Burying our heads in the weeds

LEO Weekly

By Aaron Yarmuth

We have a weed crisis in this country.

Weed needs to be legalized as soon as possible. Nationally, sure. But in Kentucky, a poor state with a pension crisis, there should be no hesitation in mining this (green) gold rush.

For the first time, real data proves that the weed industry is an emerging economic boon, and its social impacts are not what detractors would like you to believe.

A recent Washington Post article — real news — revealed the overwhelmingly positive economic impact the marijuana industry has had in Colorado, where weed was legalized and began selling commercially Jan. 1, 2014. According to the state-commissioned study by the Marijuana Policy Group, the industry generated $2.4 billion in economic activity in 2015, including the creation of 18,000 new, full-time jobs.

To be clear, this does not mean that Coloradans and weed-seeking tourists spent $2.4 billion of their money on weed.

That figure is the amalgamation of sales, increased demand for local goods and services, warehouse and commercial space and farming/growing equipment, as well as professional services, such as lawyers and accountants. In fact, the retail sale of pot in 2015 was reportedly close to $1 billion.

Legalization opponents like to demonize users as degenerate addicts wasting their rent money on marijuana. But the other significant finding was that “the legal marijuana industry is not coming from new, previously untapped demand for cannabis, but rather from a reduction of the unregulated black market.”

This is a tremendously important point because it disproves opponents who argue that America will become one big stoner state if they could get high legally.

Anecdotally, I’ve always known this to be true. I have friends who smoke, or have smoked in the past — or baked a weed treat. They vary in every way possible: age, race, sex, religion and political party affiliation.

My friends who don’t smoke aren’t potheads in waiting, either… It’s not that pot is illegal that deters them from getting high. In fact, they could smoke now if they wanted to — so could I, and so could you.

But I have no interest in smoking weed because I don’t like it. Tried it, didn’t care for it, and decided it’s not for me. But there’s no question I could get it anytime — a phone call away. And that’s the lie about marijuana — people who want it, get it, and people who don’t… don’t.

A Gallup Poll from a few weeks ago showed that 64 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana — a record high (no pun intended). It’s bipartisan, too: 72 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans now favor legalization.

The minority of Americans who remain opposed to this need to understand that this is going on, whether it’s legal or not. The moral objection, as with alcohol and other perceived vices, is perfectly understandable. However, to argue against the medical, economic and social benefits is just plain wrong.

Further, it would be an entirely different debate if the underground weed economy didn’t already exist. As this study showed, in Colorado close to $1 billion has made its way out of the shadows, off the street corners and into the economy. The idea that it can be stopped is plain wrong, and to think otherwise at this point is willful ignorance.

Kentucky needs to unearth an economic gold mine now more than ever. At risk are the promised retirements of hundreds of thousands of teachers and other public employees. Their pensions are in peril. The future of our schools is in jeopardy, because if we can’t fulfill the promise to the last generation of teachers, how will we attract the next generation?

Opponents of weed have a choice: Bring the black-market for marijuana into the system, tax it, regulate it and save teachers’ pensions — resetting the economic trajectory of Kentucky…

Or, bury your head in the weeds.

CONTINUE READING…

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(KY) "Medical marijuana is what’s achievable and it’s what can help the most people the most quickly,"

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — Medicinal marijuana is already legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and a group of Kentuckians is hoping to add the Bluegrass State to the list.

“Medical marijuana is what’s achievable and it’s what can help the most people the most quickly,” Mike Ward said.

Among those advocating for the legalization of medicinal marijuana is former Congressman Mike Ward, now the president and CEO of Legalize Kentucky Now. For him, the fight to give patients alternative treatments is personal, having seen how it helped his younger brother who died of AIDS in the ’90s.

“The staff looked the other way as he smoked marijuana in the bathroom of his hospital room because they knew it helped him have an appetite and keep food down while he was undergoing treatment,” he said.

“When you look at medical marijuana as a way to provide relief to people with serious illnesses and a way to avoid the prescription pain epidemic that’s been sweeping across our country, I think you’re seeing momentum build for it and people become more comfortable with the idea of passing responsible legislation,” State Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D.-District 19, said.

McGarvey is preparing for the upcoming legislative session in Frankfort, which is set to reconvene on Jan. 2. He said he is ready to introduce a piece of legislation legalizing medicinal marijuana – the fourth time he’s brought up this type of legislation.

“I think there are safeguards in place as long as we craft responsible medical marijuana legislation, which fortunately 29 other states have done and we have templates to use now,” he said.

Kentucky Secy. of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, has also joined the conversation, announcing Wednesday the formation of a task force headed by herself and State Rep. John Sims. “2018 is and must be the year when Kentucky finally steps up on medical marijuana. We have to get this done to help Kentuckians who are hurting,” she said in a statement.

While Gov. Matt Bevin, R.-Kentucky, and Senate President Robert Stivers, R.-District 25, have come out against legalizing recreational marijuana, and critics have argued there is not enough known about the lasting, long-term impacts of marijuana, McGarvey and Ward said it is something that the people of Kentucky want.

“Anybody running for office – Republican, Democrat, state representatives, state senators – will find if they ask in their districts that it is wildly popular,” Ward said.

Both Ward and McGarvey also tell WHAS11 they support legalizing recreational marijuana as well as a tool to fix the state’s pension crisis, but with Bevin taking a firm stance against any legislation attempting to do so, they said their priority right now is on legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky must legalize medical marijuana in 2018, secretary of state says

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Thomas Novelly, Louisville Courier Journal

Could legal medical marijuana be on the horizon in Kentucky?

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said Wednesday she wants to legalize medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State by 2018.

A task force, led by Grimes, will also study and propose potential implementation and regulation processes.

In a statement, Grimes said, “2018 is and must be the year when Kentucky finally steps up on medical marijuana. We have to get this done to help Kentuckians who are hurting.”

Judge to medical marijuana users: Talk to lawmakers about legalization, not me

State Rep. John Sims, D- Flemingsburg, will co-chair a task force alongside Grimes the statement said.

“Kentucky is getting left behind on this issue. Already 29 states and the District of Columbia have enacted medical marijuana legislation to help their people,” Sims said in the announcement. “The research is done. The studies have been conducted. It works, and it’s time we end our idling and start having conversations to bring medical marijuana to the Commonwealth.”

Sims said evidence exists showing marijuana combats a large number of side effects for cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Marijuana expert: Matt Bevin exaggerates pot’s effects

Read this: Infamous marijuana grower is no angel, but he’s beloved in central Kentucky

Grimes announcement, however, breaks with Gov. Matt Bevin’s views on marijuana.

Recently, Bevin said he rejected any idea of legalizing marijuana in Kentucky to help the state raise money as it deals with billions of dollars’ in pension debt. He did say he could be open to legalizing medical marijuana if it was properly regulated.

“There is no way, when I am governor, that I will ever legalize recreational marijuana in Kentucky,” Bevin said. “It’s just not going to happen.”

A spokesman from Bevin’s office did not immediately return a request for comment regarding Grimes’ new task force.

Reach Reporter Thomas Novelly at 502-582-4465 or by email at tnovelly@courier-journal.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.

Read this: In some states, pot farmers get a free pass. In Kentucky, Cornbread Mafia leader faces prison

Lawsuit: Trio of Kentuckians challenge the state’s medical marijuana ban in court

CONTINUE READING…

(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…

Dear Governor Bevin,

bird on hemp

Dear Governor Bevin,

I’m Audra Baker. My question is when are you plan on legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal reasons?

I am the mother of 6 year old twins both with special needs. One with severe ADHD and the other non verbal autism.

I have done extensive research and have seen that cannabis oil has been proven to improve the symptoms of both these disorders. My family is considering moving to Colorado to be able to give my kids a better quality of life.

In addition to the health aspect of the legalization it will be an extreme boost to the economy.

My husband and I are both from KY and don’t want to leave but as a parent knowing there is an all natural medical alternative to the harsh drugs given to children I am doing my kids an injustice by staying.

I know we are not alone in the fight for legalization of medical marijuana. There are hundreds of ailments that can be drastically helped by its benefits. Millions of Kentuckians are suffering.
It seems the general assembly has come to an end again without any advancing of any marijuana bill at all to arrive on your desk. We as Kentuckians can’t wait indefinitely on the legislative branch to help our quality of life. Merely discussing this in Frankfort is just not enough. We need action. You have an incredible power like no other governor of KY has before. You have the ability to change and save lives. And change history in our state.

President Trump is a deal maker. So am I. SO is KENTUCKY. Let’s all work together and make this happen. So many other states are taking advantage of the increased tax dollars to improve schools, roads and commerce. JOBS will be created in so many of the poor counties of KY like those affected by factories closing and farming almost becoming obsolete. There are so many positive reasons.
Let’s all work together to make this happen. I don’t want to move to Colorado but it will soon be a necessity.
Thank you for reading this and I hope to hear from you soon.

God bless you and God bless Kentucky

Sincerely, Audra Baker

Send this to your Kentucky Legislators NOW!!!!

 
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Thomas Tony Vance

12 mins ·

Send this to your Kentucky Legislators NOW!!!!

In 1969, the 1937 marijuana tax stamp act was declared unconstitutional.

In 1970 they began creating the 1970 Controlled substances Act and without any scientific input made marijuana schedule one, right up there with heroin. A schedule that cannot be questioned or changed without the approval of the Drug Enforcement Administration. Very few drugs are in this category.

Now we know it was all a political scam to use the drug war to go after and suppress Nixon’s enemies. We know this for sure because the Nixon Administration said so.

The cover story in the April 2016 edition of Harper’s Magazine was, “Legalize it all” written by Dan Baum. Mister Baum was asking Nixon aide John Ehrlichman questions about the politics of drug prohibition and as he tells it, Ehrlichman asked,

“You want to know what this was really all about?” He went on to say, “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did”.

The new AG, Senator Sessions is saying he is going to step up the war on pot users. For what reason?

They claim States Rights when deciding whether or not to protect transgender kids’ right to go to the bathroom of their choice, but not when deciding a State Marijuana policy!

Please ease the fears of the tens of thousands of marijuana users in our State and send a message to the new administration that as a State we will not be bullied by the Feds.

PS: Scientifically, there is a 25% drop in opioid overdose deaths in the first year after passage of a medical marijuana bill that grows to 33% by year 6 after legalization. that means 250 of our citizens will die in the coming year if a bill is not passed this year.

So Git Busy!

You may never know but passage might save the life of one of your family members!

https://www.facebook.com/thomas.t.vance?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf

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