Saturday, June 21, 2014

Attorney says marijuana wrongly classified as dangerous drug, federal prosecution unfair

 

 

By John Agar | jagar@mlive.com
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on June 20, 2014 at 7:53 AM, updated June 20, 2014 at 11:20 AM

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A West Michigan man facing federal marijuana charges has filed a constitutional challenge based, in part, on disparate federal prosecution in different states.

Shawn Taylor, the alleged leader of a marijuana grow operation, also argues that marijuana has medicinal value and should not be classified as a Schedule 1 drug – the designation for the most dangerous drugs.

Taylor is seeking an evidentiary hearing on the issues before U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker in Grand Rapids.

“We’re raising arguments that have really never been raised before in a federal marijuana case,” former Kalamazoo attorney John Targowski, now practicing in Santa Monica, Calif., said on Thursday, June 19, after he filed an 86-page brief on behalf of his client.

“We’re arguing that cannabis is wrongly scheduled – it has medicinal value,” Targowski said.

Related: DEA uses search warrants, wire taps and sources in arrests of 37 in medical marijuana 'ruse'

Related: Michigan's medical marijuana law no defense in multi-county marijuana case, attorney says

Taylor is one of 37 people arrested for alleged roles in grow operations in Kent, Muskegon, Oceana and Ottawa counties and Traverse City.

Targowski said that a U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act should have bearing on marijuana cases.

“Recognizing the historical support for defining marriage as between one man and one woman, the court determined that it was the duty of the judiciary to rectify past misperceptions which result in constitutionally unsound legislation,” Targowski wrote in court documents.

“Like the long held beliefs regarding the marital relationship, the long held beliefs about the effects of marijuana have evolved. While the former evolution has been the result of societal ideologies, the latter is predicated on scientific evidence, and therefore, can be more readily established through an evidentiary hearing.”

Targowski has asked that Jonker consider declarations of three experts, including a former FBI supervisor and a physician, to establish there is no rational basis to treat marijuana as a controlled substance. Medical science has documented that “marijuana has a notably low potential for abuse,” Targowski wrote.

He said the Supreme Court has acknowledged its medical value.

“Compared to other over-the-counter substances, cannabis has the lowest potential for abuse, as it is impossible to die from an overdose: further, no studies have proven that the use of cannabis causes harms similar to those caused by the use of common over-the-counter medications, even at recommended dosages,” he wrote.

“In effect, the facts upon which marijuana was scheduled as one of the most dangerous narcotics in 1970 have been disproven.”

He also said that the government’s policy of not prosecuting those who comply with their state’s medical marijuana laws amounts to unequal prosecution based on where people live.

“The policy statement presented in the memorandum to U.S. Attorneys from Deputy Attorney General James Cole, issued on Aug. 29, 2013, by Attorney General Eric Holder has resulted in a discriminatory application of federal law, in that it protects similarly situated individuals from criminal sanctions for actions identical to that alleged to have been conducted by the defendant, and therefore violates the Equal Protection Clause,” Targowski wrote.

The government contends Taylor ran a large-scale drug operation that sold marijuana in Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. He worked with a doctor for “certification clinics” for alleged patients, police said.

The government said Taylor used the state’s medical marijuana law as a ruse.

The government said that the state’s medical marijuana law is not a defense in federal court, and Taylor’s operation was not in compliance with state law, records showed.

John Agar covers crime for MLive/Grand Rapids Press E-mail John Agar: jagar@mlive.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ReporterJAgar

CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana food safety new frontier for officials

By Kristen Wyatt   | Associated Press   June 21, 2014

DENVER — The marijuana in those pot brownies isn’t the only thing that can potentially make consumers sick. The industry and regulators are taking a closer look at how marijuana-infused edibles are made.

The thriving edible marijuana industry in Colorado is preparing for new testing requirements — due to take in effect in October — to make sure the products are safe to eat and drink.

While consuming too much of an edible has been connected to at least one death and a handful of hospital visits since retail recreational sales of marijuana began in January, officials say there have been no reports of anyone getting a food-borne illness from edibles.

Still, activists, producers, and officials agree that safety testing is long overdue for a sector of the new marijuana market that, according to one industry estimate, has seen the sale of at least 8 million pieces this year.

Food safety testing is necessary ‘‘to building any sort of credibility for the industry . . . to create that public confidence that we’re not just a bunch of stupid kids throwing marijuana into cookies and putting them on the market,’’ said Jazzmine Hall-Oldham, general manager of Bakked, which makes cannabis concentrates and marijuana-infused chocolate bars.

With federal help in regulating production nonexistent because the drug is illegal under federal law, state and local governments have had to assemble a patchwork of health and safety regulations for foods with cannabis.

The agency that regulates Colorado’s marijuana industry, the state Department of Revenue, requires marijuana manufacturing facilities to meet the same sanitation requirements as retail food establishments, including adequate hand-washing and refrigeration.

But the question of whether the state’s 51 licensed recreational edible-marijuana makers meet those standards is left to local health departments, said agency spokeswoman Natriece Bryant. State regulations requiring them also to pass tests for common food contaminants — such as E. coli and salmonella — don’t take effect until the fall.

In Washington state, where retail sales are expected to begin the week of July 7, regulations call for samples of all marijuana sold for consumption to clear a ‘‘microbiological screening,’’ whether it’s in edible, smokeable, or concentrate form.

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Pope Francis Speaks Out Against Legalization of Marijuana and Other Drugs

By Kira Bindrim

Pope Francis April 10

 

Filed Under: World, Pope Francis, Marijuana, Religion

After a several-week absence from the media spotlight, Pope Francis emerged on Friday as a speaker at the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome, where he said he was opposed to the legalization of drugs—including marijuana—for recreational use.

"The scourge of drug use continues to spread inexorably, fed by a deplorable commerce which transcends national and continental borders," Francis told conference participants. "Attempts, however limited, to legalize so-called 'recreational drugs,' are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce desired effects."

While Francis has sometimes surprised constituents with his progressive views—on homosexuality, atheism and capitalism, for example—his stance on marijuana legalization, at least, is at odds with a growing push for it. In December, Uruguay became the first country to legalize the drug (Francis is from nearby Buenos Aires, Argentina). That law included regulation of the cultivation, production, storage, sale and distribution of marijuana, as well as an official registry of users' consumption.

"We will be able to get more information about the consequences of different alternatives," Beau Kilmer, co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Group, told Newsweek at the time.

Earlier this month, Jamaica said it would legalize medical marijuana, and allow possession of up to two ounces of the drug for recreational use. In the United States, two states—Colorado and Washington—have legalized marijuana. Alaska could vote on legalization in November, and Oregon may vote on a similar measure later this year. Twenty-two states have legalized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes—New York is poised to become the 23rd—and 16 have decriminalized it, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). In October 2013, a Gallup poll found that for the first time, a majority of Americans believe the drug should be legalized: 58 percent, compared with just 12 percent in 1969, the first time the question was asked.

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law, but in May the House voted to restrict the DEA from using funds to go after state-legal medical marijuana outfits. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) introduced a similar amendment in the Senate this week.

Pope Francis has spoken out against drug legalization in the past, and has visited with addicts both as Pope and when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires. "A reduction in the spread and influence of drug addiction will not be achieved by a liberalization of drug use," he said during a speech at a hospital in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last year. "Rather, it is necessary to confront the problems underlying the use of these drugs, by promoting greater justice, educating young people in the values that build up life in society, accompanying those in difficulty and giving them hope for the future."

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

30 Members Of Congress Demand Increased Access To Marijuana For Research Purposes

 Matt Ferner

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 Matt.Ferner@huffingtonpost.com

 

MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Thirty members of Congress, led by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), H. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on Tuesday demanding an end to the federal monopoly on marijuana research so that more studies can be done by scientists around the nation.

"We write to express our support for increasing scientific research on the therapeutic risks and benefits of marijuana," the letter reads. "We ask that you take measures to ensure that any non-National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded researcher who has acquired necessary Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Institutional Review Board (IRB), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and appropriate state and local authority approval be able to access marijuana for research at-cost without further review." (Read the full text of the letter below.)

The letter comes about two weeks after the House voted to block the Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to go after medical marijuana operations that are legal under state laws, a measure that Rohrabacher sponsored.

And just last week, a scathing joint report from the Drug Policy Alliance and and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies blasted the DEA, arguing that the agency has repeatedly failed to act in a timely fashion when faced with petitions to reschedule marijuana.

The drug is currently illegal under federal law, and remains classified as a Schedule I substance, a designation the DEA reserves for the "most dangerous" drugs with "no currently accepted medical use." Schedule I drugs, which include substances like heroin and LSD, cannot receive federal funding for research. On three separate occasions -- in 1973, 1995 and 2002 -- the DEA took years to make a final decision about a rescheduling petition, and in two of those cases the DEA was sued multiple times to force a decision.

Last week's report criticized the DEA for overruling its own officials charged with determining how illicit substances should be scheduled. It also accused the agency of creating a "regulatory Catch-22" by arguing there is not enough scientific evidence to support rescheduling marijuana -- while simultaneously impeding the research that would produce such evidence.

"Two weeks ago, we took a very important vote in the House to stop the DEA from interfering in states' medical marijuana programs," Blumenauer said in a statement Tuesday. "Now we need the Administration to stop targeting marijuana above and beyond other drugs when it comes to research. By increasing access for scientists who are conducting studies, we end the Catch-22 of opponents claiming they can't support medical marijuana because there's not enough research, but blocking research because they don't support medical marijuana."

The U.S. government grows marijuana for research purposes at the University of Mississippi in the only federally legal marijuana garden in the U.S. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) oversees the cultivation, production and distribution of these crops -- a process through which the only federally-sanctioned marijuana studies are approved.

Federal authorities have long been accused of only funding marijuana research that focuses on the potential negative effects of the drug. Since 2003, more than 500 grants for marijuana-related studies have received federal approval, with a marked upswing in recent years, according to McClatchy. Only 22 grants were approved in 2003 for cannabis research, totaling $6 million, but in 2012, 69 grants were approved for a total of over $30 million.

Despite these numbers, NIDA has reportedly conducted only about 30 studies to date on the potential benefits of marijuana, according to The Hill.

Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use. Eight other states -- Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin -- have legalized CBD oil, a non-psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that is frequently used to treat epilepsy, for limited medical use or for research purposes.

A number of studies in recent years have shown the medical potential of cannabis. Purified forms may attack some forms of aggressive cancer. Marijuana use has also been tied to better blood sugar control and may help slow the spread of HIV. One study found that legalization of the plant for medical purposes may even lead to lower suicide rates.

Read the full letter below:

CONTINUE READING….

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Beginner's Guide to Hemp Oil, the Cannabis Product That's Legal Right Now

 

 

By Hannah Sentenac Thu., May 29 2014 at 7:00 AM

With medical marijuana on everyone's lips (in more ways than one), people are buzzing about weed, hemp, cannabis, THC, CBD, and all kinds of other related terms that you might or might not understand. It's OK -- this is confusing stuff.

Leave it to Cultist to offer a little clarity about one such topic you're probably hearing a lot about: hemp oil. From "cannamoms" to Whole Foods salespeople, lots of folks are touting the benefits of this product. But what is it, exactly, and what does it do?

See also: How to Become a Medical Marijuana Millionaire in Ten Easy Steps

So what is this stuff?
Let's start with what hemp oil is not. It is not marijuana. It does not get people high. Both originate from the same plant, but marijuana is cultivated for the buds (which have to be carefully raised for that specific purpose). They're also grown differently.

The oil has only trace amounts of THC, the psychotropic component in weed. Instead, it has higher concentrations of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is the medicinal boon people are all atwitter over.

"You'll see two kinds -- hemp oil drawn from the plant and hemp oil drawn from the seeds. Ours is drawn from the mature stalks of the hemp plant," says Andrew Hard, director of public relations for HempMeds, a California company whose hemp oil products are sold all over the world. The stalk and seeds don't fall under the definition of what the U.S. government dubs marijuana, he says; that's why the products are legal in all 50 states.

Aw, man. So it won't get me stoned?
Sorry, man. Let's put it this way: The medical marijuana bill that recently passed the Florida House would allow patients with cancer and conditions that result in chronic seizures or severe muscle spasms to use marijuana pills, oils, or vapors that contain 0.8 percent THC or lower and 10 percent CBD or higher. Right now, those things are illegal.

HempMeds' Real Scientific Hemp Oil (RSHO), as a comparison, has 15.5 to 25 percent CBD by volume but only trace amounts of THC.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Judge Henry Latham's ruling was filed. "I'm not allowed to give proof why I was using. Now, there is no fair trial."

           

Since his arrest last summer, Benton Mackenzie has maintained he grew marijuana to treat terminal cancer.

Now, just days ahead of going to trial Monday on drug conspiracy charges, a Scott County District judge has ruled he won't allow Mackenzie to use his ailment as a defense.

"I'm not allowed to mention anything," Mackenzie said Thursday, the day Judge Henry Latham's ruling was filed. "I'm not allowed to give proof why I was using. Now, there is no fair trial."

The 48-year-old, who shared his story with the Quad-City Times last September, was diagnosed with angiosarcoma in 2011. It's a cancer of the blood vessels, in which tumors appear as skin lesions.

He says the lesions have grown enormous since sheriff's deputies confiscated 71 marijuana plants from his parents' Long Grove home last summer. He needed all those plants just to be able to extract enough cannabis oil for daily treatments, he says.

Mackenzie wants to be able to tell jurors why he grew marijuana. He wants to show them pictures of his cancerous lesions.

"If I'm to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and the court doesn't let me tell the truth, they're making me a liar," he said.

Assistant Scott County Attorney Patrick McElyea, who is prosecuting Mackenzie, filed a motion earlier this month to limit any testimony regarding medical marijuana. He has declined to comment on the case.

McElyea based his motion on the 2005 Iowa Supreme Court decision in State v. Bonjour, a case similar to Mackenzie's. Lloyd Bonjour, an AIDS patient, was convicted of growing marijuana, and the Supreme Court upheld the conviction.

Latham sided with McElyea's motion, stating, "The court is not aware of any legislation or been provided with any legislation which provides for such defense."

The judge states he is aware Mackenzie has angiosarcoma. He also is aware Iowa lawmakers recently legalized oil concentrated with cannabidiol, or CBD, with "specific restrictions."

The pending law, expected to be signed today by Gov. Terry Branstad, only applies to those suffering severe epileptic seizures.

Mackenzie says he thinks state government is the "bigger criminal," because it's practicing medicine without a license in deciding who can and who cannot possess medical marijuana.

"At least the state is now recognizing, with a law, that marijuana has medicinal value," he said, adding his plants were from a strain rich in CBD, which in other states is associated more with medical use than recreational use.

Without the medical necessity defense, Mackenzie said his fate is "completely in the Lord's hands."

Sitting through several hours of hearings over the past 11 months has been hard enough on someone with lesions covering his legs and rear, he says. He can't imagine sitting through an entire trial, which is scheduled to begin Monday with jury selection.

He says he may show up to court wearing a kilt, so jurors can see for themselves. But he wouldn't want his lesions oozing and bleeding all over the courtroom furniture.

"That shows how much of a criminal I'm not," he said.

At one point during a phone conversation with a reporter Thursday afternoon, he reacted because one of his larger lesions opened up and bled onto the chair and floor at home, he said.

"I'm sitting in a pile of blood," he said a moment later.

He wants to request a nurse or a medical provider be allowed to sit in the courtroom with him. He says the judge is allowing breaks, but he expects he'll have to take a break every few minutes just to replace the large, disposable underpad for furniture.

He anticipates that with his failing health and the number of co-defendants, the trial will come across as a "circus."

Mackenzie is charged with felony drug possession along with his wife, Loretta Mackenzie. His 73-year-old parents, Dorothy and Charles Mackenzie, are charged with hosting a drug house, and his son, Cody, is charged with misdemeanor possession. His childhood friend, Stephen Bloomer, also is charged in the drug conspiracy.

All six defendants are being represented by a different attorney.

Lately, Mackenzie's health has been "touch and go," he says, with episodes of vomiting, cold sweats and extreme pain. He almost always feels tired.

He raised enough money from family and friends to travel twice this spring to Oregon, which has legalized medical marijuana.

Each trip was a week long. During the first trip, he met with a physician, who approved him for a state medical marijuana identification card. On the second trip, he was able to purchase oil in an amount equivalent to a pound and a half of marijuana, which he couldn't by law bring back to Iowa.

The little bit of relief is nothing compared to the daily treatments prior to his arrest, when he was shrinking his skin lesions, he said. He claims the oil in Oregon also stopped the growth of the lesions, but only temporarily.

Mackenzie said he hopes jurors will show compassion in deciding his future.

"No matter what, if I'm found guilty, I'll do at least three years in prison, which is a death sentence for me," he said. "If I'm found guilty at all, I'm a dead man. I'm lucky I'm not dead already."

Copyright 2014 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tags

Benton Mackenzie, Iowa, Henry Latham, Medical Cannabis, Cannabidiol, Cannabis, Iowa Supreme Court, Mackenzie, Patrick Mcelyea, Cannabis Oil, Lloyd Bonjour, Legalized Oil, Cancer, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana

CONTINUE READING…

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Big Tobacco Planned Big Marijuana Sales in the 1970s

 

Rich001

June 3, 2014

Documents buried deep in tobacco company archives reveal a hope and a plan to sell marijuana as soon as legally possible

Tobacco executives anticipated the legalization of marijuana as early as the 1970′s — and they wanted a piece of the action, according to newly discovered documents from tobacco company archives.

Public health researchers scanned 80 million pages of digitized company documents for keywords such as, “marijuana,” “cannabis,” “reefer,” “weed,” “spliffs,” and “blunts.” The results, published Tuesday in the Milbank Quarterly, reveal a long history of maneuvers toward marijuana-laced products.

“The starting point must be to learn how to produce in quantity cigarettes loaded uniformly with a known amount of either ground cannabis or dried and cut cannabis rag,” read one memorandum from British American Tobacco’s adviser on technical research, Charles Ellis.

A hand-written letter from Philip Morris president George Weissman read, “While I am opposed to its use, I recognize that it may be legalized in the near future…Thus, with these great auspices, we should be in a position to examine: 1. A potential competition, 2. A possible product, 3. At this time, cooperate with the government.”

Philip Morris even went so far as to request a marijuana sample from the Department of Justice for research purposes, promising to share its findings with the government so long as the company’s involvement remained strictly confidential. “We request that there be no publicity whatsoever,” wrote a Philip Morris executive. The Justice Department drug science’s chief Milton Joffee obliged with a promise to deliver “good quality” marijuana.

While tobacco executives missed the mark on legalization by several decades, they did lay out a persuasive case for vigilance. In early 1970, an unsigned memorandum distributed to Philip Morris’ top management read, “We are in the business of relaxing people who are tense and providing a pick up for people who are bored or depressed. The human needs that our product fills will not go away. Thus, the only real threat to our business is that society will find other means of satisfying these needs.”

The study authors said the documents provide proof of tobacco companies’ intent to enter the marijuana trade, despite their claims to the contrary. They urged policymakers to prevent tobacco makers from entering the nascent market for legal marijuana “in a way that would replicate the smoking epidemic, which kills 480,000 Americans each year.”

CONTINUE READING…

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Kentucky: CBD-Only Marijuana Oil Bill Won't Help Patients For Years, If Ever

Submitted by steveelliott on Thu, 05/15/2014 - 17:53

CBDCannabidiol

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In the past few months, a wave of "CBD-only" marijuana oil bills has passed, particularly in more conservative states where an actual medical marijuana bill might have found it difficult going. But unfortunately, many of these hastily passed pieces of legislation were so poorly crafted as to help no patients at all for months, years, or maybe ever, and Kentucky's new law is one of those.

Rita Wooton of Louisville's story of her son Eli, who has frequent seizures, and the promise of CBD (cannabidiol) oil to treat it, helped convince the Kentucky General Assembly to pass the bill, reports Gregory A. Hall of the Louisville Courier-Journal. But now doctors and researchers are telling Wooton and other parents that it could take years to even begin trials treating children such as Eli with the oil.

"We're really, really heartbroken," Wooton said. "It's just really sad that everyone put that much time and effort and energy into it and now it's going absolutely nowhere."

"For people like us and Eli, who have intractable epilepsy, seizures that are nearly impossible to even control or get a handle on, our hope is gone," Wooton said.

Some of the many issues surrounding implementation of the bill include the availability of CBD oil, the possible need for FDA approval, and the expense of studies, which preliminary estimates indicate could be $10,000 per patient.

But some doctors hoping to conduct the trials are still hopeful.

"I am extremely excited about it," said pediatric epilepsy specialist Dr. Karen Skjei of the University of Louisville, citing anecdotal reports of the oil reducing seizures when traditional pharmaceuticals can't.

According to supporters, the oil can provide relief to children who have severe epilepsy. It contains low levels of THC, the main psychoactive component of cannabis. CBD isn't psychoactive and therefore doesn't get the kids high.

Senate Bill 124, sponsored by Sen. Julie Denton (R-Louisville), allows "trials" of the CBD oil at the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky's medical schools or through FDA trials. But passing the bill is "just the initial part of the puzzle," according to Dr. Christopher Shafer, who specializes in adult epilepsy at the University of Louisville.

"Dr. Skjei and I want this for our patients, probably, almost as badly as the patients want it themselves," Dr. Shafer said. "And it's really discouraging for us to not be able to tell them that we have it available. It's going to take some time."

"While there is certainly an interest in this initiative, there are significant issues that remain to be addressed," said spokesman Jay Blanton of the University of Kentucky. "Additional research, the securing of funding and support, as well as support from the appropriate regulatory body, all would be required before a trial could be conducted.

"That process could likely take months, if not years," Blanton said.

Currently, the oil isn't being legally manufactured in Kentucky, and shipping it across state lines violates federal law. Discussions are ongoing with one "West Coast businessman" about setting up a Kentucky dispensary, Skjei said.

"As of right now, there's really nowhere to get it," she said.

"I feel their desperation," Shafer said of the patients, adding he wishes he could start prescribing it tomorrow. "Everybody who asks me about it, I'm keeping a list and I have a long list already."

"I still have patients that are talking about moving to Colorado, because they understand it's going to be awhile before this is up and running," Skjei said.

What's Up With CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD as it's more popularly known, is the new darling of lawmakers in conservative states who sense the rising tide of popular support for medical marijuana -- and would love to appear to be "doing something" -- but lack the political courage or will to advocate for an actual medical marijuana law.

CBD is politically safe because, as a non-psychoactive component of cannabis, it doesn't get anyone high, and better yet, it helps to quell seizures of the kind often found in pediatric epilepsy. So the combination of "helping kids" and "it doesn't get you high" has proven an "in" for medical marijuana in what would otherwise have been quite forbidding places, such as the halls of power in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and now Kentucky.

The disquieting fact about these no-political-risk types of laws (Alabama's passed unanimously in both chambers, amidst much self-congratulation) is that (a) they are written so narrowly as to help only a handful of children, or perhaps none at all, according to some critics; and (b) all of the dozens of cannabinoids found in marijuana work most effective in a synergistic fashion, potentiating each others' medical benefits in what Dr. Sanjay Gupta has called the "Entourage Effect."

Additional important information of which the legislators seem to be unaware is that, as first reported on Toke Signals, it doesn't even have to be a high-CBD strain to treat pediatric seizures without getting kids high. THC which hasn’t been decarboxylated -- that is, THC acid (THCA) which hasn't been exposed to heat -- is also effective against seizures, and it isn't psychoactive, either.

That's important information for struggling parents who may not be able to afford the sky-high prices of CBD oil which are unfortunately occurring due to the media frenzy over cannabidiol; THC-rich strains of marijuana are much more affordable.

- See more at: http://hemp.org/news/content/kentucky-cbd-only-marijuana-oil-bill-wont-help-patients-years-if-ever#sthash.ihqsdrBt.dpuf

Thursday, May 1, 2014

PRESS RELEASE: GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH of KENTUCKY has added BOWLING GREEN to the VENUE!

May 1, 2014 –

As of this morning BOWLING GREEN KENTUCKY will be hosting a “GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH”

ON SUNDAY MAY 4TH!!!

PER “BOBBIE SEXTON”  AT PERMITS OFFICE IN BOWLING GREEN, KY A PERMIT IS NOT NEEDED HERE TO HAVE THIS MARCH.

 

SO EVERYONE WHO IS IN BOWLING GREEN CAN COME TO LOUISVILLE ON SATURDAY AND THEN

GET TWICE THE FUN WHEN THEY GO TO THEIR OWN BOWLING GREEN MARCH ON SUNDAY!

COME OUT AND ENJOY YOUR RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH!

THE ROUTE IS AS FOLLOWS:

*BEGINNING AT LIBRARY ON STATE STREET

*CONTINUE TO OLD COURTHOUSE

*CONTINUE TO THE NEW JUSTICE CENTER

*CONTINUE TO FEDERAL COURTHOUSE

*CONTINUE BACK AROUND FOUNTAIN SQUARE TO LIBRARY.

MEETUP AT 10:00 AM CST IN FRONT OF LIBRARY ON STATE STREET FOR MARCH TO BEGIN PROMPTLY AT 11:00 AM!!!!

*NO ILLEGAL ACTIVIES ALLOWED

*EVERYONE MUSH STAY WITHIN SIDEWALKS AND HONOR TRAFFIC SIGNALS.

THE WEATHER PROMISES A GOOD DAY SO COME ON OUT AND ENJOY!

HOSTED BY:

81714601-2c13-4e1d-aa5b-079ad3bcc630     DIVERSE SANCTUARY

SPONSORED BY:

ModernFarmConcepts

**FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THIS EVENT CONTACT REV. MARY SPEARS OF DIVERSE SANCTUARY AT 270-904-0279

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH, ON DERBY DAY, MAY 3RD, IN LOUISVILLE, KY!

*GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH LOUISVILLE KENTUCKY ON MAY 3

Presented by Kentucky Marijuana Party and DIVERSE SANCTUARY

Louisville, Kentucky, April 30, 2014–

The Global Marijuana March is coming to Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday May 3rd, 2014 which coincides with Kentucky Derby Day!

This will be the FIRST GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH that LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY has participated in.

Per Wikipedia:

Hundreds of thousands of people have participated in over 829 different cities in 72 countries worldwide since 1999

The following route will be adhered to as submitted to the Louisville Permit Office:

*Note: We will meet in front of Mid City Mall on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky at 10:30am sharp for the walk to begin at 11:00.  The permit ends at 12:30pm.  However, there are many restaurants, shops, and other places to visit in the Highlands neighborhood of Louisville!  So spend the day and enjoy!

Start at Mid City Mall at 1250 Bardstown Rd. Head northwest on Bardstown Rd toward Beechwood Ave
0.5 mi

Continue onto Baxter Ave
0.3 mi
(Corner of Baxter and Broadway)

Head northwest on Baxter Ave toward Cherokee Rd
220 ft.

Sharp right onto Cherokee Rd
0.9 mi.

Turn right onto Longest Ave
492 ft.

Turn right onto Bardstown Rd
To 1250 Bardstown Rd.
400 ft.

TOTAL 1.8 MILES

WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR PARKING.

ALL LOCAL LAWS MUST BE ADHERED TO WHILE PARTICIPATING!

PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

THIS EVENT IS INTENDED TO RAISE AWARENESS CONCERNING CANNABIS/HEMP/”MARIJUANA”, IT’S VALUE TO OUR SOCIETY AND REASONS TO “REPEAL” THE EXISTING CANNABIS LAWS VERSUS THE “LEGALIZATION” OF THE PLANT!

PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR RIGHT TO GROW NON-GMO, NON-REGULATED CANNABIS!

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Sheree M Krider at U.S. Marijuana Party of KENTUCKY (ph: 270-612-0524) or email at shereekrider@usmjparty.com.

*Diverse Sanctuary, Mary Thomas-Spears, Bowling Green, Kentucky, (ph: 270-904-0279)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Potential for heart attack, stroke risk seen with marijuana use

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By Melissa Healy

April 23, 2014, 4:35 p.m.

Over a five-year period, a government-mandated tracking system in France showed that physicians in that country treated 1,979 patients for serious health problems associated with the use of marijuana, and nearly 2% of those encounters were with patients suffering from cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia and stroke, and circulation problems in the arms and legs. In roughly a quarter of those cases, the study found, the patient died.

In the United States, when young and otherwise healthy patients show up in emergency departments with symptoms of heart attack, stroke, cardiomyopathy and cardiac arrhythmia, physicians have frequently noted in case reports that these unusual patients are regular marijuana users.

Such reporting is hardly the basis for declaring marijuana use an outright cause of cardiovascular disease. But on Wednesday, cardiologists writing in the Journal of the American Heart Assn. warned that "clinical evidence ... suggests the potential for serious cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use." And with a growing movement to decriminalize marijuana use, they called for data-collection efforts capable of detecting and measuring marijuana's cardiovascular impact among American users of cannibis setiva.

"There is now compelling evidence on the growing risk of marijuana-associated adverse cardiovascular effects, especially in young people," said Emilie Jouanjus, lead author of the French study, which was also published in the Journal of the American Heart Assn. That evidence, Jouanjus added, should prompt cardiologists to consider marijuana use a potential cause of cardiovascular disease in patients they see.

In an editorial published Wednesday in the AHA journal, Drs. Sherief Rezkalla and Robert A. Kloner asked, "Do we really know enough about the cardiovascular effects of marijuana to feel comfortable about its use in patients with known cardiovascular disease or patients with cardiovascular risk factors," including obesity, sedentary behavior, high blood pressure and worrisome cholesterol numbers. 

Rezkalla and Kloner combed the recent medical literature for animal experiments, observational studies and case reports linking marijuana use in close temporal proximity with cardiovascular events. They cited evidence that marijuana use probably increases clotting factors in the blood and that heavy marijuana use may lead to significant changes in the tiny vessels carrying blood to the heart and brain, such that even after clearance of a major blockage, blood flow remains impeded.

Aside from heart attacks and strokes, case studies linked recent marijuana use in patients seeking care for increased angina, ischemic ulcers and gangrene associated with blocked blood flow to extremities and transcient ischemic attacks, sometimes called "mini-strokes." Notably these complaints often came from patients who were young and had no previous evidence of cardiovascular disease.

"We think the time has come to stop and think about what is the best way to protect our communities from the potential danger of widespread marijuana use in the absence of safety studies," added Rezkalla, a cardiologist at the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin, and Kloner, a cardiologist at USC's Keck School of Medicine. "It is the responsibility of the medical community to determine the safety of the drug before it is widely legalized for recreational use."

CONTINUE READING…

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ShereeKrider Networked Blogs

Blog:
Kentucky Medical Marijuana Society
Topics:
      Medical Marijuana,       Hemp,       Kentucky 
 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

PLEASE READ THIS…IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!

My name is Karen Ross-Glaser. I am a disabled 43 year-old single mother, who is trying to provide a better life for my family, away from the abuse we suffered in Michigan. We recently relocated to Arizona 3 years ago, due to a domestic violence situation. The children and I all suffer from PTSD, while the younger children have additional health issues. I am working with many agencies including counseling services to help the family heal.

                Recently, I was arrested and mistaken for someone else due to an Identity Theft issue. (http://www.kvoa.com/news/identity-theft-plagues-southern-arizona-residents/). Fifteen of my Civil rights were violated, including my disability act rights. Upon returning home a CPS investigator told myself and witnesses (CarrieAnn Mick and Charlie Warren) that they had taken my children into custody and I needed to sign a form giving CPS temporary three day custody of Elizabeth (16) and David (15). In shock and breaking down, my friend CarrieAnn holding me from collapsing.  I could barely see through my tears and I signed the paper without reading it.

                Later I realized that the form I previously signed was giving custody to CPS and that they are charging me with neglect and failure to protect; due to being incarcerated overnight, and the children being left unattended. Once CPS learned they were in the wrong and that the children did have supervision, even though they are old enough to be on their own. CPS then charged me with Substance abuse of marijuana (I am a legal Medical Marijuana card holder). CPS then ordered my oldest son and wife to not allow me contact with my newborn grandson.

                The children have been in custody since January 28th. Our counseling has been stopped and they haven’t arranged any visits for us. The courts ordered our counseling to continue and weekly visits to be given, yet CPS hasn’t complied. Since the children were placed in foster care they have been missing twice, skipped school a few times, been in a fight which resulted in a suspension from school and CPS has even allowed my son David who has a closed head injury to join a boxing group. Since the children have been gone, my disability has been cut and assessed child support. I am now at risk of losing our home. I am doing everything I can to raise the funds to hire the attorneys needed to handle this case. I have had to take in renters to help cover expenses and stay afloat. Yet, I am still struggling and haven’t been able to retain an attorney. While time is running out!

                I am being wrongfully accused and have the documentation to prove my innocents. I am fighting for my family, to clear my name, get my children back and save our home. I am desperate and pleading for any and all help that the public can give us!

*PLEASE HELP ME SAVE MY FAMILY*

The problem with this situation trying to find legal help is that it is so widespread and complicated. I’ve been told I need a team of different types of lawyers to handle everything involved;

-Family Law Attorney/Dependency Attorney

-Criminal Lawyer/Identity Theft/MMJ Attorney

-Bankruptcy/Tax

-Personal Injury Attorney

-Civil Rights Attorney

-Civil Attorney

-ADA Attorney

- See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/please-help-to-save-my-family/161606#sthash.L1tvj4hc.dpuf

 

 

 

Holler out to FRIENDS and FAMILY~ EVERYONE;
For ALL of you that didn't know... I am going on trial in less than 2 weeks. On May 1st, I face the judge on the charges against me. I pray that justice will prevail. I have done everything I could think of within my power, to bring the truth to light. I still don't have the means to afford the attorneys needed to clear my name and bring my kids home.
I am letting you all know because I refuse to let this be. I am INNOCENT!
I may be gone soon and these post, over the next week may be my only voice left. PLEASE let my story be known.
*Take a moment to check this out; if you can... Everything helps
ATTORNEY's ARE NEEDED!
Click on the Help and donation sites for case information and updates that includes photo evidence.
http://fnd.us/c/ejlN4/sh/5eoIf
NBC kvoa link to story of my Identity theft and the Severity of it.
http://www.kvoa.com/news/identity-theft-plagues-southern-arizona-residents/
This is NOT A SCAM! I am desperate...
PLEASE Help save my children & clear name.
http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/please-help-to-save-my-family/161606
Thanks and Love, Karen Ross-Glaser Photography
http://www.gofundme.com/7zvo4o

PLEASE Help Karen save her children & clear name!

Kids taken CPS custody, Identity stolen & accused of being a substance abuser of Medical marijuana while being a legal card holder in AZ. Anything you can do is greatly appreciated. PLEASE share to everyone you know.Thanks in advance. My name is Karen ...

fundrazr.com

Friday, March 28, 2014

Attorney General Conway Calls on Sec. Sebelius to Overturn Zohydro Approval

 

 

 

Press Release Date:
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Contact Information:
Allison Gardner Martin
Communications Director
502-696-5651 (office)

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway joined five other state attorneys general today in calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to overturn the recent approval of Zohydro ER.

“We do not want to see the great strides we have made in Kentucky combating prescription drug abuse reversed,” General Conway said. “For decades, we have fought the disastrous effects of the illegal marketing of the drug OxyContin. Zohydro ER has the potential to exacerbate the prescription pill epidemic, and the FDA’s decision to approve the drug doesn’t make sense.”

A pure hydrocodone pill, Zohydro is five to 10 times more potent than currently available products like Vicodin or Lortab and is set to hit the market this month. The painkiller’s high potential for abuse is what prompted attorneys general from Kentucky, Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Georgia and Maine to send a letter to Sec. Kathleen Sebelius asking her to reverse the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Zohydro. A copy of the letter may be viewed at http://goo.gl/UeYsNU.

In October, the FDA approved Zohydro ER against the recommendation of its advisory panel, which voted 11-2 in opposition because of the drug’s high potential for misuse and its lack of an abuse-deterrent formulation. Additionally, one day before approving Zohydro ER, the FDA recommended reclassifying all hydrocodone products to Schedule II controlled substances because of the abuse potential. Zohydro ER is the first hydrocodone-only opioid narcotic, which is more potent than traditional hydrocodone products that are usually manufactured in a formulation with other non-narcotic analgesics.

“Prescription pill abuse has devastated families across Kentucky,” General Conway said. “The approval of this very potent drug is troubling because, unlike extended-release opioids containing abuse-deterrent properties, there is nothing that would prevent someone from easily crushing or injecting Zohydro ER to get high. The decision is especially concerning given that the FDA’s own advisory panel voted against the drug’s approval.”

In a letter to the commissioner of the FDA last December, General Conway and a bipartisan coalition of 28 other attorneys general asked the FDA to reconsider its approval of Zohydro ER. It also requested that the drug be manufactured with an abuse-proof formula.

General Conway and Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi co-chair the National Association of Attorneys General Substance Abuse Committee.

Prescription Drug Diversion Efforts

Attorney General Conway launched Kentucky’s first and only statewide Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force in August of 2009. The task force has been involved in more than 450 prescription drug diversion investigations, including Operation Flamingo Road, the state’s largest prescription drug bust that resulted in the arrest of more than 500 people.

General Conway also worked closely with Governor Beshear, House Speaker Stumbo, Senate President Stivers and other lawmakers to win passage of landmark legislation in 2012 to prevent the abuse and diversion of prescription pills in the Commonwealth. Since passage of HB 1, overdose deaths in Kentucky declined for the first time in a decade and more than half of the state’s pain management clinics have closed their doors.

In January 2014, General Conway announced that more than $32 million recovered in settlements with two pharmaceutical companies is being used throughout Kentucky to expand substance abuse treatment, including opiate addictions. The settlement funds will create a new treatment center for adults, treatment scholarships, a grant program for new juvenile treatment beds and/or centers, and expanded services for juveniles.

In addition to the work being done here in the Commonwealth, Attorney General Conway reached across party lines to work with Attorney General Pam Bondi in Florida to ensure that her state implemented an electronic prescription drug monitoring system similar to Kentucky’s KASPER system. Together they have worked to shut down the pill pipeline between Florida and Kentucky and to see that all 50 states have prescription drug monitoring programs in place and that all of the programs can share data across state lines.

Keep Kentucky Kids Safe

In 2010, General Conway launched the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe initiative with the Kentucky Justice Cabinet and its Office of Drug Control Policy, Kentucky Pharmacists Association, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Operation UNITE and concerned parents. Since its launch, Attorney General Conway and his partners have warned approximately 40,000 students, parents and teachers about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

A recent survey has found that the percentage of Kentucky teens misusing prescription drugs has dropped dramatically over the past four years. According to the 2012 Kentucky Incentives for Prevention School Survey, the use of prescription drugs among students without a doctor’s order has decreased steadily among sixth-, eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders since 2004. The declines have been the most significant since 2008, when the Office of the Attorney General, along with state lawmakers and other agencies across the Commonwealth, began intensifying efforts to fight prescription drug abuse.

As part of the Keep Kentucky Kids Safe program, students are encouraged to participate in an annual statewide video PSA contest created to raise awareness about the risks of prescription drug abuse.

You can follow Attorney General Conway on Twitter @kyoag, visit the Attorney General’s Facebook page or view videos on our YouTube channel.

CONTINUE READING…

Monday, March 24, 2014

Let Us End This Huge Mistake

MSgt Thomas Vance USAF Ret. Published: March 24, 2014 11:02AM

 

http://s3.amazonaws.com/newscloud-production/state-journal/2014/03/533048e9170cf3e5980000a4/photos/Tony_Vance_gets_Willie___TeaPot%27s_Veteran_Endorsement/original.jpg?1395673316

 

~~Doctor Michael Privitera, in his op-ed piece in the Kentucky Enquirer titled, ‘Research medical marijuana for epilepsy’, dated 23 March 2014, repeats the myth of marijuana being linked to adverse mental health outcomes with his comment, "Research in recreational marijuana users indicates a risk for learning and behavior".  It is the marijuana and psychosis myth that is loudly touted by the prohibitionists whenever medical or recreational legalization comes up! There is NO link proven between psychosis and marijuana use. This comes from a 2007 Lancet article which reviewed several improperly done studies. The Lancet article is here-
http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(07)61162-3/abstract
They are debunked in this article---http://www.alternet.org/story/59500/smoking_pot_won't_make_you_crazy,_but_dealing_with_the_lies_about_it_will
This particular Lancet article was used by Peter Gordon while running for Prime Minister of England. He called for increased penalties for marijuana users as a means to get votes.  It backfired on him and his top medical official quit over it. The myth of marijuana and mental illness started as ‘marijuana causes schizophrenia’ and is now down to, ‘marijuana causes learning and behavior problems in teens’, something that has never been proven. One thing one has to take note of is that all these supposed studies all say, could or might, could indicate, Etc. None say it does. It's another prohibition myth that refuses to die!
The real question one must ask is what about all the other illnesses that children suffer from that can be helped by the medical use of marijuana?   What about their suffering and the suffering of thousands of our citizens that can be helped?  Do they not deserve the same consideration as epileptic children?
In reality much research has already been done on marijuana around the world and some of the discoveries are quite astounding.   Research at Complutense University in Spain has shown that when the cannabinoid THC is introduced to several different cancer cell lines in the test tube, in vitro, the cancer cells die.  This is one of the studies driving current research on marijuana’s effects on cancer.  An article about this can be accessed here-
http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/02/18/molecular-biologist-explains-how-thc-completely-kills-cancer-cells/
Marijuana prohibition has been a huge mistake and I would estimate that thousands of Americans have suffered and died unnecessarily because of it.  Let us put this colossal mistake to bed.  Let us end marijuana prohibition in America.

CONTINUE READING…

Thursday, March 20, 2014

GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH 2014

GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH 2014

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LINKS TO GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH SITES:

Global Marijuana March and 4/20 signup

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Global Marijuana March App

PLEASE HELP RONNIE SMITH’S FAMILY!

Brian McCullough via Renee Gibson

Ronnie's sister here. He sent me a message today and I spoke with him a bit ago. It seems that the Dr's. are giving him 2 weeks to live. He said he will be going home with hospice in a couple days. He is still hoping that the oil will help but is sad also. I have created a gofundme page to help me and his son get from KY to CO to be with him. If anyone can help us out it would be much appreciated.

HERE IS THE LINK TO DONATE!
http://www.gofundme.com/7orqn4

HIS FACEBOOK PAGE IS HERE.  PLEASE SEND LOVE AND PRAYERS!

Brian McCullough For the love of God..., please share this far and wide.On group pages and such...

I have to get off line and wont be back till Monday. I want his friends and ours to send healing energy to my buddy.

I can only hope you all will get this message before it's too late.

Peace out, Brian

Thursday, March 13, 2014

There’s something about me…

sassy
 
Sheree Krider

I do not want to be a politician, nor a lawyer. However, at this point I do wish I had a Law degree!

But I do not want to be put into a position where I can no longer say what I feel is right, but must succumb to the "for the greater good of the people" clause which they use in order to be able to lie to us with a straight face.

I originally came to the USMJParty in 2005 as the Kentucky Chair and Website Administrator. In 2010 I accepted VP of USMJParty although an official Charter was never set up.

In 2011 I appointed William A. Chengelis to Head Chair and Colorado and I resigned the VP position but continued on as Kentucky Chair and help keep up the websites for Kentucky and USMJParty.

Richard Rawlings who was the former Head Chair/President had resigned due to illness, but was still the owner of all of the Websites for the "Party".

Upon his death in February of 2013 I was left with the websites and decided to act as the "Organizer" and Kentucky Chair until such time as the USMJParty sets up an Official Charter and can elect a permanent Head Chairperson.

As Organizer of the U.S. Marijuana Party I can focus on leading the masses thru education and information and get their attention on at least one of the worst Human Rights abuses I have seen in my lifetime with the scope and magnitude of the lies that were spread across virtually the entire GLOBE concerning Cannabis Medications and Hemp, as well as Cannabis for recreational use...

The U.S. Marijuana Party (USMJP) is a "Anti-Prohibition - Repeal and Nullify" Party with regard to Cannabis/Hemp Laws (vs. Legalization - which "leaves" the plant under the total control of the Government and us without any inherit rights to the plant at all). Effectively it is a Pharmaceutical takeover of the plant.

WE ARE MOST IMPORTANTLY A HUMAN RIGHTS PARTY. We need educated - (self-taught is always acceptable), informed, and politically motivated people to run for office under the USMJP. We also need dedicated Chair People and others to set up State Chapters. It is only YOU that can help save our Earth and bring it to peace by petition, voting rights, running for office and activism in whatever form. We are Constitutionalists who believe in adhering to the "Civil Rights" which we were given by the Forefathers of our Country. All of these are important: Human Rights, Civil Rights, Constitutional Rights, Religious Rights, PATIENTS Rights, and many more issues as well, including but not limited to: Global Warming, All other Ecological concerns, Coal Fly Ash and ponds, Fracking, GMO's and their usage. Human Trafficking, Prison abuse, Children's Rights, 1st and 2nd Amendment Rights, etc., (It goes on and on...)

After all, as Gatewood Galbraith once said: "There are only two ways to win a war. One is politically and the other to take it to the streets". I damn sure hope the streets isn't where we end up....

Peace and Prayers to You All!

Sheree Krider

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Kentucky Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday to let certain pediatric seizure patients use an oil derived from hemp and marijuana.

 

 

 

FRANKFORT — In a vote that state Sen. Julie Denton said was unimaginable a decade ago, the Kentucky Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday to let certain pediatric seizure patients use an oil derived from hemp and marijuana.

"This was one of those tingly moments you get when you pass a bill that you really know is good for the commonwealth. It is really going to help people's lives," said Denton, R-Louisville.

The 38-0 vote on Denton's Senate Bill 124 is believed to be the first time a Kentucky legislative chamber approved a measure allowing the use of any derivative of hemp and marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The Senate vote occurred as Laureen Vassil of Lexington anxiously looked on in the gallery. Her 15-year-old daughter, Allison, has seizures that are not controlled by medication. She is only able to do first grade work in school.

"I think this bill will help," Vassil said, adding that her family has considered taking Allison to Colorado, where marijuana usage is legal. "But we don't have the means to do that."

The bill would allow the use of cannabidiol, a derivative of hemp, when recommended by a physician practicing at the University of Louisville or University of Kentucky state research hospital.

It also would exempt the oil from the legal definition of marijuana when used in studies approved by the Federal Drug Administration and compassionate-use programs. Such programs use new, unapproved drugs when no other treatments are available.

Debbie McGrath, executive director of the Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana, said she was "thrilled" by the Senate vote.

McGrath said thousands of Kentucky families could benefit from the legislation, which now goes to the House.

Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, said the bill does not open the door to unlimited use of marijuana plants for medical purposes, as some lawmakers advocate.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, R-Hopkinsville, said he cannot stand "the scourge" of illegal drugs in the state and stressed that SB 124 does not legalize illegal drugs.

He called it a "careful, measured approach" to using hemp and marijuana plants. The Kentucky State Police also supports the bill.

Westerfield said his vote was motivated by a young girl in his district named Clara.

"If I don't take this opportunity to help her, she won't grow up," he said in casting his "yes" vote.

Denton said she thinks the bill has a good chance of winning approval in the House.

"This was drafted with House members as well," she said. "Depending on the committee that it goes to, I think it will have unanimous support or very close to that."

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

READ MORE...

Friday, February 21, 2014

Clemency to Jeff Mizanskey: Life without parole for marijuana

Clemency to Jeff Mizanskey: Life without parole for marijuana

This petition will be delivered to:  Missouri, Gov. Jeremiah Nixon

Petition by  Chris Mizanskey  Sedalia, MO

My father Jeff Mizanskey has been in prison for 20 years and has no possibility of parole. For non-violent, marijuana-only offenses, my father has been sentenced to die in prison because of a "three strikes" mandatory sentencing policy in the State of Missouri.

Dad's first offense was in 1984 when he sold an ounce to an undercover informant, and then was found to possess a half pound of marijuana when police raided his house the next day.  His next offense occurred in 1991, when he was caught in possession of a couple of ounces. But for my father's final strike in 1993, he became an easy fall guy in a conspiracy to distribute marijuana. My dad was driving a friend to a deal that turned out to be a sting operation. All of the other convicted men involved were set free years ago, but my dad was given a virtual death sentence.

My dad is, and always has been, a good man. He taught my brother and I all about construction and a good work ethic. He has never been violent and he is a model prisoner. And over the 20 years he has been in that little cell, he has watched as violent criminals, rapists, and murderers have "paid their debts" and left - sometimes just to return a few months later.

My father is 61 years old, and has been in prison since he was 41. His parents - my grandparents - have since passed. While my dad has been trapped behind bars, generations of kids and grandkids have been born into our family who have never even met the man. The State of Missouri spends roughly $22,000/year to keep him locked up. Meanwhile all my dad wants to do is be a productive part of society, work and pay taxes, be with his family. And I want my dad back.

Governor Jay Nixon is the only person who has the power to bring my dad home by granting clemency to Jeff and calling 20 years punishment enough. Please help us reach a just and reasonable end to his prison sentence by signing and sharing this petition.

To:
Gov. Jeremiah Nixon, Missouri

Jeff Mizanskey is a non-violent, marijuana-only offender who has spent the last 20 years in a Missouri prison. He has been sentenced to be there for the rest of his life, and he has no opportunity for parole. The only hope he has to ever to become a working member of society or to hold his grandchildren in his hands is for you to grant him clemency.


His sentence was imposed because of the Prior and Persistent Drug Offender sentencing structure which requires life in prison without parole for his three felony marijuana-only offenses.
Jeff Mizanskey has never committed violence and is most certainly a model prisoner. For 20 years he has sat behind bars, only to watch as rapists and murders come and go and sometimes come back again. Meanwhile the State of Missouri spends roughly $22,000 annually to house him - over $400,000 has been spent so far.

 
On February 3, 2011, Missouri Supreme Court Chief Justice William Ray Price, Jr., delivered his final State of the Judiciary address to the Missouri General Assembly. In that speech, Chief Justice Price lambasted Missouri's "three strikes" drug-sentencing laws as enormously costly and ineffective. "Punishment," Price said, "is a necessary part of our criminal justice system. But our real goal for nonviolent offenders is to teach them their lesson so they can become productive law-abiding members of our society. The goal is not to lock them into a life of crime, to make them permanent wards of the state."
Jeff Mizanskey has been punished for 20 years. He has learned his lesson and wants to become a productive, law-abiding member of our society. The goal Price mentions has been more than reached, and it is time to give Jeff back his life.


On July 6, 2012, you signed the Justice Reinvestment Act, which was intended to reduce our prison population, save the state money, and ensure that punishments are proportional to violations for non-violent offenders. While this has done a great deal of good for so many Missourians, Jeff's status has remained unchanged.
In October 2013, Gallup released a poll showing 58% of Americans support marijuana legalization. 58% of Americans recognize the principle that imprisoning Jeff Mizanskey for the rest of his life has no net positive social benefit.


In the spirit of the Justice Reinvestment Act and in the spirit of justice itself, please grant clemency to Jeff Mizanskey today. Please pardon Jeff Mizanskey so that he does not die in prison just for marijuana.

PLEASE CONTINUE TO LINK TO SIGN PETITION!