Lawmaker says top issue for constituents is marijuana; oncologist advocates for safe access

02/12/2017 12:39 PM

Far and away the largest number of phone calls from constituents of Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, are in support of marijuana legalization, and he says he’s heard plenty of other lawmakers also getting the calls.

Nemes recently published online what voters are calling him about, and in a phone interview with Pure Politics he said the calls on marijuana come in three forms: advocating for medical marijuana in pill form, medical marijuana that can be smoked and full-scale state legalization of the federally illegal drug.

“I’m getting contacted on all three of those areas, I don’t know where I am on it, but the Kentucky Medical Association tells me there’s no studies that show that it’s effective,” Nemes said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Dr. Don Stacy, a board certified radiation oncologist who works in the Kentucky and Indiana areas, said there’s a reason there’s no studies proving effectiveness — studies have not been allowed to take place.

“It’s one of those things where we can’t provide randomized phase three studies in cannabis without making it legal — that is the gold standard for any sort of medicine,” Stacy said. “We have a variety of studies of that nature from other countries of course, but American physicians are very particular about American data. The database we have now is plenty enough to say we shouldn’t be arresting patients for trying to help themselves.”

Stacy said he became interested in marijuana after he noticed some of his patients were doing better with treatment than similar patients. In reviewing their records and through private discussions with the patients, he learned “a significant portion” of those doing better were the patients using marijuana.

“I was surprised by that,” he said. “I’ve always been a skeptic of alternative medicines, but then I began to research the data. I was impressed with the data.”

Dr. Stacy said he’s had some particular patients who showed minor or moderate improvements or side effects, but patients who had to stop treatment because the toxicity of the treatment was so severe. The patients who had to stop treatment tried marijuana, and then they were able to complete their treatments showing “dramatic differences,” Stacy said.

Because of the improvements in patients, Stacy is advocating for safe and legal access to the drug.

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia allow access to medical marijuana in different forms. Through those states allowing access, Stacy said several show improvements outside of overall medical care.

In states that have legalized medical marijuana the suicide rate has dropped by 10 percent among males 18 to 40, he said.

“It says when people have serious medical or behavioral issues — if you cannot find the treatment that helps you then some people decide to end their lives, and cannabis apparently prevents a certain portion of people from doing that.”

Stacy said that there is also a 10 percent decrease in physicians prescribing narcotics in medical marijuana states. The effect of that, Stacy said is a 25 percent decrease in overdose deaths linked to narcotics in states with medical cannabis laws. With the level of heroin and opiate abuse in Kentucky, he said there would be positive effects seen here too.

“I think that one-quarter of the people who will overdose and die of narcotics in this state in this year would be alive if we had a medical cannabis law.”

CONTINUE READING…

Ignorance abounds in Kentucky concerning cannabis law

 

In October, farmworkers transported harvested marijuana plants at Los Suenos Farms, America’s largest legal open-air marijuana farm, in southern Colorado.

 

The following story was printed on Kentucky.com and my response is included.

By Thomas Vance

The world is watching Colorado and is finding out that everything we have been told by our government about marijuana has not been factual, to put it nicely.

Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2012 and recreational in 2014. They have paid more than $150 million in taxes on $1.3 billion in sales for 2016 and have created more than 20,000 full-time jobs in the process and none of the predicted harms of legalization have materialized.

California has had an easy access medical marijuana program for 20 years and none of the terrible things we have been told will happen should cannabis be legal have happened.

All we have to do is copy Colorado’s regulations and standards and get on with it. What are we waiting for? The people in our eastern counties are praying for something to replace the coal industry. God has one ready to go for us and we are ignoring his help.

It’s like the old joke about the guy trapped on his roof in a flood. He prays for God to save him. A helicopter comes by and offers to pick the man up. “No, no, thanks anyway but God said he would save me.”

After a while a boat comes and offers to pick up the man. Again he says no because, “God will save me.”

Later on that night, the waters rose and the man drowned. When he gets up to Heaven He asks God, “Why, why God, didn’t you save me?” and God replies, “I sent you a boat and a helicopter, why didn’t you get in?”

Let’s take this winning lottery ticket the good Lord has given us: an industry safer and healthier than coal. Alleviate the suffering of our eastern counties, create thousands of jobs, garner millions in revenue, enable billions in economic activity and put that money to work for the citizens of our great state.

It would seem that if we get to the end of this legislative session and nothing is done, one could reasonably conclude the Republican-controlled legislature is being derelict in its duty to improve the lives and the well being of our citizens and our state.

Thomas Vance of Alexandria is senior adviser for Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access.

Sample of comments:

H.B. Elkins ·

Media Consultant at Kentucky Valley Media Consulting

Industrial hemp, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are three distinctly different and separate issues. Far too many times, advocates have appeared to champion the first two and then they show their true colors and advocate for the third. This puts a cloud of suspicion over the motives for supporting industrial hemp and medical marijuana.
You do your cause no favors by mentioning Colorado’s approval of recreational use if you are really advocating medical use. I suspect you are really for full legalization and are just using medical use as an incremental step.
Be honest about your motives. It won’t make me support recreational legalization — I don’t — but it will allow me to respect your efforts.

 

MY RESPONSE:

It is people like HB and JOHN below who are complicit in keeping the repeal of cannabis hemp laws out of KY. Unfortunately most of the politicians in KY have the same mindset.

It all boils down to who has the money now and who they don’t want to have any in the future.

Personally, I am not a legalizer, I am a repealer, meaning that I believe all Cannabis statutes from the Federal Government and UN should be abolished as they are illegal to begin with in my opinion. (Do your own research because I am tired) Legalization renders to regulation which renders to incarceration because, well, what can be more profitable than the prison industrial complex?

This plant has been useful for all of humanity’s existence and will continue to be,  regardless of whether it is legalized or not. (Again, do the research).. The sad part is all the people that could be helped (and one day it may be YOU) that will suffer and die needlessly because of evil people whose only concern in life is how much money they can scarf up from everyone else.

In the meantime, many peoples lives are being saved or at least made better by an illegal plant that God put here, by people who are risking there very lives to get this to those that need it – real patients.

Yes, there are those of us who enjoy smoking a good cannabis ‘cig’ – It helps relieve the mind of stress and pain. Sure is a lot better than the alcohol which most people consume on a daily basis and end up dying from in the long run…

So, I guess until everyone gets their heads on straight about Cannabis, everyone will continue to suffer from statutes, regulation, and imprisonment because people are either too stupid to educate themselves, or are too evil to care.

Which one are YOU???

sk

SOURCE AND LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON KENTUCKY.COM

Kentucky Bill Would Legalize Medical Marijuana, Take Step to Nullify Federal Prohibition

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 13, 2016) – A Kentucky Senate bill slated for introduction in 2017 would legalize medical marijuana for qualifying patients in the state, effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition on the same.

Pre-filed by Sen. Perry B. Clark (D-Louisville), BR409 would “protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their practitioners and providers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture, if such patients engage in the medical use of cannabis.” The bill will be considered by the Kentucky State Senate during the 2017 legislative session.

Patients would be able to qualify for medical marijuana if they suffered from one of the following ailments listed in BR409:

A terminal illness, peripheral neuropathy, anorexia, cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, substance use disorder, mood disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, muscular dystrophy, post-traumatic stress disorder, diabetes, sleep disorder, fibromyalgia, autism, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, Tourette syndrome, anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or the treatment of these conditions

Medical marijuana patients would be allowed to designate a caregiver under BR409, which would permit another individual the legal authority to grow the plant on behalf of the qualifying patient. Dispensaries, called “compassion centers” in BR409, would be permitted to operate as well provided that they comply with the tax and regulatory structure established under the legislation.

“Most of my life we have expended tax dollars pursuing a ban on a plant,” Sen. Clark said in a WKYT news report from earlier this year. “Wasted dollars, they were. We have exponentially increased the power and scope of our criminal justice system by strapping it with issues concerning a plant.”

Despite the federal prohibition on marijuana, measures such as SB409 remain perfectly constitutional, and the feds can do little if anything to stop them in practice.

LEGALITY

The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970 prohibits all of this behavior. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

Legalization of medical marijuana in Kentucky would remove a huge layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.

FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By curtailing state prohibition, Kentucky sweeps away much of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.

A GROWING MOVEMENT

With passage of SB409, Kentucky would join a growing number of states simply ignoring federal prohibition, and nullifying it in practice. Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have already legalized recreational cannabis. California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts are set to join them after voters approved ballot initiatives in favor of legalization last November.

With more than two-dozen states allowing cannabis for medical use as well, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition any more.

“The lesson here is pretty straight forward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.

WHAT’S NEXT?

BR409 will need to be formally introduced and pass its committee assignments before it can be considered by the full Senate. Stay in touch with our Tenther Blog and our Tracking and Action Center for the latest updates.

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky Marijuana Legalization Not In Pre-Filed Bills For 2017

526275994

Across America, Election Day showed strong support for marijuana legalization, but can Kentucky expect the same in 2017?

While Kentucky had some promise in 2016 that legalizing marijuana was in the works, they did not join the eight states that voted for either recreational or medical marijuana on November 8.

According to Marijuana Policy Project, marijuana was legalized for recreational use in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada. In addition, Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Montana all voted for medical marijuana.

Currently, 28 states in America have legalized medical marijuana, but will Kentucky catch up anytime soon?

The excitement with Kentucky marijuana laws started in December, 2015, when state senator Perry Clark introduced the idea after many previous attempts.

Dated March 6, the bill Perry Clark introduced was called the Cannabis Freedom Act in Kentucky.

 

Following this, updates about Kentucky marijuana laws hit a milestone on July 5. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, meetings were being held “behind closed doors” about a proposed medical marijuana law.

At the time, Kentucky senator John Schickel, said they needed to hold the meetings about marijuana legalization to “vet” the issue, according to WFPL.

On July 11, WKMS reported that Kentucky’s medical marijuana laws got a boost of support by the prestigious health organization in the state, the Kentucky Nurses Association. About legalizing marijuana in Kentucky, a representative for the nurse’s association stated, “providing legal access to medical cannabis is imperative.”

Although it was talked about in meetings at the Kentucky Senate, according to their notes posted in July, August, and October, the marijuana legalization issue appeared to be stalled.

In late September, WFPL concluded their article about the marijuana legalization attempts in Kentucky with “the bill was assigned to a committee but never received a hearing.”

They also quoted Kentucky state senator Jimmy Higdon, stating that the lawmakers were confused about how the bill would be implemented. Senator Higdon said he would mainly be interested in allowing medical marijuana “to be prescribed in end-of-life situations.”

Does the lack of new updates mean that the bill has completely dried up, and Kentucky will not be seeing more medical marijuana laws to vote on in the next election?

Sadly, the pre-filed 2017 Kentucky House Bills that are available online do not reflect any updates about marijuana as of November 25.

Despite this, there could be updates in the near future because the Cannabis Freedom Act that was discussed in 2016 was actually filed in early December, 2015. This means Kentucky still has some time to see if marijuana legalization might be a big part of elections in the state in 2017.

 

On the other hand, Kentucky could get a lot of new laws about controlled substances in 2017, but they are not marijuana-related. For example, pre-filed bill BR 201 states it will “create the offense of aggravated fentanyl trafficking” in the state of Kentucky law books.

Adding to this, pre-filed bill BR 210 that sits before the Kentucky state senate in 2017 states its purpose is “to make trafficking in any amount of fentanyl or carfentanil subject to elevated penalties.”

New proposed bills in the state of Kentucky are also targeting the medical community. For example, pre-filed bill BR 202 states the following.

“[A] practitioner shall not issue a prescription for a narcotic drug for more than seven days unless specific circumstances exist.”

Of course, Kentucky might not have time to vote on marijuana legalization because Donald Trump may not be building his cabinet with marijuana supporters.

For example, CNN reported on November 25 that Donald Trump is appointing a marijuana legalization opponent, Senator Jeff Sessions, as his Attorney General.

About marijuana, Jeff Sessions was quoted as stating the following at a senate hearing in April, 2016.

“Good people don’t smoke marijuana. We need grown ups in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it is in fact a very real danger.”

CONTINUE READING…

Will Kentucky Finally Have Legal Marijuana? Meetings Planned

 

Kentucky marijuana legalization could happen soon

 

Marijuana investors can get their checkbooks ready because Kentucky has planned meetings with the intentions of legalizing marijuana.

While the rumor that Kentucky will be legalizing marijuana has been circulating for a while, the bill is being considered again, and an attempt to get a hearings scheduled appears to be serious.

In early 2016, Kentuckians were excited that Senator Perry Clark was filing a bill for medical marijuana to be legalized called the Cannabis Freedom Act, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. Despite the efforts, the bill had no hearing and did not get passed or denied.

Kentucky marijuana legalization might be just around the corner. [Photo by Jose Luis Magana/AP Images]Around December 2015, Perry Clark was quoted by the Courier-Journal stating the following analysis on why Kentucky needs to be ready to legalize marijuana.

“The time of laughing and snickering about marijuana and marijuana cigarettes is over. We’ve got serious businessmen who have approached me on this now and say they are taking it to the governor.”

Those organizations that helped get medical marijuana proposed to be legalized in Kentucky in 2014 and 2015 are now getting up their strength to have the bill revisited in 2017.

On July 5, WFPL reported that meetings were being held behind closed doors about passing a marijuana bill in Kentucky, and Senator John Schickel said the reason for the meeting is that they felt a need to “vet” the issue.

 

Although many Kentuckians approve of medical marijuana, Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, said lawmakers “don’t want to openly champion the cause” and stated the following.

“They do not want to be the one that pushes for it. They don’t want to support it publicly, they would rather it pass without them having to do anything about it.”

WKMS reported on July 11 that Kentucky will get a chance to start passing a medical marijuana bill again after the first of the year. It was also reported that Kentucky marijuana legalization is making some progress because the Kentucky Nurses Association endorsed the medical marijuana bill.

Other grassroots meetings are also being planned in the later half of 2016 to help Kentucky get medical marijuana legalized. For example, on July 28, Maysville Online announced a meeting planned for the community on July 30 to learn more about medical cannabis from patients that need the medication.

Besides medical marijuana to treat patients for end-of-life ailments such as cancer, another reason Kentuckians want medical marijuana legalized relates to the prevalent narcotics epidemic in the state. For example, a quote that was added to the report from Maysville Online is from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

An October 2014 study found states that allowed medical marijuana also had fewer deaths due to narcotic overdoses by almost 24 percent when compared to other states.

This study counters a statement quoted by WLKY on July 8 by Mickey Hatmaker of the Kentucky Narcotics Officer Association. In a meeting about legalizing marijuana in Kentucky, Hatmaker said that cannabis is a gateway drug, and he also said “marijuana use by 12- to 17-year-olds is the highest” in states with legal medical marijuana.

The big question that remains concerns whether Kentucky will actually choose to pass the bill in 2017 when it is presented, or if they will have the chance to do so in the first place. For example, Lexington Herald-Leader recently reported that the federal government might legalize marijuana nationwide in the near future.

They also pointed out that, despite the fact that the federal government “missed their own deadline” of June 30 to make a decision about rescheduling marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, making this change is still on President Obama’s plate.

While the federal government might take care of the problem of legalizing marijuana for Kentucky, the state has other specific needs that might push the bill forward without approval from the feds.

For example, Kentucky’s governor, Matt Bevin, has serious concerns about the state’s budget, and Colorado has proven that marijuana legalization can have extreme success. In 2015, Colorado reported a whopping $1 billion in sales and the state collected $135 million in taxes, according to Cannabist.

Kentucky could potentially expect similar revenue results if they fully legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use because the population of the Bluegrass State is 4.4 million and Colorado’s is 5.3 million.

CONTINUE READING…

"Cannabis is medicine," Clark said.

mmjky16

 

Even though the next session of the Kentucky legislature is months away, debate on whether to legalize medical marijuana is already underway.

Legislators heard Friday from the law enforcement community and physicians.

State Sen. Perry Clark, whose proposal last year never got out of committee, has promised to keep introducing medical marijuana legislation until his fellow lawmakers see the light.

But he has plenty of hurdles to jump before that happens.

“Cannabis is medicine,” Clark said.

Medical marijuana is legal in 25 states, and Clark wants Kentucky to be next. He argues that no one has ever died from cannabis. Clark contends that misconceptions and false information are being disseminated by opponents.

“In general say their biggest concern increase cannabis use among teens. There is mountains of evidence that this is not going on,” Clark said.

Mickey Hatmakers, who heads the Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association, calls it a getaway drug.

“It is very clear in the states where cannabis has been legalized for medical purposes, marijuana use by 12 to 17-year-olds is the highest,” Hatmaker said.

Because medical marijuana is expected be a hot topic over the next year, the legislative hearing was aimed at getting a head start on the controversy.

UofL researcher Gregory Barnes said the compound CBD in marijuana provides protection from seizures in epilepsy patients.

Jaimie Montalvo, of Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, said prescribed drugs also have a downside. He has multiple sclerosis.

“As you can imagine, these prescriptions have dozens of side effects liver problems, kidney problems. They cause a lot of issues in our body,” Montalvo said.

A packed house listened to pros and cons.

As of Friday, no bills regarding medical marijuana had been pre-filed for the 2017 Legislature.

CONTINUE READING…