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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Sen. Morgan McGarvey Hosting Public Mtg RE: Medical Marijuana (KY) on February 18th in Louisville, Kentucky

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Senator Morgan McGarvey Hosting 2/18 Public Meeting

Legalize Kentucky Supporters:

Sen. McGarvey filed a bill to allow medical marijuana in last year’s Legislative session and is expected to do so again this year. We need to get a huge crowd to attend this Saturday to thank him for his past support, and show him there are still many supporters of this important issue!

Here is the information: 

Senator Morgan McGarvey

Public Meeting

10 AM

Saturday, February 18

Douglass Community Center

2305 Douglass Blvd

Louisville Police Have Quietly Built A Massive Online Monitoring Operation

By: Jacob Ryan, WFPL News

Louisville Metro Police

The Louisville Metro Police Department has spent nearly $140,000 in recent years on social media monitoring software that can track and compile data on a vast number of internet users.

Since 2014, the department has expanded the potential of this database, which can catalog up to 9.5 million social media postings and a limitless supply of individual profiles, according to a WFPL News investigation.

The department’s ability to surveil social media users comes with little oversight and no guiding policy, according to documents obtained through the Kentucky Open Records Act.

Department officials have declined multiple interview requests over the past two weeks. It remains unclear how LMPD uses this system, who they track and what becomes of their data.

To date, the department has provided virtually no detail about their relationship with SnapTrends, an Austin, Texas-based company that offers “location-based social insights” that provide a “the full story of every social conversation,” according to its website.

Police departments across the country spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to monitor local social media channels. The public agencies have said that monitoring Twitter and Facebook is now standard practice for law enforcement in the Internet Age.

But the mass surveillance of social media users raises concerns among privacy experts and civil liberty advocates.

“It undermines people’s speech and their associations when the entirety of their social media data is being analyzed by law enforcement,” said Jeramie Scott of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington, D.C.-based research group focused on emerging privacy and civil liberties issues.

In paying for the social media tracking service, LMPD also utilized an exemption in the city’s purchasing policy that allows an agency to forgo a typical competitive bidding process.

No Policy, No Public Discussion

The police department’s purchase of social media monitoring software in March 2014 came just days after a group of some 200 young people caused several acts of vandalism and violence downtown, starting at Waterfront Park.

A gas station was ransacked. Cars sitting at traffic lights were pummeled, and robberies were reported. Police said they received some 30 calls for assistance in the downtown area that night, which resulted in 17 police reports and at least 10 assaults, said Chief Steve Conrad in a briefing days later. Conrad called it “truly mob-like behavior.”

Mayor Greg Fischer quickly ordered the installation of $230,000 worth of high-definition cameras in and around Waterfront Park. Police racked up more than $1 million in overtime pay in the six weeks that followed, according to a report from The Courier-Journal. And via a state-of-the-art crime information center in downtown Louisville, police began monitoring cameras across the city.

Just over a week later, department officials made their first order for a subscription to SnapTrends. The service is employed by police departments, school districts and foreign governments.

Louisville police’s first SnapTrends purchase in 2014 gave seven users the ability to monitor and store more than three million postings. Since then, the department has continued to expand on the subscription service.

In all, LMPD has paid nearly $140,000 for the program.

The most recent agreement allows 19 users to mine 9.5 million social media postings and create a limitless database of user profiles.

Metro Hall

Metro Hall

Conrad, the police chief, has publicly praised the push for other tech tools: more cameras, the opening of the crime information center and, more recently, the adoption of a gunshot detection system. But the proliferation of LMPD’s social media surveillance effort has flown under the radar.

There has been scant public discussion of the effort and no briefing to the Metro Council.

The department has issued no public report on the surveillance program, and LMPD’s transparency website provides no information about its use of SnapTrends.

Through a spokesman, the LMPD major in charge of the program declined an interview to discuss the department’s use of the software.

The police department also declined a records request seeking all archived social media postings from March 2014 to August 2016, as well as records of correspondence with SnapTrends. The department cited an exemption in Kentucky’s open records law that allows records to be withheld if their disclosure would expose a vulnerability in preventing or protecting against a terrorist act.

WFPL News has appealed that decision to the state’s attorney general.

Other Kentucky Agencies Monitoring Social Media

Statewide, police use of social media monitoring is a mixed bag.

In Lexington, the state’s second largest city, police use WeLink, a platform that bills itself as a digital-risk management tool. Police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said the agency uses the software to “monitor public social media posts for information that could involve threats to public safety.”

Bowling Green police officials previously considered purchasing software from LifeRaft, a Canada-based company. Officer Ronnie Ward, a police spokesman, said the agency  “looked at it,” but “so far, haven’t been able to outweigh the cost with the benefit of it.”

“We just can’t justify it right now,” Ward said.

Police in Paducah and Frankfort reported that they didn’t use social media surveillance software. Kentucky State Police did not return a request for comment.

Exemption Allowed LMPD Secrecy in Purchase of Monitoring Software

In Louisville, the LMPD made four payments to SnapTrends each ranging from $19,500 to $53,000, according to invoices obtained by WFPL News.

Louisville Metro government purchasing policy requires a contract for all purchases regardless of amount, according to an August 2016 internal audit of the city’s procurement policy. Purchases exceeding $20,000 are to be made using a Professional Service Contract, the audit states, which must be reviewed by the Metro Council.

Three LMPD payments to SnapTrends exceed that threshold, records show. Yet in response to an open records request, the police department said “no records exist” of a contract detailing the agreement.

An invoice from SnapTrends to LMPD for $53,000.

A SnapTrends invoice to LMPD for $53,000.

Erica Allen, an administrator in the city’s office of management and budget, said the police department’s purchase is considered “a subscription” and thus exempt from such requirements.

City purchasing policy provides an exemption to “memberships, dues and purchase of periodicals in either paper or electronic format.” Exemptions exist when competitive bidding is not feasible or practical, the policy states.

Metro Councilman David James, chair of the council’s public safety committee and a former police officer, said that policy is vague.

“I don’t think we were thinking in terms of a subscription costing over $20,000,” he said. “Technology has gone beyond what our public policy is that we wrote, and so we need to go back and look at it and change it to adjust to 2016.”

The section of Metro purchasing policy dealing with exemptions.

The section of Metro purchasing policy dealing with exemptions.

Widespread Scrutiny of Social Media Monitoring

The surveillance of social media by law enforcement is under scrutiny across the country.

Some companies assisting law enforcement with conducting mass online surveillance are under fire for misusing social media data to help law enforcement track certain communities.

For instance, Geofeedia, a Chicago-based company, had its access to certain social media user data severed earlier this month by Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, after the ACLU reported it marketed its service as a way to monitor activists.

SnapTrends had its access cut by Twitter for similar reasons, according to a report from The Daily Dot.

A report from Bloomberg details SnapTrends use in the United Arab Emirates and Bangladesh, where the company provided Twitter data to a law enforcement agency classified by Human Rights Watch as a “death squad.”

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Chris Burbank, director of law enforcement engagement for the Center for Policing Equity and a former police chief in Salt Lake City, said police are likely conducting social media surveillance regardless of whether they’ve purchased a subscription with a software company like SnapTrends.

“I only see it getting more significant,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable, said Scott, national security counsel and director of the domestic surveillance project for the Electronic Privacy Information Center. He said individuals can push back against efforts to monitor their online lives, or at least help ensure such programs are justified.

“With any of these large-scale surveillance activities, social media monitoring including, it’s important transparency, oversight and accountability are implemented, and there are mechanisms in place that ensure there is not a disparate impact with the use of social media monitoring,” he said.

With no policy guiding the the Louisville police department’s surveillance of social media, it’s unclear just how they do it. No regulations dictate who they monitor, what they monitor or why.

And the department has provided no details on what justifies a profile or post being collected, how long the information is stored and who has access to the data.

The lack of oversight is “troubling” to the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky.

Widespread monitoring of social media by police can lead to the collection and storage of “innocent people’s personal data,” and how that data may be used is reason for concern, said Amber Duke, spokeswoman for the ACLU of Kentucky.

“Social media is, among other things, a driver for political conversation and activism,” she said. “Constitutionally protected speech shouldn’t make one a target for surveillance.”

Metro Councilman David James

Metro Councilman David James

James, the councilman, said he supports the police effort to keep watch on social media users.

“Public safety is the No. 1 responsibility of government, and this is just another tool in the toolbox,” he said.

James also said he doesn’t believe LMPD needs a policy to guide its surveillance effort.

“Why do you want to put more restrictions on the police than are on the general public? The general public can do the same thing,” he said. “They’re just looking at stuff that’s already out there.”

Walter Lamar, a former FBI agent and one-time senior adviser to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s office of law enforcement and security, said it’s difficult to argue against the need for a surveillance tool that can help law enforcement prevent crime or save a life.

“They’re just patrolling in a different venue, looking for criminal activity, looking for activity that might pose a threat or danger to the community,” said Lamar.

Burbank, of the Center for Policing Equity, said keeping the public out of such efforts can erode public trust in law enforcement.

“They have to write policy,” he said. “You can’t have a tool this strong and this powerful and this potentially invasive without some sort of policy.”

This story was reported by our affiliated newsroom, 89.3 WFPL News.

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For Immediate Release March 2, 2016 Concealed carry bill passes House Judiciary panel

For Immediate Release

March 2, 2016

Concealed carry bill passes House Judiciary panel

FRANKFORT—The right of off-duty and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons in the same locations as on-duty officers would be affirmed under a bill passed today by the House Judiciary Committee.

Rep. Steve Riggs, D-Louisville, said he filed House Bill 314 at the request of the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office in response to a situation in which off-duty officers were prohibited from carrying concealed weapons into a Louisville Palace event. Such situations are especially problematic in Louisville where, Riggs said, police officers are required to carry their weapons both on-duty and off.

He said HB 314 clarifies current law that allows Kentucky law enforcement officers to concealed carry whether or not they are on-duty officers, retired officers, or off-duty officers authorized to concealed carry by their employer.

“What we’re trying to do here is just have a duplicate statute in a section that makes it really clear that this has always been our intent and we want to make it real clear,” said Riggs.

The bill passed the committee with the support of lawmakers like Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, who described HB 314 as a life-saving bill.

“There are many people who have had their lives spared because an off-duty police officer or retired police officer was able to deescalate or neutralize a threat. So we’re grateful to you, this is a great bill, I’m voting yes,” Benvenuti said.

Voting against the bill was Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, who said carrying a gun “gives a false sense of security.”

“It just encourages and proliferates more violence in our society. I vote no,” she said.

HB 314, which is also sponsored by Rep. Charles Miller, D-Louisville, now goes to the full House for consideration.

-END-

Former Congressman Mike Ward pushing for medical marijuana in Kentucky

Image result for mike ward kentucky

01/25/2016 05:12 PM

Former U.S. Rep. Mike Ward has formed a nonprofit group to advocate for medical marijuana in Kentucky.

Ward, a Democrat from Louisville, will serve as the CEO of Legalize Kentucky Now, in an effort to convince state lawmakers to pass legislation making medical marijuana legal in the bluegrass state.

In an interview with Pure Politics, Ward said medical marijuana is something that Kentucky should adopt and could be a leader on. Currently, 23 states have passed some form of medical marijuana legalization.

“I think we just need to bring people together and explain the medical value of it,” Ward said. “And explain that you’ve got grandmothers getting their grandsons to go out and break the law, so that they can have an appetite or keep food down. This is not about pot heads.”

The group Ward represents supports a bill which would require a medical prescription to access the drug.

This session, Ward said the group could advocate one of two ways, either for a full plan for medical marijuana or a bill which simply adds marijuana to the list of substances available to be prescribed by a doctor — lawmakers would then have one year to figure out how to set up an industry.

“My real delightful outcome from this session would be that either House … has a vote on the floor on the bill, and it doesn’t pass, but they vote on it, and then they don’t get beat,” Ward said. “And then they can say to their colleagues this didn’t get me beat at home or the people who vote against it say they get beat up on.”

If Ward can show lawmakers that they don’t get beat at the ballot box for voting on this issue, then the real work of determining the industry could take shape in Frankfort.

For Ward the issue is also a personal one. His brother illegally obtained and used marijuana in the hospital while battling AIDS. But he also admits the drug would generate tax revenue and jobs in the state of Kentucky.

Watch the full interview with Ward below.

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Kentucky "Cannabis Freedom Act" Summary

legalize-marijuana-leaf-red-white-blue-flag-300x300

Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition·Saturday, December 12, 2015

Cannabis Freedom Act Summary

Section 1

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Definitions

Section 2

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Personal possession, use, and cultivation limits

Persons 21 years and older may:

Possess up to 1 ounce of cannabis on their person;

Cultivate up to 5 cannabis plants;

Store excess cannabis lawfully grown for personal use at the location where it was cultivated; or

Transfer up to 1 ounce of cannabis to another person age 21 or older without remuneration

Possession exemption for persons under 21 if recommended by a licensed physician

Section 3

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Prohibition on smoking cannabis in public

Maximum penalty: $100 fine

Section 4

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Prohibitions on access to retail cannabis facilities,

Persons under 21 years of age shall not:

o Enter retail cannabis facilities to purchase cannabis or cannabis products;

o Possess, purchase, or attempt to possess or purchase cannabis or cannabis products;

o Misrepresent their age or use false identification to induce an illegal sale of cannabis or cannabis products; or

o Remain on any premises that sells cannabis or cannabis products

Licensees, their agents, or employees are prohibited from permitting persons under 21 years of age from remaining on any premises where cannabis and cannabis products are sold.

o Maximum penalty: Class B misdemeanor

Section 5

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Prohibition on unlawful possession of cannabis

Maximum penalty: $250 fine

Section 6

(New Section KRS Chapter 245)

Personal cultivation requirements

Person who chooses to cultivate for personal consumption must take reasonable precautions to ensure that any cannabis or cannabis plants are secure from unauthorized access and access by persons under twenty-one years of age.

Persons shall only cultivate cannabis for personal consumption on property that they own or with the consent of the person in lawful possession of the property.

o Maximum penalty: $500 fine

Section 7

(New Section KRS Chapter 245)

Prohibition on unlawful cultivation of cannabis (ULCC) with the intent to sell or transfer it for valuable consideration ULCC of 11 or more cannabis plants

o Maximum penalty: Class D felony

ULCC of 6-10 cannabis plants

o Maximum penalty: Class A misdemeanor

ULCC of 5 or fewer cannabis plants

o Maximum penalty: Class B misdemeanor

ULCC of six or more cannabis plants creates a presumption that unlawful cultivation was for sale or transfer

Section 8

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control (ABCC) to promulgate administrative regulations to implement various aspects of Act within 180 days of the Act becoming law.

Section 9

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

ABCC to create licenses to operate the following cannabis-related entities:

Cannabis cultivation facility;

Cannabis processing facility;

Cannabis testing facility; or

Retail cannabis facility.

Licenses created pursuant to this section shall cost $5,000 and be valid for 12 months from the date of issuance

Section 10

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Licensure requirements

Applicant must pay nonrefundable $100 application fee which will be applied to their licensing fee if a license is issued to the applicant

ABCC shall:

Create uniform license application form;

Issue a license to an applicant unless:

o The applicant has been convicted of crime which would qualify them as a violent offender;

o The applicant falsifies information on the application for a license; or

o The applicant has had a previous license issued by ABCC revoked within the 12 months prior to the reapplication.

Section 11

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Excise tax imposed on licensees operating cannabis cultivation facilities selling or transferring cannabis to either a cannabis processing facility or a retail cannabis facility.

Effective January 1, 2017:

$30 per ounce on all cannabis flowers

$10 per ounce on all parts of the cannabis plant other than the flowers

$10 per immature cannabis plant

Reporting requirements

Department of Revenue may prescribe forms and promulgate administrative regulations to collect taxes created under this section

Section 12

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Creates a revolving trust and agency account from licensure, renewal, and administrative fees Account to be used for the enforcement of the Act by ABCC

Section 13

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

The Kentucky Responsible Cannabis Use Program (KRCUP) fund is created as a restricted fund

The KRCUP fund is comprised off all the excise tax revenue collected under Section 11 of the Act and all the sales and use tax revenue collected on cannabis and cannabis products.

The proceeds contained in the fund are to be distributed according to the following formula:

30% of funds to go the public school fund to support education excellence in Kentucky (SEEK);

20% of funds to go to the Kentucky Department of Education for scholarships based on socioeconomic need for students to attend public institutions of postsecondary education in Kentucky;

20% of funds to go to the Office of Drug Control Policy to dispense grants to substance abuse treatment programs that employ evidence-based behavioral health treatments or medically assisted treatment;

15% of funds to go to the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council to dispense grants to county and local law enforcement agencies to buy protective equipment, communications equipment, and training; and

15% shall be deposited into the general fund.

Section 14

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

$500 Civil penalty for each violation of KRS Chapter 245

$1000 Civil penalty for failing to maintain written tax records and reports required by the Department of Revenue

Section 15

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Corporate and individual liability for violations of KRS Chapter 245

Section 16

(New Section of KRS Chapter 245)

Cannabis or cannabis products which are held, owned, or possessed by any person other than those authorized by KRS Chapter 245 is declared contraband.

The ABCC can dispose of contraband cannabis and cannabis products using the same procedures and protocols that they currently use for contraband alcoholic beverages.

Section 17

(New Section of KRS Chapter 100)

Prevents local political subdivisions with zoning power from:

Using their zoning power to institute a moratorium on cannabis-related entities;

Using their zoning power to discriminate against cannabis-related entities by treating them differently from other similar entities;

Using their zoning power to impose more stringent security requirements than those required by ABCC; or Imposing additional fees in excess of what other applicants seeking to operate a business are charged.

Section 18

(New Section of KRS Chapter 65)

Prevents county and local governments from instituting de facto or de jure moratoriums on cannabis related entities.

Section 19

(New Section of KRS Chapter 311)

Allows any licensed physicians acting in good faith to recommend cannabis or cannabis products to their patients.

Physicians who recommend cannabis or cannabis products to patients under the age of 18 must obtain parental consent and a second recommendation from another licensed physician.

Provides civil, criminal, and licensing immunity to physicians who, in good faith, recommend cannabis or cannabis products.

Section 20

(Amends KRS 12.020)

Renames the Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control

Establishes the Division of Cannabis

Section 21

(Amends KRS 241.010)

Amends definition of “board” and “department” to reflect the addition of cannabis

Section 22

(Amends KRS 241.015)

Renames the Department of Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control

Section 23

(Amends KRS 241.020)

Empowers the Department of Alcoholic Beverages and Cannabis Control to regulate traffic in cannabis and cannabis products.

Creates the Division of Cannabis to administer the laws in relation cultivation, processing, testing, and sale of cannabis and cannabis products.

Section 24

(Amends KRS 241.030)

Adds one appointed position to the Alcoholic Beverage and Cannabis Control Board to act as director of the Division of Cannabis.

Section 25

(Amends KRS 2.015)

Amends the age of majority statute in regards to cannabis.

Section 26

(Amends KRS 218A.010)

Removes the definition of marijuana from Kentucky’s Controlled Substances Act.

Section 27

(Amends KRS 218A.050)

Removes marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinols, and hashish from the list of Schedule I controlled substances.

Section 28

(Amends KRS 218A.510)

Removes references to marijuana and hashish from the definition of drug paraphernalia.

Section 29

(Amends KRS 260.850)

Removes industrial hemp from the definition of cannabis.

Section 30

(Amends KRS 600.020)

Includes cannabis offenses in the definition of status offense action under Kentucky’s Juvenile Code.

Section 31

(Amends KRS 610.010)

Grants jurisdiction of juvenile cases involving cannabis to either the juvenile session of District Court or the family division of the Circuit Court.

Section 32

(Amends 630.020)

Adds cannabis offenses to list of status offenses which have to be adjudicated in juvenile court.

Section 33

(Amends KRS 218A.276)

Removes obsolete reference to marijuana statutes that would be repealed if this Act becomes law.

Section 34

(Amends KRS 630.120)

Prevents juveniles who are adjudicated guilty of cannabis offenses from being committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for detention (mirrors alcohol and tobacco offenses).

Section 35

(Amends KRS 131.650)

Removes obsolete reference to a taxing statute which would be repealed if this Act becomes law.

Section 36

(Repeals KRS 138.870, 138.872, 138.874, 138.876, 138.878, 138.880, 138.882,138.884, 138.885, 138.886, 138.888, 138.889, 218A.1421, 218A.1422, 218A.1423)

Section 37

(Short Title: Cannabis Freedom Act)

INFORMATION SOURCE LINK

UPDATED LINK TO THE KENTUCKY LEGISLATURE WILL BE POSTED WHEN AVAILABLE!

KY Senator files "Cannabis Freedom Act" rolling medicinal and recreational use together in one hit

By Brad Bowman, Published: December 12, 2015 3:56PM

Clark talking about cannabis in a legislative committee meeting. Photo courtesy of the Legislative Research Commission.

Democrat Sen. Perry Clark of Louisville has advocated for the legalization of medical marijuana since the last legislative session to this summer at Mensa’s Annual Gathering where he cleared the smoke and myths surrounding marijuana. Friday he filed a bill rolling medical and recreational use in one big hit.

Clark filed the “Cannabis Freedom Act” which would regulate the use of cannabis just as the state regulates alcohol.

Touting the benefit of pot over pills and curbing opioid addiction for patients who use marijuana to overcome pain and problems from illness like multiple sclerosis, Clark has talked extensively in the Senate and legislative committees about the benefits and regulation of marijuana.

After the Mensa event this summer, Clark had told The State Journal he wanted to have a meaningful conversation about the senseless prohibition of the plant, which Clark said, has been financially backed by alcohol and tobacco companies blocking the legislation in other states.

The “Cannabis Freedom Act” would end the prohibition on marijuana cultivation, possession and selling the substance in regulatory framework similar to Colorado.

Quick takeaways on the act include: it would only be available to residents 21 and over;

• residents could possess up to 1 ounce on their person;

•cultivate up to 5 plants;

• store an excess of cultivated cannabis for personal use where it was cultivated or transfer 1 ounce to another person 21 or older without remuneration.

• persons under 21 could possess cannabis if it was recommended by a licensed physician;

• no smoking cannabis in public places

Other parts of the regulator framework would include only residents 21 and over could enter a retail facility for the purchase of cannabis or related products.

Clark’s bill would maximize unlawful possession at $250 and a $500 fine for illegal growing marijuana on a property without the property owner’s permission.

“It is abundantly clear to me that cannabis, while being much less harmful, should be treated the same as alcohol,” Clark said in a release. “The Cannabis Freedom Act is an outline on how to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older in Kentucky. It is time for this discussion in our Commonwealth.”

The act’s regulatory framework has a three-tier licensing system which separates cannabis cultivators, processors and retailers independently to “prevent monopolization and vertical integration,” a component different from the framework proposed in Ohio.

Clark said the tax revenues would be in a restricted fund to increase SEEK funding for the state’s public schools and provide scholarships to Kentucky students who qualify for needs-based  assistance to both public and post-secondary schools in Kentucky.

Revenues would also help fund evidence-based substance abuse treatment programs, provide grants to local law enforcement agencies to purchase protective equipment and provide additional revenue to the state’s general fund.

During the 30-day short session, Clark brought up the medicinal studies and medical benefits of cannabis almost every day in the Senate.

Follow political reporter Brad Bowman at @bradleybowman for all state government and political news.

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