“We strongly urge the Department of Veteran Affairs and Kentucky Assembly to actively support passage of a strong comprehensive medical cannabis bill as soon as possible…”

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8 mins ·

On this Veterans Day

I would like to strongly urge the both the Veterans Administration and the Kentucky State Assembly, that with an estimated 750,000 cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, among the Veteran population, they should seriously consider Veteran access to cannabis.

Veteran’s organizations are recognizing the effectiveness of cannabis in treating this condition. The American Legion has two resolutions favoring Veteran access to medical cannabis.

A worrisome component of Veteran Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with chronic pain is the constant, ever hovering specter of addiction and suicide among the Veteran population. The suicide rate sometimes reported to be as much as 22 a day, may seem a high estimate but a suicide day is 30 a month and one a day too much.

When considering the high rates of drug addiction and suicide among the Veteran population one must also consider the following reports. A recent Journal of the American Medical Association report of a 25% drop in opioid overdose deaths in states with medical marijuana laws and a Cato Institute report from January of 2015 citing a 5% drop in suicides in states having medical marijuana laws. We would expect to see a similar drop in Veteran addiction overdose deaths and suicides should Congress or the Kentucky Assembly pass a Medical cannabis law. Veterans have long recognized the beneficial effects of medical cannabis and Veterans in medical cannabis states report great success when using medical cannabis for PTSD, chronic pain and a number of other conditions for which cannabis is effective.

We strongly urge the Department of Veteran Affairs and Kentucky Assembly to actively support passage of a strong comprehensive medical cannabis bill as soon as possible. The welfare of our Veterans, indeed, their lives are depending on it!

SOURCE

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Msgt. Thomas Vance: (KY) Pot Legalization Opponents Looking Desperate

(From Msgt. Thomas Tony Vance via Facebook comes the following opinion)

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There was a Kentucky Assembly Joint Interim hearing of the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee held on 12 October 2017. There was short notice of the hearing and the main topic was cannabis legalization as it relates to Public Protection. All of the scheduled speakers were members of organizations that oppose cannabis legalization. Among cannabis activists it was being called the ‘anti-legalization’ hearing.
Two of the speakers were old friends who were involved in the ‘Marijuana Summit’, held in Covington on Dec 1, 2015. Mr. Coder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and Mr. Shemelya of the National Marijuana Initiative both spoke at the December ‘Summit”. That forum was billed as a neutral look at the issue but was clearly an anti-legalization entity.
The speakers at Thursday’s hearing were Mr. Coder and Mr. Shemelya, Rick Sanders of the Kentucky State Police and Van Ingram of the Kentucky office of Drug Control Policy.
Mr. Shemelya spoke mainly of recreational legalization and how the higher potency of today’s cannabis products are a danger because we don’t understand it. After speaking about DUID, driving under the influence of drugs, he tried to blame marijuana for an increase in fatal traffic accidents, 2 seconds later, he quickly mentioned that fatal traffic accidents are actually down. Then it was back to potency and saving the children. Since cannabis would be legal only for adults over 21 this seems to be a moot point.
Mr. Ingram of the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, was next and began by claiming we do not know what will happen if cannabis is legalized like tobacco. However with 20 years of citizen access in California, none of the reported claims of doom and gloom having materialized there puts his claim in serious doubt.
Mr. Coder began by wondering what effect cannabis legalization would have on employers and the economy. Stating that employers are having to change their drug screens or they will not be able to find workers etc. One wonders why cannabis would not be treated as any other commodity and problems worked out in the Assembly and the courts.
Lastly Commissioner Rick Sanders of the Kentucky State Police spoke. He went on about adult use and proceeded to repeat all the tired old claims of the negatives of legalization. Next he proceeded to list the bodies. Deaths from opioids, 52,000, from alcohol, 88,000 and tobacco 48,000 but he stopped there. No mention of cannabis deaths! Twenty-two years of citizen access since California passed medical legalization in 1996 should surely yield some deaths if it is as harmful as the speakers claim.
The discussion ended with various Legislators comments and a resolution to support and pursue research into the medical benefits of cannabis. Observers posited that the speakers looked a little desperate and it reminded me of what Mr. Shemelya said at the ‘Marijuana Summit’. He said that if California passes recreational legalization in November of 2016, which they did, then, “it’s all over folks!”

SOURCE

This meeting was not supposed to known to the public… “Frankfort, Anti-Marijuana Discussion”

I have been informed of these meetings taking place in Frankfort, Kentucky, this Thursday, October 12, 2017 @ 1:00pm.  I am posting the information here!  Please follow links to obtain more information!

#1

***Attention mark your calendars for this Thursday’s Anti Marijuana Discussion***

Should KY Veterans, or Public Protection Officers (Fire Fighters, Police, EMT) be criminals for trying to find a better quality of life?
Come show support for KY patient’s safe access to cannabis.
Thursday October 12, 2017 @ 1:00 P.M.
Capital Annex Room 154 (702 Capital Ave., Frankfort 40601)
Veterans, Military Affairs & Public Protection Committee

— in Kentucky State Capitol.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

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10:00 am, Annex Room 131

PROGRAM REVIEW AND INVESTIGATIONS COMMITTEE

Agenda: Potential Legal Action Against Drug Industry for Contributing to Opioid Abuse in Kentucky; Purdue Pharma Settlement • Attorney General Andy Beshear Presentation of staff report Kentucky’s Foster Care System Responses by • Adria Johnson, Commissioner • Elizabeth Caywood, Executive Advisor, Department for Community Based Services • Kelly Stephens, Manager Court Services, Administrative Office of the Courts Available for questions • Officials from Personnel Cabinet

Members: Sen. Danny Carroll (Co-Chair), Rep. Lynn Bechler (Co-Chair), Sen. Tom Buford, Sen. Perry B. Clark, Sen. Wil Schroder, Sen. Dan “Malano” Seum, Sen. Reginald Thomas, Sen. Stephen West, Sen. Whitney Westerfield, Rep. Chris Fugate, Rep. Brian Linder, Rep. Donna Mayfield, Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, Rep. Rob Rothenburger, Rep. Arnold Simpson, Rep. Walker Thomas

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#3

1:00 pm, Annex Room 154

INTERIM JOINT COMMITTEE ON VETERANS, MILITARY AFFAIRS, AND PUBLIC PROTECTION

Agenda: Pledge of Allegiance Distinguished Veteran Marijuana and Public Safety • Richard W. Sanders, Commissioner, Kentucky State Police • Van Ingram, Executive Director, Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Staff • Ed Shemelya, Director, National Marijuana Initiative • Tony Coder, Director, State and Local Affairs, Smart Approaches to Marijuana School and Campus Safety • Alex Payne, Deputy Commissioner, Kentucky State Police • Mark Filburn, Commissioner, Department of Criminal Justice Training

Members: Sen. Albert Robinson (Co-Chair), Rep. Tim Moore (Co-Chair), Sen. Julian M. Carroll, Sen. Perry B. Clark, Sen. C.B. Embry, Sen. Denise Harper Angel, Sen. Ernie Harris, Sen. Jimmy Higdon, Sen. Stan Humphries, Sen. Dennis Parrett, Sen. Wil Schroder, Sen. Dan “Malano” Seum, Sen. Whitney Westerfield, Sen. Mike Wilson, Sen. Max Wise, Rep. Robert Benvenuti , Rep. Tom Burch, Rep. Will Coursey, Rep. Jeffery Donohue, Rep. Myron Dossett, Rep. Jim DuPlessis, Rep. Chris Fugate, Rep. Jeff Greer, Rep. Chris Harris, Rep. Mark Hart, Rep. Regina Huff, Rep. Dan Johnson, Rep. DJ Johnson, Rep. Donna Mayfield, Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, Rep. Brandon Reed, Rep. Rob Rothenburger, Rep. Dean Schamore, Rep. Walker Thomas

SOURCE LINK

http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislativecalendarv2/sp_bss_calendar_/index

https://www.facebook.com/KY4MM/posts/1461959113839300

https://www.facebook.com/jaime.montalvo.3110?fref=ufi&rc=p

https://www.facebook.com/amy.stalk.3?fref=ufi&rc=p

Republican state Senator will propose recreational marijuana as way to create needed pension revenue

10/04/2017 03:11 PM

VIDEO THROUGH THIS LINK!

With one of the worst funded pension systems in the entire nation in the commonwealth, Republican state Sen. Dan Seum says the need for new revenue could take the state higher, legally.

Seum, R-Fairdale, suggests legalizing marijuana could add badly needed new revenues to the state coffers totaling $100 million or more a year. The money represents an untapped stream of cash to pay down estimated unfunded liabilities ranging from $37 billion to $64 billion in the state pension systems.

“I think desperation might help — we need a billion dollars (a year),” Seum said of the chances of legalizing marijuana in Kentucky.

Legislative leaders expect their proposals to reform the state pension systems will be made public in the next 10 days, but those proposed tweaks are not expected to deal with revenue in a special session likely called this year.

Seum says he will propose legislation allowing adult use of cannabis in Kentucky before the 2018 regular session.

“I’m looking at adult use, because that’s where the money is at,” Seum said.

The upcoming session will mainly focus on crafting and passing a two-year state budget, and Seum thinks the need for money to address unfunded pensions will open the door to marijuana.

“Once we come out of the special session the governor is about to call, then we’re going to have a real, hopefully a real understanding of what the needs are when it comes to revenue,” he said.

Seum refers to marijuana legalization in Kentucky as a “jobs bill,” adding that Kentuckians should look no further than the bourbon industry to see the ancillary revenue that is generated from the industry.

Twenty-eight states have legalized some form of marijuana, and Seum says his bill will largely mirror what’s in place currently in Colorado, which approved legalized use by adults over 21 years old in 2012.

Seum said his son, Dan Seum Jr., visited Colorado this year to see how the 2012 legislation was written and what tweaks have been made in the years following passage, and that’s the model the Fairdale Republican will follow when he prefiles a bill later this year.

Jason Warf, political director of Alliance for Innovative Medicine, said that he thinks the market in Kentucky could be larger than what Colorado has seen, and thus more revenue could be expected.

“Obviously, it’s a time here in Kentucky where we need to look at our options,” Warf said.

Warf said that in Colorado dispensaries are licensed through the Department of Revenue and enforced by a self-funded marijuana enforcement division, a model he thinks Kentucky could duplicate with success.

Seum said he is also in favor of bringing in expanded casino gaming to the state in an effort to create as much new revenue as possible.

“As a legislator I’m not inclined to look at any kind of taxes, new taxes or additional taxes until we have explored the possibility of creating new monies,” he said.

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Not taking an action that can provide such benefit in fighting this (opioid) scourge is not only callus and inhuman but also morally indefensible!

 

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By:  Msgt. Thomas Tony Vance, Alexandria, Ky.

Callus and Morally Indefensible!

Mercy Health Hospitals in an Op-ed in the May 11, 2017 Kentucky Enquirer talks about the opioid epidemic and calls for a multi-pronged approach in dealing with it. Their program of Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment, SBIRT, has screened thousands of patients. Unfortunately they do not give any stats that show the program is effective. They also state we should treat addiction as the disease it is. That is exactly what Nixon’s commission on drugs advised back in the early 70s. Instead we got the war on drugs!

As effective as the Mercy Health approach is, there is a more effective action that can drop the number of opioid overdose deaths by more than half. As reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, States with medical cannabis laws see a 25% drop in opioid overdose deaths in the first year after legalizing medical marijuana which grows to 33% by year 6. We can cut our opioid overdose deaths by a third simply by legalizing medical marijuana.

In Colorado which has both medical and recreational marijuana legalization, have seen a drop of 66% since medical legalization was approved in 2012. They had 479 opioid overdose deaths for 2015 and that dropped to 442 for 2016.

Let us compare Kentucky and Colorado. Colorado has 5.5 million people and Kentucky has 4.5 million. Colorado has comparable medical and addiction services and is similar to Kentucky in many ways. The only major difference is Colorado has embraced marijuana legalization and Kentucky, even though medical legalization polls at 80% favorability and recreational at 60%, has rejected legalization. Colorado’s numbers for 2015 were 479 and Kentucky’s were 1278, almost 3 times that of Colorado.

Given the facts of the benefits of marijuana legalization in preventing opioid overdose deaths by more than half, as is the case in Colorado, no one can claim to be serious about opioid addiction and overdose deaths without including cannabis legalization as a tool to fight this epidemic. Cannabis legalization, in reality, has a better record of mitigating this epidemic than any other policy that has been tried or is currently in use! I dare our legislators to name another policy that can drop the number of these deaths by a third. They can’t.

Veterans suffering from chronic pain and Post Traumatic Stress stop taking an average of 8 different prescriptions for pain meds and meds to deal with the side effects of the various medicines they are given when they start using medical cannabis. Veterans claim far better outcomes than their counter parts who stay on the VA cocktail prescribed for pain and PTSD.

We need credible action to fight this devastating epidemic. What we are currently doing is not effective. Adding addiction services will help but it seems the easiest, most effective and credible action we can take right now is simply to legalize cannabis for medical and recreational uses and watch the numbers fall! Not taking an action that can provide such benefit in fighting this scourge is not only callus and inhuman but also morally indefensible!

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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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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.”

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