HEALTH, Latest Post, Marijuana-Cannabis-Hemp

Legal cannabis must be option for pain sufferers, panelists say


He didn’t like the black market, so he cultivated at his home. He was arrested and received five years of probation.

HENDERSON – Advocates for medicinal marijuana said Tuesday the time is now to push for statewide legalization.

They said research is clear that cannabis helps those suffering from a variety of painful conditions, yet, the word marijuana is still taboo for many in society.

Jaime Montalvo deals daily with multiple sclerosis. After being diagnosed, the Louisville man discovered that cannabis improved his quality of life far more than anything else he’d tried.

He didn’t like the black market, so he cultivated at his home. He was arrested and received five years of probation.

“I lost custody of my son for six months, not for cultivation, but for testing positive,” Montalvo said. “So that’s what’s motivated me for the last six years or so, to change the laws and give people safe access to cannabis.”

Montalvo is a cannabis educator and director of KY4MM (Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana). He and others who took part in a panel discussion at Henderson Community College were preaching to the choir; most of the 50 or so in attendance seemed sympathetic to legalization.

The challenge, speakers said, is convincing state legislators.

Lawmakers in Kentucky and Indiana have legalized hemp oil, also known as CBD oil. But speakers said the positive impact of that is very small compared to what legal medicinal marijuana could do.

“You’re just really scratching the surface” with CBD oil, said Ashly Taylor, a Lexington native who is now a cannabis industry entrepreneur living in Colorado. “We’re looking to get legalization so we can help more people.”

Taylor, who used to work in the pharmaceutical industry, explained at Tuesday’s forum what a legalized marijuana industry would look like.

She said in a regulated market, all cannabis grown comes from state-licensed, taxpaying cultivation facilities, monitored from seed to sale.

All plants are tagged and entered into a state regulated tracking system.

They are processed at a state-licensed product manufacturing facility, with OSHA guidelines enforced and a staffed human resources department.

The product would pass testing from a state-licensed facility before being distributed for legal consumption.

“All of the things you see with other big industry, you’re going to see here,” Taylor said.

Legal medicinal marijuana “is not that new of a thing,” Taylor noted. It’s been legalized or decriminalized in a long list of countries, from Canada to Australia and many European countries.

It is legal in 30 states, and Taylor cited a shift in public opinion on the subject: 64 percent favorability according to one Gallup poll. She said those who support legalization show varied political bent.

Sympathy for legalization has reached local elected officials in Henderson. The City Commission recently passed a resolution stating support for medicinal marijuana.

Henderson City Commissioner Brad Staton said he and his colleagues were moved by testimony from many city residents, including a veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who spoke about suicidal thoughts and depression.

“I didn’t think there was any way we would even take a vote much less pass it,” Staton said. “But we said we have people in the state of Kentucky who are suffering, and we can do something about it.” The vote was 5-0.

Forum speakers said cannabis helps with appetite and sleep, in addition to pain relief. They said the addiction potency is comparable to sugar.

A pharmacist in the audience asked the panelists about studies showing negative effects of long-time marijuana usage, and concerns about children’s usage.

Panelists said marijuana already is pervasive in the culture. Montalvo cited a study showing that in Kentucky, about 40 percent of teens have used marijuana.

“We need to decrease that,” he said. “In my opinion the way to decrease it is regulate the product and keep it out of the hands of children. Right now everybody is prohibited, but it’s still everywhere.”

Taylor said Kentucky authorities in 2016 seized and destroyed more than 560,000 plants, placing the state in the nation’s top five.

Kentucky that year spent $56.8 million for marijuana eradication.

“If we can take the money we save and do something better with it, it seems like a win-win to me,” Taylor said.

Grace Henderson would agree. The Henderson resident, an organizer of Tuesday’s forum, suffers from a list of chronic conditions, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and Chron’s disease.

She’s on a list of medications which she said interact and cause other health problems.

Medical cannabis, she said, needs to be a option for people like her who, at times, struggle to simply get out of bed.

“We need a safe, viable alternative that does not kill people,” Henderson said. “And this is it.”

CONTINUE READING…

More: City of Henderson backs medical cannabis resolution

More: Henderson woman tells how cannabis brings relief

Latest Post, Marijuana-Cannabis-Hemp

Proposal for legal medical marijuana held hostage by Kentucky House GOP leadership


Morgan Watkins, Louisville Courier Journal Published 3:20 p.m. ET March 20, 2018

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says legislation that would legalize medical marijuana is being held hostage by the state House of Representatives’ Republican leadership.

House Bill 166, which is sponsored by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, would let qualifying patients diagnosed with certain health conditions use medical marijuana, although limits would apply to patients and to the people and businesses growing and selling the drug.

The House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on HB 166 earlier this month but decided to pass over the proposal – a move that allows it to reconsider and rule on the matter later on in the 2018 session, which ends in mid-April. But the number of days during which the legislature can pass laws is dwindling.

“House Bill 166 continues to gain bipartisan support. One in four members of the House are now sponsors,” Grimes, a Democrat, wrote Tuesday afternoon in a post on her official Facebook page. “These legislators realize medical cannabis can help save lives and provide new funding to Kentucky so we don’t have to balance budgets on the backs of our teachers and public employees. Yet, GOP House Leadership is holding the bill hostage in the Judiciary Committee.”

Grimes wrote that the bill’s sponsors shouldn’t have to rely on a discharge petition – which can be filed in advance of an attempt to take a bill from a committee – in order to a force a vote on “something an overwhelming majority of Kentuckians support.”

“If the GOP House Leadership refuses to call a vote, constituents are only left to wonder what motivates them to ignore the will of the people,” she wrote.

State Rep. Joe Fischer, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told Courier Journal the committee’s members already voted on HB 166 when they decided to pass over it.

Fischer said he would talk to committee members but noted that he hasn’t seen any amendments to the original bill, which did not have enough support to get a ‘yes’ vote from the group. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, HB 166 wasn’t on the agenda for the committee’s Wednesday meeting, according to Fischer.

“I’ve been accused of holding it hostage, but there was a vote on it,” said Fischer, R-Fort Thomas. “Right now … it was to pass over the bill.”

Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, made the motion to pass over HB 166 on March 7. At the time, he said he wanted to help improve the measure and bring it back for consideration before the session ends. Since then, he has become a sponsor of the bill.

Grimes issued a separate statement last week that said the medical marijuana legislation had been revised. Jaime Montalvo, of the nonprofit organization Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, said he has been working with sponsors of HB 166 and a substitute version of the bill is ready.

Rep. John Sims Jr., D-Flemingsburg, said he did file a discharge petition Tuesday, which was signed by 27 representatives.

“It’s an important bill that has lots of momentum throughout the whole state,” Sims said.

Discharge petitions can prompt the full chamber to vote on whether a committee has held a particular bill “for an unreasonable time,” according to the House’s procedural rules. (HB 166 was sent to the House Judiciary Committee for review in mid-January.)

If a majority of the House agrees a bill has been held too long, the legislation then can be released from that committee. That doesn’t guarantee it will be debated and voted upon by the full House, though.

House Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne, R-Prospect, said Grimes’ assertion that House leaders are holding medical marijuana legislation hostage is “absolutely not true” and suggested Grimes study up on the legislative process.

When asked if House leadership would be interested in bringing the medical marijuana bill to the floor of the chamber for a vote, Osborne said he’s sure they would take appropriate action if it were discharged from the committee.

On Wednesday afternoon, however, Sims — a key sponsor of the bill — said it’s highly likely HB 166 will die when the 2018 session officially ends next month.

“There’s not enough time left to get it through both chambers,” Sims said.

If the bill stalls out as Sims expects, he said legislation to legalize medical marijuana will be reintroduced when the legislature reconvenes next January for the 2019 session.

“We’re not giving up, and the fight will continue,” he said, noting the need to maintain the momentum that has built behind the push for medical marijuana in Kentucky.

Morgan Watkins: 502-582-4502; mwatkins@courierjournal.com; Twitter: @MorganWatkins. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today: www.courier-journal.com/morganw

CONTINUE READING…

RELATED INFORMATION:

Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana

https://www.facebook.com/KY4MM/videos/1619057418129468/

https://www.facebook.com/KY4MM/videos/1617957748239435/

More information as it becomes available…

HEALTH, Latest Post, Marijuana-Cannabis-Hemp

(HB 166) Medical Cannabis Revenue Now Directed Towards Pensions


Medical Cannabis Revenue Now Directed Towards Pensions

Medical Cannabis As New Source of Revenue for KY & Pensions?

Since the 2nd week of #KYGA18 HB166 has been the most viewed & monitored bill in Frankfort. The people want and need medical cannabis.

So why is HB166 not moving forward even with having been granted 3 committee hearings, and having the votes to pass out of the Judiciary committee & House?

The answer is House of Representative members do not want to vote or pass something so controversial if the Senate refuses to accept it.

Right now the KY Senate is overwhelmed with the pension & budget issue. We’re being told they will not take on any new bills, period!

That’s where the KY Teachers, Government Retirees and pensioners come in.

We have now added language to HB166 to help generate A NEW SOURCE OF REVENUE to help fund the pension deficit. (*we’ll attach a picture of the bill language below)

Revenue from wholesale excise taxes & canna-business licenses will be used to fund various pensions to 80%.

We need your help to create this new revenue source, and to bring a better quality of life to thousands of patients.

There’s only a few more days of session left.

Call your legislators today BEFORE 6PM EST

(800) 372-7181

Leave a message saying:

“We found a new source of revenue for our pensions, and respectfully ask you to bring HB166 up for a vote on Monday. VOTE YES ON HB166!”

PLEASE SHARE WITH YOUR FRIENDS

https://www.facebook.com/KY4MM/videos/1617085328326677/?notif_id=1521495882458193&notif_t=live_video_explicit

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