people think it will.”


(KY) "Medical marijuana is what’s achievable and it’s what can help the most people the most quickly,"

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — Medicinal marijuana is already legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and a group of Kentuckians is hoping to add the Bluegrass State to the list.

“Medical marijuana is what’s achievable and it’s what can help the most people the most quickly,” Mike Ward said.

Among those advocating for the legalization of medicinal marijuana is former Congressman Mike Ward, now the president and CEO of Legalize Kentucky Now. For him, the fight to give patients alternative treatments is personal, having seen how it helped his younger brother who died of AIDS in the ’90s.

“The staff looked the other way as he smoked marijuana in the bathroom of his hospital room because they knew it helped him have an appetite and keep food down while he was undergoing treatment,” he said.

“When you look at medical marijuana as a way to provide relief to people with serious illnesses and a way to avoid the prescription pain epidemic that’s been sweeping across our country, I think you’re seeing momentum build for it and people become more comfortable with the idea of passing responsible legislation,” State Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D.-District 19, said.

McGarvey is preparing for the upcoming legislative session in Frankfort, which is set to reconvene on Jan. 2. He said he is ready to introduce a piece of legislation legalizing medicinal marijuana – the fourth time he’s brought up this type of legislation.

“I think there are safeguards in place as long as we craft responsible medical marijuana legislation, which fortunately 29 other states have done and we have templates to use now,” he said.

Kentucky Secy. of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, has also joined the conversation, announcing Wednesday the formation of a task force headed by herself and State Rep. John Sims. “2018 is and must be the year when Kentucky finally steps up on medical marijuana. We have to get this done to help Kentuckians who are hurting,” she said in a statement.

While Gov. Matt Bevin, R.-Kentucky, and Senate President Robert Stivers, R.-District 25, have come out against legalizing recreational marijuana, and critics have argued there is not enough known about the lasting, long-term impacts of marijuana, McGarvey and Ward said it is something that the people of Kentucky want.

“Anybody running for office – Republican, Democrat, state representatives, state senators – will find if they ask in their districts that it is wildly popular,” Ward said.

Both Ward and McGarvey also tell WHAS11 they support legalizing recreational marijuana as well as a tool to fix the state’s pension crisis, but with Bevin taking a firm stance against any legislation attempting to do so, they said their priority right now is on legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.


Kentucky must legalize medical marijuana in 2018, secretary of state says


Thomas Novelly, Louisville Courier Journal

Could legal medical marijuana be on the horizon in Kentucky?

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Wednesday she wants to legalize medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State by 2018.

A task force, led by Grimes, will also study and propose potential implementation and regulation processes.

In a statement, Grimes said, “2018 is and must be the year when Kentucky finally steps up on medical marijuana. We have to get this done to help Kentuckians who are hurting.”

Judge to medical marijuana users: Talk to lawmakers about legalization, not me

State Rep. John Sims, D- Flemingsburg, will co-chair a task force alongside Grimes the statement said.

“Kentucky is getting left behind on this issue. Already 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana legislation to help their people,” Sims said in the announcement. “The research is done. The studies have been conducted. It works, and it’s time we end our idling and start having conversations to bring medical marijuana to the Commonwealth.”

Sims said evidence exists showing marijuana combats a large number of side effects for cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Marijuana expert: Matt Bevin exaggerates pot’s effects

Read this: Infamous marijuana grower is no angel, but he’s beloved in central Kentucky

Grimes announcement, however, breaks with Gov. Matt Bevin’s views on marijuana.

Recently, Bevin said he rejected any idea of legalizing marijuana in Kentucky to help the state raise money as it deals with billions of dollars’ in pension debt. He did say he could be open to legalizing medical marijuana if it was properly regulated.

“There is no way, when I am governor, that I will ever legalize recreational marijuana in Kentucky,” Bevin said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

A spokesman from Bevin’s office did not immediately return a request for comment regarding Grimes’ new task force.

Reach Reporter Thomas Novelly at 502-582-4465 or by email at tnovelly@courier-journal.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.

Read this: In some states, pot farmers get a free pass. In Kentucky, Cornbread Mafia leader faces prison

Lawsuit: Trio of Kentuckians challenge the state’s medical marijuana ban in court


Geoff Young filed a civil lawsuit against the Kentucky Democratic Party, the Fayette County Democratic Party, and five powerful Democrats yesterday…

Media Release – For Immediate Release – August 20, 2016



Lexington, KY

Geoff Young, a Lexington politician who lost the Democratic primary for the U.S. House of Representatives in Kentucky’s 6th District to Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper on May 17, filed a civil lawsuit against the Kentucky Democratic Party, the Fayette County Democratic Party, and five powerful Democrats yesterday. His accusations include conspiracy to commit election fraud and the violation of his due process rights.
Young is also asking District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove to freeze the assets of the state and county parties until his lawsuit is finally resolved.
The first page reads as follows, and the complete, 47-page civil complaint is available via the Dropbox link below.


GEOFFREY M. YOUNG, pro se, Plaintiff ] CASE NO. 3:16-CV-62-GFVT

454 Kimberly Place ]
Phone: (859) 278-4966 ]
Email: energetic@windstream.net ] AND REQUEST FOR AN
ANDY BESHEAR, ALISON LUNDERGAN ] 1. Electoral fraud – sham elections
GRIMES, JACK CONWAY, THE STATE ] 2. Denial of due process – sham or no
CENTRAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE ] procedures for resolving disputes
OF THE KENTUCKY DEMOCRATIC PARTY ] 3. Official misconduct in the first degree
AND THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF ] 4. Deprivation of honest services
THE FAYETTE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC ] 5. Violation of Executive ethics codes
PARTY, Defendants ] 6. Nullifying valid statutes
] 7. Intimidation by means of sanctions
] 8. Threats of physical force

Plaintiff alleges as follows:

1. Jurisdiction is conferred on this Court by Title 18, U.S.C. § 241, Conspiracy Against Rights; 18 U.S.C. § 242, Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law; 18 U.S.C. § 245, Federally protected activities; and 18 U.S.C. § 1346, Deprivation of Right of Honest Services. Venue is proper in the Eastern District of Kentucky because all the Defendants reside or hold
For more details or an interview in any format, please contact:
Geoff Young
454 Kimberly Place
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: (859) 278-4966
Email address:
Former campaign web site: young4ky.com


Democrat will run as independent in Kentucky Senate race



 Aaron Blake, Published: September 23 at 1:57 pmE-mail the writer

Democrat Ed Marksberry, who told Post Politics two months ago that he was considering running for Kentucky’s Senate seat as an independent, is now taking steps to do just that.

Marksberry told WFPL-FM that he will drop out of the Democratic primary against Alison Lundergan Grimes and file as an independent.


Saying Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes isn’t speaking to progressives or their issues, Kentucky U.S. Senate candidate Ed Marksberry is dropping out of the primary to run as an independent.

Marksberry is an Owensboro building contractor who has been running a decidedly liberal campaign to take on Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell in next year’s election.

In a telephone interview with WFPL, Marksberry, who ran for Congress in 2012, says he plans to speak to the environment, poverty and gay rights in particular.

Marksberry says Grimes is a good Democrat, but she has given up the most important fights against McConnell to pander to special interests.

“I want to give empowerment back to those that are impoverished, back to those who understand what the environment is experiencing right now and back to those who created the middle-class,” says Marksberry. “And the only way to do that is to speak about the issues. And I hope that Alison Lundergan Grimes one day will open up and talk about the issues.”

Marksberry had been suing the state party, alleging it has favored Grimes’s campaign despite bylaws requiring it to stay neutral in primaries.

While the meagerly funded Marksberry stands virtually no chance of winning the Senate seat, independent and third-party candidates can steal votes from major-party candidates and affect close races. In this case, Marksberry would be running to Grimes’s left and, to the extent he can win votes they would likely come at Grimes’s expense.

Marksberry ran for Congress in 2010, taking less than one-third of the vote as the Democratic nominee against Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.).

McConnell is the Democrats’ top target in the 2014 election.

Aaron Blake

Aaron Blake covers national politics at the Washington Post, where he writes regularly for the paper’s Post Politics and The Fix blogs. A Minnesota native and graduate of the University of Minnesota, Aaron has also written for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and The Hill newspaper. He joined the Post in 2010. Aaron, his wife, Danielle, and his dog, Mauer, live in Northern Virginia. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronBlakeWP.


Kentucky Secretary of State Will Challenge McConnell in Senate Race





Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state, announced on Monday that she would take on Senator Mitch McConnell in what is likely to be one of the most costly, high-profile and sharp-elbowed races of 2014.

Ms. Grimes, who has only held public office since January 2012, stepped forward after a very public and at times anguished effort by Democratic Party officials to recruit a willing and worthy opponent to Mr. McConnell, the Republican Senate leader, in a conservative state where President Obama is deeply unpopular.

“I’m no stranger to being an underdog,” Ms. Grimes, 34, said at an afternoon news conference in Frankfort, denying that she felt intimidated by mocking advertisements that Mr. McConnell and his supporters mounted pre-emptively against her last week. “His ads are based out of fear of losing his 30-year grip on power, and this Kentucky woman does not believe the voters of Kentucky will be fooled that easily.”

Democrats believe Ms. Grimes will be less easily associated with Mr. Obama than other candidates might have been. One of the party leaders who urged her to consider a run was Bill Clinton, a friend of her father, Jerry Lundergan, who was once the state’s Democratic chairman and was the caterer for Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.
Even before Ms. Grimes made her announcement, Republicans previewed what they consider a major vulnerability by linking her to the president’s climate initiative, announced last week, which targets coal-burning power plants.

“This extreme agenda will destroy jobs in Kentucky,” the National Republican Senatorial Committee wrote in a blog post. “Grimes’ silence makes clear that Kentuckians simply can’t count on her to stand up against her own party to protect them.”

But Ms. Grimes may be less vulnerable than other Democrats in Appalachia to accusations of waging a “war on coal.” In her 2011 election for secretary of state, she was endorsed by the United Mine Workers of America and received donations from top coal executives.

She also ran against a proposal advanced by her Republican rival that required voters to show photo identification.

Despite Mr. McConnell’s prestige and seniority in the Senate, some early polling has shown him to be vulnerable as he seeks a sixth term. But the prospect of taking on his war chest of $12 million and climbing, and of dueling with his take-no-prisoners style, discouraged challengers.

Representative John Yarmuth, the lone Democrat in Kentucky’s Congressional delegation, demurred that he was too old. The actress Ashley Judd dropped out in March after she faced withering attacks linking her to Mr. Obama; in a secret recording, aides to Mr. McConnell spoke of using Ms. Judd’s personal life against her.

On the same tape, made by a Democratic activist outside a closed meeting at Mr. McConnell’s headquarters in Louisville, the senator’s aides seemed to have far less opposition research on Ms. Grimes. They identified as weaknesses that she endorsed the 2008 Democratic platform and that she appeared to be “egotistical,” because she spoke of herself in the third person.

Last week, the McConnell campaign released a Web advertisement that parodied messages on Ms. Grimes’s phone from Democrats, including Ms. Judd, Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama, desperately urging her to run. Mr. Obama’s “message” concludes, “Call me… maybe.”

A pro-McConnell “super PAC” announced it was spending $260,000 on a television ad predicting that Ms. Grimes would be a “rubber stamp” for the president and calling her “Obama’s cheerleader in Kentucky” on issues like the health care overhaul.

“I’m excited that Alison has decided to make the race,” Mr. Yarmuth said in a statement. “She will be a formidable candidate and a great contrast to Senator McConnell. If she is our party’s nominee, she will have no more enthusiastic supporter and tireless campaigner than me.”