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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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.

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"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.

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Kentucky Nurses Association endorses medical marijuana

By Lawrence Smith

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) — The push to legalize medical marijuana in Kentucky has picked up a major supporter.

The Kentucky Nurses Association has come out in support of the idea, calling it an issue of patients’ rights.

Twenty-two years ago, a car wreck injured Eric Crawford’s spinal cord, leaving him partially paralyzed.

He says he began smoking marijuana after experiencing bad side effects from conventional drugs.

“I don’t have to take pain pills anymore, and I take very little muscle relaxer. So, yes, it’s helping me,” said Crawford, who is from Maysville, Ky.

Stories like Crawford’s are why the Kentucky Nurses Association is now endorsing medical marijuana.

“I hope that folks are going to see that when registered nurses say this is an important access to care issue, that folks are going to look at it as the medical and patient care issue that it is and not as a social issue,” said Maureen Keenan, executive director of the KNA.

Supporters of medical marijuana made their case to lawmakers Friday during a special hearing of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations.

“It’s not about having a party. It’s not about having fun. It’s about quality of life,” said Jaime Montalvo of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana.

But others, such as the Kentucky Medical Association and law enforcement agencies, are urging caution.

“This is a gateway drug that leads our children and young adults down the road to illicit drug use and addiction,” warned Mickey Hatmaker, president of the Kentucky Narcotics Officers Association.

The Kentucky Medical Association says it wants to see more research.

“KMA cannot support legislation intended to involve physicians in the area of medicinal marijuana outside of scientific, clinical trials,” said Corey Meadows of the KMA.

But the chairman of the committee says it is possible that a limited bill, perhaps one allowing dying patients to use marijuana, could get through the 2017 session.

“I see the dialogue changing a bit, and I think a narrowly-crafted bill might have some success,” said Sen. John Schickel (R-Union.)

Crawford says it is evidence that minds are slowly changing.

“Since the Kentucky Nurses Association has come out, that’s a big step for us,” he said.

While supporters of medical marijuana say they’re cautiously optimistic, they also know, at the Capitol, that momentum could quickly go up in smoke.

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Jaime Montalvo–Guest Editorial WDRB, Louisville, Ky.

Guest POV | Medical Marijuana

Posted: Jan 28, 2015 9:33 AM CST Updated: Jan 28, 2015 3:55 PM CST

WDRB Guest Editorial By Jaime Montalvo

 

I have Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve been fighting this disease for eight years.

I have muscle spasms, tremor uncontrollably, and I’m scared. Cannabis relieves these symptoms.

In Kentucky, thousands of Veterans suffer from PTSD and haven’t responded to treatment.

Sadly, too many choose suicide as a last resort for escaping their demons. I have personal combat veteran friends who testify that smoking Cannabis relieves them within seconds after waking up from horrendous nightmares.

Kentucky has the highest cancer death rate of all 50 states. You probably know someone who has had cancer. Cancer treatments also bring some of the most debilitating side effects. Twenty thousand Kentuckians a year face this diagnosis. Marijuana has been studied and proven to relieve these effects. The nausea brought about by chemotherapy is relieved within seconds of inhaling Cannabis.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana reports over 90,000 individuals suffer from epilepsy in our area. Like cancer treatments, medications used to manage seizures have debilitating side effects. Not every patient can tolerate the treatments, and the drugs often stop working. Cannabis oil has been heralded for decreasing certain patients’ seizures from 300 per week to zero or one.

Cannabis is helping us cope with our symptoms. Please help us by contacting your legislator at 800-372-7181 asking them to support medical marijuana legislation.

I’m Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, and that’s my point of view.

 

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