(KY) “…the state has a good reason to "curtail citizens’ possession of a narcotic, hallucinogenic drug."

Homegrown2017

Kentucky judge dismisses challenge of medical marijuana ban

  • By adam beam, associated press

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Sep 20, 2017, 4:57 PM ET

Kentucky’s ban on medical marijuana has survived an initial test in court, with a judge ruling Wednesday that the state has a good reason to “curtail citizens’ possession of a narcotic, hallucinogenic drug.”

Twenty-nine other states have legalized marijuana in some way, the most common being for medical purposes. While Kentucky lawmakers have embraced hemp — the fibers of the plant that are used to make rope, clothing and other products — and other uses for the cannabis plant, they have failed to consider a number of proposals that would let people use marijuana as medicine.

Frustrated, three people sued the governor and the attorney general earlier this year and asked a judge to throw out the ban because “denying sick people safe medicine” is unjust.

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate rejected that argument, ruling the state had good reason to ban the use of marijuana. He also said the state legislature has “discretion to regulate what is harmful to the public health and wellbeing.” He told the plaintiffs their only option was to persuade the state legislature to lift the ban.

“The Bevin Administration applauds Judge Wingate’s decision to follow the law and dismiss this lawsuit,” said Woody Maglinger, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. “Any change to Kentucky law should go through the legislative process.”

The people who filed the lawsuit could appeal the ruling. Their attorney, Dan Canon, said they have not made a decision yet.

“We respect the court’s decision, but we strongly disagree with it,” Canon wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “Our clients have said all along that they want the government to stop intruding into the relationship between them and their physicians.”

The plaintiffs all say they use marijuana as medicine. Amy Stalker said she used marijuana with a prescription while living in Colorado and Washington state to treat irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She said she has struggled to maintain her health since moving to Kentucky to care for her mother.

Danny Belcher says he uses marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his service in the Vietnam War. And Dan Seum Jr., son of Republican state Sen. Dan Seum, said he uses marijuana to ease pain from his inoperable spinal problems.

Seum Jr. said doctors prescribed him Oxycontin, an opioid-based painkiller that is highly addictive and had led to a surge of overdose deaths in the state.

“I don’t want to be addicted to those type drugs,” Seum Jr. said. “Although cannabis, it doesn’t take (the pain) away completely; it allows me to function a little more. I can function and still not be addicted.”

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Other states allow medical marijuana. Judge asks why Kentucky shouldn’t join them.

Amy Stalker says she had more control over her own health when she lived in Colorado, where marijuana can be legally prescribed as medicine. Stalker now lives in Kentucky, where medical use of marijuana is banned.

By John Cheves

jcheves@herald-leader.com

August 22, 2017 4:55 PM

Frankfort

A Franklin Circuit Court judge on Tuesday asked attorneys for the state why Kentucky should not make medical marijuana available to patients who believe it might help them, given that “we’ve pretty much decriminalized” the drug around much of the nation and even in parts of the state.

Judge Thomas Wingate is considering motions by Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear to dismiss a lawsuit filed in June by three Kentuckians who want the legal right to use marijuana as medicine in the state where they live. Wingate said he expects to hand down a decision on the motion in the near future.

Since 1996, 29 states and the District of Columbia have authorized the medical use of marijuana within their borders. But Kentucky’s General Assembly has rejected several bills to legalize the drug for medicinal purposes.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Wingate noted that attitudes about marijuana have softened. The penalties for marijuana possession vary widely inside the state depending on the attitudes of local law enforcement, he said. Someone might face a $100 fine — if that — in one county but a stiff jail sentence in another, he said.

Wingate asked Taylor Payne, an attorney for Beshear, to justify the state’s absolute ban on marijuana given that his own experience as a judge has shown him many examples of men abusing women while drunk on alcohol, a legal product, but never while high on marijuana.

“So what do you say toward that?” Wingate asked.

“I think that’s an issue for the legislature to address,” Payne replied.

And that was a key point for Bevin and Beshear’s legal teams: The legislature, not a judge, should be the one to decide if Kentucky is ready to loosen its marijuana laws. In every state that has legalized medical marijuana so far, elected lawmakers made that call, not the courts, said Barry Dunn, a lawyer for Bevin.

The Kentucky General Assembly is likely to get another bill on medical marijuana in 2018, Dunn said.

“Let it continue to percolate around there and see what happens,” Dunn said.

Attorneys for the state also said the courts already have decided this issue. They cited a 2000 decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court in a case involving actor Woody Harrelson, who had argued that Kentucky’s marijuana laws were overly broad and should not be used to prevent him from planting hemp seeds in Lee County.

In that case, the Supreme Court found there was “valid public interest in controlling marijuana” and added that “reliance by Harrelson … on great moral issues of the current times is unpersuasive.”

However, the plaintiffs — Dan Seum Jr. and Amy Stalker of Jefferson County and Danny Belcher of Bath County — say they have lobbied the General Assembly to change the law for years without success. (Seum’s father is a Republican state senator.) They claim the state’s cannabis ban violates their rights under the Kentucky Constitution to privacy and to be free of the “absolute and arbitrary power” of the state over their “lives, liberty and property.”

Kentucky violates privacy rights of medical marijuana patients, lawyer says

Dan Canon, a Louisville attorney who represents several people suing to overturn Kentucky’s ban on medical marijuana, says the Kentucky Constitution guarantees a right to privacy and to be free of arbitrary police powers.

jcheves@herald-leader.com

“Our clients have been to the legislature. They’ll continue to go to the legislature,” attorney Candace Curtis told Wingate. “But you’re the only person who can look at the facts of this case and say, ‘Look, this law is arbitrary and it does violate their right to privacy.’”

Smoked or ingested, cannabis has been used as medicine for most of recorded history. It was a legal remedy in the United States as recently as the mid-20th century. In 1970, however, as the war on drugs began, the U.S. government classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, the designation intended for drugs, such as heroin, that are supposed to have a high potential for addiction and no medical value.

In their suit, the plaintiffs explain that they have used marijuana for years to help them with a variety of ailments.

Seum is a school football coach who suffers from back pain. Belcher is a Vietnam War veteran who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism and a compression fracture in his spine. And Stalker said she has a long history of health problems due to irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder and the powerful pharmaceutical drugs that were prescribed to her to treat those conditions.

Stalker briefly lived in Colorado, where medical marijuana is legal, and had a valid prescription for it there. But she returned to Kentucky to care for her mother.

John Cheves: 859-231-3266, @BGPolitics

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(KY) GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR GET SUED OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA!

BECAUSE THIS STORY IS SO IMPORTANT IN KENTUCKY I HAVE INCLUDED TWO SOURCES OF INFORMATION.

PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK TO THE VIDEO BELOW TO HEAR THE PRESS CONFERENCE WHICH WAS AIRED ON WLKY.

THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED TODAY, JUNE 14TH, 2017, IN JEFFERSON COUNTY KENTUCKY AGAINST GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR BY DANNY BELCHER OF BATH COUNTY, AMY STALKER OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, AND DAN SEUM JR OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.

ky mj lawsuit

ABOVE:  LINK TO PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO ON WLKY

FACEBOOK – WLKY PRESS CONFERENCE WITH COMMENTS

Mark Vanderhoff Reporter

FRANKFORT, Ky. —

Three people are suing Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear over Kentucky’s marijuana laws, claiming their rights are being violated by not being able to use or possess medicinal marijuana.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in Jefferson Circuit Court, was filed on behalf of Danny Belcher of Bath County, Amy Stalker of Louisville and Dan Seum Jr., son of state Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale.

Seum turned to marijuana after being prescribed opioid painkillers to manage back pain.

“I don’t want to go through what I went through coming off that Oxycontin and I can’t function on it,” he said. “If I consume cannabis, I can at least function and have a little quality of life.”

The plaintiffs spoke at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Seum does not believe the state can legally justify outlawing medical marijuana while at the same time allowing doctors to prescribe powerful and highly addictive opioids, which have created a statewide and national epidemic of abuse.

That legal justification lies at the heart of the plaintiffs’ legal challenge, which claims Kentucky is violating its own constitution.

The lawsuit claims the prohibition violates section two of the Kentucky Constitution, which denies “arbitrary power,” and claims the courts have interpreted that to mean a law can’t be unreasonable.

“It’s difficult to make a comparison between medical cannabis and opioids that are routine prescribed to people all over the commonwealth, all over the country, and say that there’s some sort of rational basis for the prohibition on cannabis as medicine when we know how well it works,” said Dan Canon, who along with attorney Candace Curtis is representing the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit also claims Kentucky’s law violates the plaintiffs’ right to privacy, also guaranteed under the state constitution.

Spokespeople for Gov. Bevin and Beshear say their offices are in the process of reviewing the lawsuit.

In a February interview on NewsRadio 840 WHAS, Bevin said the following in response to a question about whether he supports medical marijuana:

“The devil’s in the details. I am not opposed to the idea medical marijuana, if prescribed like other drugs, if administered in the same way we would other pharmaceutical drugs. I think it would be appropriate in many respects. It has absolute medicinal value. Again, it’s a function of its making its way to me. I don’t do that executively. It would have to be a bill.”  CONTINUE READING…

Lawsuit challenges Kentucky’s medical marijuana ban

By Bruce Schreiner | AP June 14 at 6:38 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s criminal ban against medical marijuana was challenged Wednesday in a lawsuit touting cannabis as a viable alternative to ease addiction woes from opioid painkillers.

The plaintiffs have used medical marijuana to ease health problems, the suit said. The three plaintiffs include Dan Seum Jr., the son of a longtime Republican state senator.

Another plaintiff, Amy Stalker, was prescribed medical marijuana while living in Colorado and Washington state to help treat symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She has struggled to maintain her health since moving back to Kentucky to be with her ailing mother.

“She comes back to her home state and she’s treated as a criminal for this same conduct,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Canon. “That’s absurd, it’s irrational and it’s unconstitutional.”

Stalker, meeting with reporters, said: “I just want to be able to talk to my doctors the same way I’m able to talk to doctors in other states, and have my medical needs heard.” CONTINUE READING…

Son of state senator banned from 3rd floor of Capitol Annex says he will hire an attorney to clear his name

Image result for Dan Seum Jr., a medical marijuana advocate

03/16/2017 02:54 PM

Dan Seum Jr., a medical marijuana advocate and the son of Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale, has been banned from the third floor of the Capitol Annex after racially charged comments, according to a letter detailing the ban.

But the younger Seum says the whole incident is a misunderstanding and that he plans on hiring an attorney to help clear his name.

News of the incident first broke on Wednesday in an article written by Tom Loftus for the Louisville Courier-Journal which details the ban enacted by House Speaker Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown.

A Feb. 29 letter informing Seum of his ban from the third floor of the Capitol Annex by Hoover states that after checking into the lobby 12 days prior, Seum engaged in a “racially-charged monologue.” The letter says an African-American Legislative Research Commission employee was seated a few feet from Seum and was distressed by the comments.

“You attempted to justify your comments by claiming the described common sentiments during the 1930’s,” the letter states.

Seum, who is the veterans and legislative affairs director for Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, a 501(c )4 that actively lobbies for patients to safely access cannabis in Kentucky, said he was directly quoting the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, a predecessor to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Harry Anslinger.

In 2014 articles for The Fix, and Huffington Post reporters quote Anslinger as telling Congress in 1937 “(t)here are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”

Seum says he often uses the quote to explain that marijuana was first placed under prohibition under racially charged propaganda. That’s the conversation he found himself in on the third floor of the annex on Feb.17 as he waited for a meeting with Rep. Jerry Miller, R-Louisville, he said.

When Seum, Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana Director Jaime Montalvo, Eric and Michelle Crawford checked in on the third floor for their meeting, Seum says they engaged in discussion with several individuals from Sawyersville, he said.

“I got my phone out, and I quoted (Anslinger’s) argument that he used in Congress,” he said. “It is a despicable quote. It is a bigoted quote. And I was telling them how appalling it is, and they agreed.”

In a March 4 letter from Seum to the Legislative Research Commission, Seum says he is “sincerely sorry for this terrible misunderstanding.” Seum says he advocates for African-Americans unfairly imprisoned for marijuana usage.

Download Seum’s full letter to the LRC here: lrc ban Seum letter.pdf

Seum said neither he nor the others he was with were interviewed during the investigation which banned him from the third floor of the annex, something he considers to be a violation of his due process. Now that several news organizations have run stories, Seum is seeking to find injunctive relief from what he considers to be slander against him.

“I’ve got an attorney on this. I’ve got the national organizations. I’ve contacted Marijuana Policy Project. I’m in talks with National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws. Drug Policy Alliance are talking about this, so I’m doing what I can. I’ve reached out to the ACLU,” he said. “It looks like I’m going to have to hire an attorney. I have to — I have no other choice.”

Since the stories have come out detailing the ban from the third floor, Seum says he is getting people calling him a racist, which he says couldn’t be further from the truth.

When contacted by Spectrum News on Thursday, the Legislative Research Commission had no comment on what they consider to be a personnel matter.

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News or anytime with Spectrum On Demand.Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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