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How do marijuana advocates rate Eric Holder’s legacy?

Posted on March 2, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , |


By Paula Reid CBS News March 2, 2015, 5:59 AM

 

When Eric Holder steps down as attorney general, he’ll leave behind a legacy on more than just civil rights issues. For advocates of recreational marijuana use, Holder was a progressive leader who played a key role in the early days of legalization at the state level.

"He has established a foundation that other attorney generals will build on," Dr. Malik Burnett, the policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance told CBS News during a marijuana expo in Washington, D.C. that took place over the weekend. "He’s been progressive on marijuana issues, as progressive as an AG who has to uphold the federal ban on marijuana can be."

The key was a policy of nonintervention at the federal level. In 2013, almost a year after Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana, the administration announced it would not sue those states to comply with the federal ban on marijuana. It also issued new guidelines for all U.S. attorneys, in what was known as the "Cole Memo," recommending that they only focus on prosecuting major cases. The Justice Department (DOJ) laid out eight high-priority areas for enforcement, including preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing revenue from marijuana sales from going to criminal enterprises, and preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

Burnett called the memo "groundbreaking," saying it "provided a bridge that could reconcile the differences between state and local law and ultimately allowed those businesses to exist and to progress."

Later, Holder issued guidance making it easier for lawful marijuana businesses to have access to US banks. And when some members of Congress called on him to block Washington, D.C. from legalizing the possession of marijuana for recreational purposes, Holder declined to intervene.

Still, some enthusiasts say he could have done more.

"Well it’s still not legal. He has not done anything to get it off of ‘Schedule 1′ (DEA designation) when it clearly has medical purposes and uses. What’s holding it up?" Michael McLay, an attendee at the convention, told CBS News.

Marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, the same classification for dangerous drugs like heroin and LSD. The Attorney General has the power to change these categories if there is an acceptable medical use for the drug, but Holder has repeatedly said any changes to the scheduling status of marijuana should be made by Congress.

"There is a legitimate debate to be heard on both sides of that questions where marijuana ought to be in terms of its scheduling and taking into account all the empirical evidence that we can garner to see if it is a serious drug that would warrant class 1 categorization or should it be some other place," Holder said during a speech at the National Press Club last month. "This is something that would be well informed by having Congressional hearings and Congressional action and informed by a policy determination that the Administration would be glad to share."

McLay said "political reasons" were behind the delay in changing the drug’s classification.

But some see Holder’s deference to Congress as a smart move in the long game to legalize marijuana.

"By unilaterally removing marijuana from the controlled substances act that would have been a radical step given that the marijuana legalization movement is still in its infancy. I think ultimately as you see more and more states ending marijuana prohibition, the attorney general and Congress will find a better place for marijuana," Malik said.

He also sees Holder’s actions on marijuana as directly linked toward his efforts to reduce the U.S. prison population and create a fairer criminal justice system.

"What marijuana is is a gateway to the criminal justice system," Malik said. "Police use marijuana as a pretext towards finding other crimes they can ultimately charge people with and put them into the federal justice system or into state jailing systems. Ending marijuana (prohibition) ultimately helps lower the criminal justice problem we have in the United States."

But it’s still unclear whether Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s nominee to succeed Holder at the helm of DOJ, will continue down the path that Holder has taken the agency if she is confirmed.

At her confirmation hearing in January, Lynch said she does not support legalization.

"Not only do I not support legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently, to support the legalization, nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general," Lynch said.

She also said she didn’t share the same opinion as Mr. Obama, who said in an interview last year that he doesn’t believe the drug is more dangerous than alcohol.

"I certainly don’t hold that view, and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance. I certainly think that the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion — neither of which I am able to share," she said.

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Sorry, high rollers: Marijuana is nowhere legal in these United States

Posted on March 1, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


Kevin Coe

February 27, 2015

 

Sorry, high rollers: Marijuana is nowhere legal in these United States

Kevin Coe

February 27, 2015

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I hate to be the party pooper but I feel there is a need to point out that the possession, transportation, processing and use of marijuana is still illegal. It is not legal in Alaska, nor Colorado, nor Washington, nor Oregon. It’s not legal in your house, nor in a car, or on a train, or in a plane. No Charlo Green I am; it’s not legal to grow pot in this here land.

There is this thing called the Controlled Substances Act. You can find it in Title 21, Section 800 or so of the U.S. Code. Section 812 lists marihuana (with an h) as a schedule I substance. The rest of the sections talk about how the federal government can punish (or, cough, deter) you from doing things with marihuana and other substances. By the way, the Controlled Substances Act was passed by Congress. Remember that high-school U.S. government class you kept falling asleep in? Quick refresher: The U.S. Constitution says if Congress passes a law, it trumps any state law.

What about my right to use marijuana? Didn’t Alaska legalize it? Can’t I have 4 ounces in my home after that Ptarmigan or Raven decision? No. Uncle Sam said no, and he couldn’t care less what Colorado’s constitution reads or what the Supreme Court of Alaska said. Ravin was a decision regarding the right to "privacy" provided by the Alaska Constitution. The recent ballot initiative was a voter initiative that changed Alaska state law. Neither gave anyone a legal right to marijuana. A state cannot grant a legal right to do something that the federal government has declared illegal. Just ask Angel Raich and Dian Monson of California; they thought they had a medical right under California law. The SCOTUS said no: Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1, 7 (2005).

What about Ballot Measure 2 in Alaska, and the Colorado amendment, and Washington’s and Oregon’s laws? All that these states have done is decide that they will no longer enforce criminal penalties for various acts involving marijuana. So once again, marijuana is not legal in Alaska; it’s just not criminal under Alaska law, and won’t be punished by law enforcement or courts of Alaska (within the limits set by Ballot Measure 2). 
OK, semantics, right? Except these are important semantics that the general public doesn’t quite understand. Semantics that legislators should be wary of when they enact legislation, lest they have their laws pre-empted. Semantics that public administrators should ensure to get correct to properly inform the public. Semantics that, if used properly in and by the media, could help further a national debate that we should be having about drug policies in the United States.

No matter how many times Sam I Am, or Charlene Egbe, or Charlo Greene tell you it’s legal now in Alaska, it isn’t. It’s not legal recreationally and it’s not legal medically. A doctor technically can’t prescribe pot (although they can “recommend” it under their First Amendment right to free speech — again, important semantics for policymakers and interested parties). In a way, I guess that’s a good thing for people like Ms. Egbe; they can go on treating “their patients” and not fear being prosecuted for the unauthorized practice of medicine (and yes, I ran her name through the Professional License search on the Alaska Department of Commerce’s website. She is not a doctor, or a pharmacist, or a nurse, or a lawyer (different search website)). But they still need to watch out for Uncle Sam. It’s not legal to sell it, and you face stiff penalties for doing so under federal laws. Oh, you think it’s just pot, no big deal, the feds won’t bust me for it and if they do, how bad could it be? Ask Weldon Angelos when he gets out of the Mendota Federal Correctional Institute in 2051 how serious $350 worth of pot can get.

OK, so before you get your pitchforks and torches and string me up in tar and feathers for blasphemy against the almighty Matanuska Thunder #@!*, I need to clarify the point of my rant. I truly believe our nation, not just our state, needs to rethink our policies on drugs, crime and punishment. As a society, we have a knee-jerk reaction to throw people in jail thinking it will solve everything, which it hasn’t. Reform with our current Congress isn’t likely to happen anytime soon, so reform at the state level is the next best thing — a thing that can help begin national change.

But what I would hate to see is more good people imprisoned under the current severe federal drug penalties because of mistaken beliefs of their “right” to use marijuana. I would also hate to see the national debate be ignored by complacent individuals with the misguided perception that “it’s legal in my state so who cares what the feds think.” So please, when people tell you how it’s legal to smoke pot in Alaska, or Colorado, or anywhere else, remind them of what they missed when they slept through that high school government class, and tell them more change is still needed.

Kevin Coe lives in Anchorage.

The views expressed here are the writer’s own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site

Posted on February 28, 2015. Filed under: CIVIL RIGHTS, Constitution, Federal Government, Human Rights, LATEST NEWS, NSA, DHS, FBI, Cyber Security, Spying, Patriot Act, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoners | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |


 

 

https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/us-news/video/2015/feb/24/homan-square-chicago-black-site-video

 

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site

While US military and intelligence interrogation impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles and even a cage – focuses on American citizens, most often poor, black and brown. ‘When you go in,’ Brian Jacob Church told the Guardian, ‘nobody knows what happened to you.’ Video: Phil Batta for the Guardian; editing: Mae Ryan

 

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

 

Held for hours at secret Chicago ‘black site': ‘You’re a hostage. It’s kidnapping’

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The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

At least one man was found unresponsive in a Homan Square “interview room” and later pronounced dead.

Brian Jacob Church, a protester known as one of the “Nato Three”, was held and questioned at Homan Square in 2012 following a police raid. Officers restrained Church for the better part of a day, denying him access to an attorney, before sending him to a nearby police station to be booked and charged.

Chicago’s Homan Square ‘black site': surveillance, military-style vehicles and a metal cage

 

“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Church told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”

The secretive warehouse is the latest example of Chicago police practices that echo the much-criticized detention abuses of the US war on terrorism. While those abuses impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles, interrogation cells and even a cage – trains its focus on Americans, most often poor, black and brown.

 

Unlike a precinct, no one taken to Homan Square is said to be booked. Witnesses, suspects or other Chicagoans who end up inside do not appear to have a public, searchable record entered into a database indicating where they are, as happens when someone is booked at a precinct. Lawyers and relatives insist there is no way of finding their whereabouts. Those lawyers who have attempted to gain access to Homan Square are most often turned away, even as their clients remain in custody inside.

“It’s sort of an open secret among attorneys that regularly make police station visits, this place – if you can’t find a client in the system, odds are they’re there,” said Chicago lawyer Julia Bartmes.

Chicago civil-rights attorney Flint Taylor said Homan Square represented a routinization of a notorious practice in local police work that violates the fifth and sixth amendments of the constitution.

“This Homan Square revelation seems to me to be an institutionalization of the practice that dates back more than 40 years,” Taylor said, “of violating a suspect or witness’ rights to a lawyer and not to be physically or otherwise coerced into giving a statement.”

Much remains hidden about Homan Square. The Chicago police department did not respond to the Guardian’s questions about the facility. But after the Guardian published this story, the department provided a statement insisting, without specifics, that there is nothing untoward taking place at what it called the “sensitive” location, home to undercover units.

“CPD [Chicago police department] abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses, at Homan Square or any other CPD facility. If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them. It also houses CPD’s Evidence Recovered Property Section, where the public is able to claim inventoried property,” the statement said, something numerous attorneys and one Homan Square arrestee have denied.

“There are always records of anyone who is arrested by CPD, and this is not any different at Homan Square,” it continued.

The Chicago police statement did not address how long into an arrest or detention those records are generated or their availability to the public. A department spokesperson did not respond to a detailed request for clarification.

When a Guardian reporter arrived at the warehouse on Friday, a man at the gatehouse outside refused any entrance and would not answer questions. “This is a secure facility. You’re not even supposed to be standing here,” said the man, who refused to give his name.

A former Chicago police superintendent and a more recently retired detective, both of whom have been inside Homan Square in the last few years in a post-police capacity, said the police department did not operate out of the warehouse until the late 1990s.

But in detailing episodes involving their clients over the past several years, lawyers described mad scrambles that led to the closed doors of Homan Square, a place most had never heard of previously. The facility was even unknown to Rob Warden, the founder of Northwestern University Law School’s Center on Wrongful Convictions, until the Guardian informed him of the allegations of clients who vanish into inherently coercive police custody.

“They just disappear,” said Anthony Hill, a criminal defense attorney, “until they show up at a district for charging or are just released back out on the street.”

‘Never going to see the light of day’: the search for the Nato Three, the head wound, the worried mom and the dead man

Homan Square

 

‘They were held incommunicado for much longer than I think should be permitted in this country – anywhere – but particularly given the strong constitutional rights afforded to people who are being charged with crimes,” said Sarah Gelsomino, the lawyer for Brian Jacob Church. Photograph: Phil Batta/Guardian

Jacob Church learned about Homan Square the hard way. On May 16 2012, he and 11 others were taken there after police infiltrated their protest against the Nato summit. Church says officers cuffed him to a bench for an estimated 17 hours, intermittently interrogating him without reading his Miranda rights to remain silent. It would take another three hours – and an unusual lawyer visit through a wire cage – before he was finally charged with terrorism-related offenses at the nearby 11th district station, where he was made to sign papers, fingerprinted and photographed.

In preparation for the Nato protest, Church, who is from Florida, had written a phone number for the National Lawyers Guild on his arm as a precautionary measure. Once taken to Homan Square, Church asked explicitly to call his lawyers, and said he was denied.

“Essentially, I wasn’t allowed to make any contact with anybody,” Church told the Guardian, in contradiction of a police guidance on permitting phone calls and legal counsel to arrestees.

Church’s left wrist was cuffed to a bar behind a bench in windowless cinderblock cell, with his ankles cuffed together. He remained in those restraints for about 17 hours.

“I had essentially figured, ‘All right, well, they disappeared us and so we’re probably never going to see the light of day again,’” Church said.

Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly, known as the ‘Nato Three’ Brian Jacob Church, Jared Chase and Brent Vincent Betterly, known as the ‘Nato Three’. Photograph: AP/Cook County sheriff’s office

Though the raid attracted major media attention, a team of attorneys could not find Church through 12 hours of “active searching”, Sarah Gelsomino, Church’s lawyer, recalled. No booking record existed. Only after she and others made a “major stink” with contacts in the offices of the corporation counsel and Mayor Rahm Emanuel did they even learn about Homan Square.

They sent another attorney to the facility, where he ultimately gained entry, and talked to Church through a floor-to-ceiling chain-link metal cage. Finally, hours later, police took Church and his two co-defendants to a nearby police station for booking.

After serving two and a half years in prison, Church is currently on parole after he and his co-defendants were found not guilty in 2014 of terrorism-related offenses but guilty of lesser charges of possessing an incendiary device and the misdemeanor of “mob action”.

It’s almost like they throw a black bag over your head and make you disappear for a day or two

Brian Jacob Church

The access that Nato Three attorneys received to Homan Square was an exception to the rule, even if Jacob Church’s experience there was not.

Three attorneys interviewed by the Guardian report being personally turned away from Homan Square between 2009 and 2013 without being allowed access to their clients. Two more lawyers who hadn’t been physically denied described it as a place where police withheld information about their clients’ whereabouts. Church was the only person who had been detained at the facility who agreed to talk with the Guardian: their lawyers say others fear police retaliation.

One man in January 2013 had his name changed in the Chicago central bookings database and then taken to Homan Square without a record of his transfer being kept, according to Eliza Solowiej of Chicago’s First Defense Legal Aid. (The man, the Guardian understands, wishes to be anonymous; his current attorney declined to confirm Solowiej’s account.) She found out where he was after he was taken to the hospital with a head injury.

“He said that the officers caused his head injuries in an interrogation room at Homan Square. I had been looking for him for six to eight hours, and every department member I talked to said they had never heard of him,” Solowiej said. “He sent me a phone pic of his head injuries because I had seen him in a police station right before he was transferred to Homan Square without any.”

Bartmes, another Chicago attorney, said that in September 2013 she got a call from a mother worried that her 15-year-old son had been picked up by police before dawn. A sympathetic sergeant followed up with the mother to say her son was being questioned at Homan Square in connection to a shooting and would be released soon. When hours passed, Bartmes traveled to Homan Square, only to be refused entry for nearly an hour.

An officer told her, “Well, you can’t just stand here taking notes, this is a secure facility, there are undercover officers, and you’re making people very nervous,” Bartmes recalled. Told to leave, she said she would return in an hour if the boy was not released. He was home, and not charged, after “12, maybe 13” hours in custody.

On February 2, 2013, John Hubbard was taken to Homan Square. Hubbard never walked out. The Chicago Tribune reported that the 44-year old was found “unresponsive inside an interview room”, and pronounced dead. After publication, the Cook County medical examiner told the Guardian that the cause of death was determined to be heroin intoxication.

Homan Square is hardly concerned exclusively with terrorism. Several special units operate outside of it, including the anti-gang and anti-drug forces. If police “want money, guns, drugs”, or information on the flow of any of them onto Chicago’s streets, “they bring them there and use it as a place of interrogation off the books,” Hill said.

‘That scares the hell out of me’: a throwback to Chicago police abuse with a post-9/11 feel

Homan Square

 

‘The real danger in allowing practices like Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,’ criminologist Tracy Siska told the Guardian. Photograph: Chandler West/Guardian

A former Chicago detective and current private investigator, Bill Dorsch, said he had not heard of the police abuses described by Church and lawyers for other suspects who had been taken to Homan Square. He has been permitted access to the facility to visit one of its main features, an evidence locker for the police department. (“I just showed my retirement star and passed through,” Dorsch said.)

Transferring detainees through police custody to deny them access to legal counsel, would be “a career-ender,” Dorsch said. “To move just for the purpose of hiding them, I can’t see that happening,” he told the Guardian.

Richard Brzeczek, Chicago’s police superintendent from 1980 to 1983, who also said he had no first-hand knowledge of abuses at Homan Square, said it was “never justified” to deny access to attorneys.

“Homan Square should be on the same list as every other facility where you can call central booking and say: ‘Can you tell me if this person is in custody and where,’” Brzeczek said.

“If you’re going to be doing this, then you have to include Homan Square on the list of facilities that prisoners are taken into and a record made. It can’t be an exempt facility.”

Indeed, Chicago police guidelines appear to ban the sorts of practices Church and the lawyers said occur at Homan Square.

A directive titled “Processing Persons Under Department Control” instructs that “investigation or interrogation of an arrestee will not delay the booking process,” and arrestees must be allowed “a reasonable number of telephone calls” to attorneys swiftly “after their arrival at the first place of custody.” Another directive, “Arrestee and In-Custody Communications,” says police supervisors must “allow visitation by attorneys.”

Attorney Scott Finger said that the Chicago police tightened the latter directive in 2012 after quiet complaints from lawyers about their lack of access to Homan Square. Without those changes, Church’s attorneys might not have gained entry at all. But that tightening – about a week before Church’s arrest – did not prevent Church’s prolonged detention without a lawyer, nor the later cases where lawyers were unable to enter.

The combination of holding clients for long periods, while concealing their whereabouts and denying access to a lawyer, struck legal experts as a throwback to the worst excesses of Chicago police abuse, with a post-9/11 feel to it.

On a smaller scale, Homan Square is “analogous to the CIA’s black sites,” said Andrea Lyon, a former Chicago public defender and current dean of Valparaiso University Law School. When she practiced law in Chicago in the 1980s and 1990s, she said, “police used the term ‘shadow site’” to refer to the quasi-disappearances now in place at Homan Square.

I’ve never known any kind of organized, secret place where they go and hold somebody before booking for hours and hours

James Trainum, former detective, Washington DC

“Back when I first started working on torture cases and started representing criminal defendants in the early 1970s, my clients often told me they’d been taken from one police station to another before ending up at Area 2 where they were tortured,” said Taylor, the civil-rights lawyer most associated with pursuing the notoriously abusive Area 2 police commander Jon Burge. “And in that way the police prevent their family and lawyers from seeing them until they could coerce, through torture or other means, confessions from them.”

Police often have off-site facilities to have private conversations with their informants. But a retired Washington DC homicide detective, James Trainum, could not think of another circumstance nationwide where police held people incommunicado for extended periods.

“I’ve never known any kind of organized, secret place where they go and just hold somebody before booking for hours and hours and hours. That scares the hell out of me that that even exists or might exist,” said Trainum, who now studies national policing issues, to include interrogations, for the Innocence Project and the Constitution Project.

Regardless of departmental regulations, police frequently deny or elide access to lawyers even at regular police precincts, said Solowiej of First Defense Legal Aid. But she said the outright denial was exacerbated at Chicago’s secretive interrogation and holding facility: “It’s very, very rare for anyone to experience their constitutional rights in Chicago police custody, and even more so at Homan Square,” Solowiej said.

Church said that one of his more striking memories of Homan Square was the “big, big vehicles” police had inside the complex that “look like very large MRAPs that they use in the Middle East.”

Cook County, home of Chicago, has received some 1,700 pieces of military equipment from a much-criticized Pentagon program transferring military gear to local police. It includes a Humvee, according to a local ABC News report.

Tracy Siska, a criminologist and civil-rights activist with the Chicago Justice Project, said that Homan Square, as well as the unrelated case of ex-Guantánamo interrogator and retired Chicago detective Richard Zuley, showed the lines blurring between domestic law enforcement and overseas military operations.

“The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,” Siska said.

“They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices. That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.”

 

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Secret Marijuana Farm Beneath Brooklyn Cherry Factory Leaves Many Mysteries

Posted on February 27, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, Mental Health | Tags: , , , , |


By VIVIAN YEEFEB. 26, 2015

 

 

Arthur Mondella’s alternate life was buried behind a roll-down gate, behind a fleet of fancy cars, behind a pair of closet doors, behind a set of button-controlled steel shelves, behind a fake wall and down a ladder in a hole in a bare concrete floor.

Here, in a weathered basement below the Red Hook, Brooklyn, maraschino cherry factory he had inherited from his father and his grandfather, he nurtured a marijuana farm that could hold as many as 1,200 plants at a time. Here, below the office where he served as chief of Dell’s Maraschino Cherries Company, he kept a small, dusty library and a corkboard pinned with notes. Most of the books dealt with plant propagation methods. One did not: the “World Encyclopedia of Organized Crime.”

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Much about the hidden operations of Mr. Mondella, 57, who shot and killed himself on Tuesday as investigators found his marijuana plants, remains frustratingly out of reach for his family and friends. Investigators do not know how he distributed the marijuana, how long he had grown it or who helped him. Most baffling of all are Mr. Mondella’s reasons for hiding his operation under a business that was, by all accounts, healthy and growing — and for taking his life so suddenly when he was caught.

On Thursday, the day of Mr. Mondella’s private wake, the company said the cherry business would go on. Major restaurant chains that bought Dell’s cherries, including Red Lobster and T.G.I. Friday’s, said their menus would be unaffected. But at the offices of the Brooklyn district attorney, Kenneth P. Thompson, the focus was on untangling what part of the business was cherries, and what part was marijuana, at the red-brick factory on Dikeman Street.

“We’re looking at the actual connections between marijuana and the factory and whether or not some portion of the cherry business there really was an effort to mask the marijuana operation,” said a law enforcement official close to the investigation, who asked not to be identified because the inquiry is continuing.

Given the thick scent of cherry processing and the large amount of electricity the factory would naturally consume, the official said, “it’s a very convenient place to be” to mask both the odor and the power needed to cultivate the marijuana plants.

Yet because the basement labyrinth was so well concealed, it seemed plausible that the cherry factory’s regular employees were unaware of their boss’s secret. Mr. Mondella may have been the only person with access to the garage where he kept several luxury vehicles and the entrance to the basement, the official said.

Still, the scope of the operation made it unlikely that Mr. Mondella was the only person involved. Spanning about 2,500 square feet, the underground complex included an office, a large grow room, a storage area, a freezer for the harvested plants and an elevator. A network of 120 high-end growing lamps shined on the plants with intensities that varied depending on each plant’s size; an irrigation system watered them. Investigators recovered about 60 types of marijuana seeds.

The investigators had never seen a larger operation in New York City, the official said.

“The way you have to set that up, there’s got to be plumbers and electricians working off the books who are very sophisticated,” he said, “and it wasn’t Arthur Mondella, as far as we know, that had that kind of skills.”

Investigators first received a tip about Mr. Mondella and illegal drugs about five years ago, he said, but nothing came of it then.

As part of a separate investigation into allegations that Dell’s was polluting Red Hook’s water supply, the district attorney and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection decided to search the factory for files on environmental infractions. It was during that search on Tuesday that they stumbled on the marijuana operation. (The pollution investigation is still active.)

The drug inquiry is still in its early stages. But the official said investigators were looking closely at whether the operation had ties to organized crime. Mr. Mondella would have required help to maintain the farm and distribute his product, the thinking goes, and an organized crime syndicate could have provided it.

To Mr. Mondella’s family and friends, the revelations about his hidden operations have been “aberrant and shocking,” Michael Farkas, the lawyer representing the Mondella family and the management of Dell’s, said in an interview.

The company was considered among the largest producers of the cherries in the country. Although many cherry suppliers were disappearing around the time that Mr. Mondella took over the business in 1983, the market appears stable now, thanks in part to maraschino cherries’ popularity abroad, said Robert McGorrin, the chairman of the food science department at Oregon State University, where the current method of processing the cherries in brine, rather than alcohol, was developed in the 1920s.

Law enforcement officials are just as perplexed about Mr. Mondella’s motives. Though investigators are sorting through a substantial bounty of evidence, they have no hope of gaining access to the data on Mr. Mondella’s iPhone 6, which, like other new-model iPhones, is encrypted with a user-created code that even Apple says it cannot unlock.

“No one seems to have had any clue that this was going on, and there certainly didn’t seem to be any strange or traumatic circumstances that would’ve explained this,” Mr. Farkas said. “The business was not doing poorly; the business was doing very well. We were unaware of any major problems in Arthur’s life. Somebody knows — but we’re all waiting for answers here.”

Correction: February 26, 2015
An earlier version of this article misstated the size of the underground complex where marijuana was grown. It was 2,500 square feet, not 250.

A version of this article appears in print on February 27, 2015, on page A20 of the New York edition with the headline: Secret Life and Business Surface, Along With Many Questions.

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State approves $250,000 loan for Cave City attraction

Posted on February 27, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on Cave City, Kentucky:

Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 9:30 am

By MONICA SPEES mspees@bgdailynews.com |

A Louisville man who wants to purchase a Cave City attraction received a $250,000 loan from the state Tuesday.

The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority approved a $250,000 loan from the Kentucky Tourism Development Loan Program to Land of Tomorrow Productions by a 3-0 vote. Land of Tomorrow Productions is the Louisville-based entity involved in the purchase of Cave City’s Guntown Mountain.

Will Russell, proprietor of WHY Louisville and founder of Lebowski Fest, was the applicant contact for the loan, according to the application obtained by the Daily News. Russell, who intends to turn Guntown Mountain into Funtown Mountain, said he was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

It is a 15-year loan at 6 percent, said Gil Lawson, executive director of the office of communications at the KTDFA. “The loan does not go through until after they close…

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Rand Paul calls out Jeb Bush on marijuana

Posted on February 27, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Politics | Tags: , , , |


By Katie Brinn

Sen. Rand Paul slammed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for hypocrisy on marijuana in an interview Wednesday with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric. Responding to

recent revelations that Gov. Bush smoked pot during his teen years at Phillips Academy, Paul pointed out the flaws in Bush’s opposition to medical marijuana in his home state.


Sen. Paul, who has hinted about his own wild college days, was quick to clarify that he did not fault Bush for having “made mistakes growing up.” Instead, he took issue with Bush’s inconsistent views on the drug. “If you’ve got MS in Florida, Jeb Bush voted to put you in jail if you go down to a local store or a local drugstore and get medical marijuana … and yet he was doing it for recreational purposes.”
To Paul, it was Bush’s privileged upbringing that spared him the harsh penalties many Floridians still face when they entangle with marijuana. “It was a different standard for him,” the presidential hopeful explained, “because he was from a wealthy family, going to a very wealthy school, and he got off scot-free.”

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DARPA Study Included Facebook, Twitter Users

Posted on February 24, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |


Research Included How Social Networks Influence Behavior

By W. Brice McVicar in Breaking News Social Media

 

darpalogo

 

Social media networks were the focus of a recent DARPA — the Pentagon-run Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency — study in a bid to gain insight to their users.

Twitter, Facebook, Kickstarter and others were all examined in the study, a report published by The Guardian reveals.

The multi-million dollar project included analysis of tweets from celebrities including Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga as well as collecting scads of information from tweets and other posts on social media sites. Some of the study even involved messaging users to see how they would respond and what was said.

The research went beyond that, though, as the study looked at how social media networks were used to influence society.

“The project list includes a study of how activists with the Occupy movement used Twitter as well as a range of research on tracking internet memes and some about understanding how influence behavior (liking, following, retweeting) happens on a range of popular social media platforms like Pinterest, Twitter, Kickstarter, Digg and Reddit,” The Guardian’s report noted.

The project, known as the Social Media in Strategic Communication, allowed DARPA to get a grasp on how social networks are shaping the world.

On it’s site, DARPA said it’s goal with the project “is to develop a new science of social networks built on an emerging technology base. Through the program, DARPA seeks to develop tools to support the efforts of human operators to counter misinformation or deception campaigns with truthful information.”

The Guardian reported it reached out to experts to weigh in on the matter. One such expert, Emilio Ferrara, who examined how the digital age played a role in the Occupy Wall Street movement, said it appears DARPA was above-the-board in its approach.

“According to federal regulations of human experimentation, for studies that don’t affect the environment of online users, and whereas one can freely gather online data – say, from the public Twitter feed – there is no requirement of informed consent,” said Ferrara. “This is the framework under which our Twitter study was carried out; moreover, all our studies on Twitter look into aggregate collective phenomena and never at the individual level.”

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Graves County medical marijuana bust

Posted on February 22, 2015. Filed under: KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law, Medical Marijuana, Prisoners | Tags: , , , , |


      

 

GRAVES COUNTY, Ky. – Graves County Sheriff Dewayne Redmon reports today that the Drug Division Detectives and Deputies seized, approximately 40 pounds of Hydroponic Medical Grade Marijuana. Redmon stated that the officers conducted the stop during a torrential downpour of rain in the icy conditions, shortly after noon on Saturday. The roadways were very hazardous with all the ice and snow and the heavy rainfall that was pooling on the road all morning long.

Detectives conducted the traffic stop on US45 N near the intersection of KY849. When they approached the vehicle the strong odor of Marijuana was coming out of the vehicle when the occupants rolled the windows down to speak with the officers. The Sheriff’s Office K9 deputy was nearby on US45 and he deployed the K9 “Sakal” and he immediately indicated to the odor of illegal substances inside the vehicle.

During the search of the vehicle 3 very large duffle bags were located in the backseat that contained approximately 40 pounds of Marijuana packaged in 1 pound containers. Officers also seized approximately $1000.00 in cash at the time of the arrest.

Redmon states that a major supplier of Marijuana in Graves County has been arrested. The street value of this grade of Marijuana would be somewhere between $45,000 and $60,000. Those arrested were identified as Aaron Cooper, Timothy Brown, and Amanda Rowell, all from Mayfield and Graves County.

The charges are listed below:
Aaron Cooper—-Trafficking in Marijuana over 5 pounds, Poss. Of Drug Paraphernalia, Poss. Of Marijuana
Timothy Brown–Complicity to Trafficking Marijuana over 5 pounds, Poss. of Drug Paraphernalia, Driving Too Fast for Conditions
Amanda Rowell—Complicity to Trafficking Marijuana over 5 pounds, Poss. of Drug Paraphernalia
All three were lodged in the Graves County Jail awaiting court proceedings.

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MIT States That Half of All Children May be Autistic by 2025 due to Monsanto

Posted on February 22, 2015. Filed under: GMO, LATEST NEWS, Patients, Pollution/Global Warming, US Health Care | Tags: , , , , , |


A senior scientist at MIT has declared that we are facing an epidemic of autism that may result in one half of all children being affected by autism in ten years.

Dr. Stephanie Seneff, who made these remarks during a panel presentation in Groton, Massachusetts, last week, specifically cites the Monsanto herbicide, Roundup, as the culprit for the escalating incidence of autism and other neurological disorders. Roundup, which was introduced in the 1970’s, contains the chemical glyphosate, which is the focal point for Seneff’s concerns. Roundup was originally restricted to use on weeds, as glyphosate kills plants. However, Roundup is now in regular use with crops. With the coming of GMO’s, plants such as soy and corn were bioengineered to tolerate glyphosate, and its use dramatically increased. From 2001 to 2007, glyphosate use doubled, reaching 180 to 185 million pounds in the U.S. alone in 2007.

If you don’t consume corn-on-the-cob or toasted soybeans, however, you are hardly exempt from the potential affects of consuming glyphosate. Wheat is now sprayed with Roundup right before it is harvested, making any consumption of non- organic wheat bread a sure source for the chemical. In addition, any products containing corn syrup, such as soft drinks, are also carrying a payload of glyphosate.

According to studies cited by Seneff, glyphosate engages “gut bacteria” in a process known as the shikimate pathway. This enables the chemical to interfere with the biochemistry of bacteria in our GI tract, resulting in the depletion of essential amino acids .

 
Monsanto has maintained that glyphosate is safe for human consumption, as humans do not have the shikimate pathway. Bacteria, however, does—including the flora that constitutes “gut bacteria.”

It is this ability to affect gut bacteria that Seneff claims is the link which allows the chemical to get on board and wreak further damage. The connection between intestinal flora and neurological functioning is an ongoing topic of research. According to a number of studies, glyphosate depletes the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine, which can then contribute to obesity, depression, autism, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Monsanto disagrees. The food and chemical giant has constructed a webpage with links to scientific studies pronouncing the safety of glyphosate.

Other science writers have also taken up the Monsanto banner, scoffing at the scientific studies that prompted Seneff to make her claims. “They made it up!” pronounced Huffpost science writer Tamar Haspel, in an article thin on analysis but heavy on declarative prose

Others, such as Skeptoid writer and PhD physicist Eric Hall, take a more measured approach, and instead focus on the studies which prompted the glyphosate concerns. According to Hall, Seneff is making an error known as the “correlation/causation error,” in which causality is inaccurately concluded when there exists only the fact that two separate items—in this case, the increased use of glyphosate and the increased incidence of autism—may be observed but are not, in fact, directly related.

Seneff’s pronouncements focus specifically on the glyphosate issue. As we know, there are other potential tributaries which may be feeding the rise in autism and also causing age-related neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s. These may include contents of vaccines, aluminum cooking ware as well as other potential sources for chemical consumption.

Some individuals, such as M.D. and radio host Rima Laibow have speculated on the intentionality behind this ostensible chemical siege against our gray matter. Laibow believes that the impetus may be to create an entire class of autistic individuals who will be suited only for certain types of work.

This harks back, eerily, to Aldous Huxley’s classic Brave New World, in which individuals were preprogrammed from “conception” for eventual placement in one of five groups, designated as Alpha, Beta, and so on down to Epsilon, based on their programmed brain power. In Huxley’s dystopian world, this class delineation by intellectual ability enabled society to function more smoothly.

Whatever may driving the autistic/Alzheimer’s diesel train, one thing is for certain: the spectre of half of our children coming into the world with significant brain damage constitutes a massive and undeniable wound to humanity. The rate of autism has skyrocketed from roughly one in every two thousand in the 1970’s to the current rate of one in every sixty eight. Alzheimer’s has become almost universal in the elderly. Seneff’s predictions can only be ignored at grave risk to the human race.

Janet C. Phelan

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As Marijuana Legalization Continues, Industrial Hemp Legalization May Be Next

Posted on February 21, 2015. Filed under: Commerce, Farming, Industrial HEMP, KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , |


By Kathleen Caulderwood @kcaulderwood k.caulderwood@ibtimes.com on February 21 2015 10:00 AM

 

With National Cannabis Conversation, American Hemp May Be Next

 

 

Kentucky farmer Andy Graves recently brought his father to see the latest crop on the family farm. Moments before the 89-year-old saw the plants, he could smell them.

“When my dad walked back to see the first fields, his eyes just lit up,” Graves says. “He said the smell was so distinct. There’s no other smell like hemp.”

Hemp, a variety of the cannabis plant, once grew by the acre on the Graves’ family farm, but disappeared after authorities outlawed the crop along with its sister species of marijuana. Even though it contains nearly none of the chemical that gives marijuana its intoxicating agent, hemp has been illegal for decades in the U.S.

But Graves, who planted a small crop last year, was the first of a handful of American farmers allowed to do so under a government research program. Although his latest crop is nothing compared with the 500 acres that once stood during his grandfather’s time, it represents the beginning of a long-awaited economic revolution.

“The business that we’re talking about today is so far and above the business my father saw and knew,” Graves says.

Hemp was once a mainstay for American farmers such as those in the Graves family, but has been outlawed for generations under regulations fearing marijuana cultivation. After decades of advocacy, a boost from the growing national interest in cannabis, rapid legalization and recent bipartisan support from lawmakers, hemp could be coming back in a big, and lucrative, way.

Most people associate hemp with braided bracelets and itchy shirts worn by college students who sip organic green tea in dormitory common rooms across the country. But hemp’s biggest advocates nowadays are more interested in economics than in philosophy.

“The economics alone are enough to convince anyone,” says Eric Steenstra, executive director of the Hemp Industries Association. Despite the fact that hemp farming is illegal, the U.S. is the world’s biggest consumer of it, importing $580 million worth in 2013, with predicted double-digit percentage growth, according to Steenstra.

Hemp is legally grown in 30 countries around the world. Most of the world’s supply comes from Canada, Steenstra says. After farmers and universities started researching hemp in 1994, Canada authorized industrial production in 1998 — and it’s been paying off.

Canadian farmers are selling hemp for CAD80 cents (64 cents) per pound, while canola sells for roughly CAD18 cents (14 cents) per pound, even though the input costs are roughly the same, according to CBC News.

The marijuana used for smoking and the hemp used for other purposes are both varieties of the same cannabis plant, but different in terms of their chemical makeup and the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, which is responsible for inducing a high, they contain.

Canada and the European Union define hemp as containing less than 0.3 percent THC, while marijuana can contain anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent. Generally, about 1 percent THC is considered the threshold for marijuana to “have intoxicating potential.”

When harvested, hemp can be used in a variety of ways. The seeds can be processed to create a nutrient-rich oil or a protein-rich meal, while the stalks can be turned into fiber that can be used in products such as fabric or paper.

Opponents of hemp legalization say the plants look too similar to marijuana plants used for other activities, and would give criminals an opportunity to cultivate illegal drugs in plain sight. U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, recently told Politico that the “confusion and potential commingling lends itself to an easier path for illegal marijuana growth across the country.”

However, a recent report by the Congressional Research Service outlines a few key differences. Marijuana is cultivated to stay short and bushy to facilitate as many flowers, or buds, as possible, and the plants grow close together. Hemp farmers give their plants more space and encourage them to grow tall and produce one long stalk with just a few leaves.

Hemp_Crop_in_Peasenhall_Road,_Walpole_-_geograph

Above:  Hemp plants are cultivated to grow much taller and thin, unlike marijuana plants meant to produce buds, or flowers.  Wikimedia Commons

This approach was the most common one used for the tens of thousands of tons of hemp grown every year by American farmers once upon a time.

American farmers have been growing hemp since the late 1800s, according to the Congressional Research Service, citing the Hemp Industries Association. But state governments did have a problem with people growing the flower for psychotropic reasons and sought to restrict its recreational use.

In the 1920s, it was among a handful of regulated drugs in many states. The Uniform Narcotic Drug Act noted that “there is little or no connection between the use of hemp drugs and crime, and that consuming it in moderation “very rarely” led to violence.

The 1937 Marijuana Tax Act defined hemp, along with marijuana, as a narcotic. Although it did not criminalize its production, it did require that all farmers only grow it for medical or industrial use, and register before growing it. They also had to secure a special tax stamp.

Marijuana Stamp

Above:  Image of a Marihuana revenue stamp $1 1937 issue from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing  Wikimedia Commons

Regardless, production still flourished. In 1943, the U.S. grew 75,000 tons of hemp fiber on a little more than 146,000 acres, and Popular Science estimated the crop size would more than double the next year.

In fact, it was a big part of the World War II effort. In 1942, a U.S. government film urged farmers to grow “hemp for victory,” after outlining how the plant had once been used for everything from the ships at sea to covered wagons of the pioneers, while typically being imported from abroad. But since sources in the Philippines and other parts of Asia were “in the hands of the Japanese,” “American Hemp must meet the needs of our Army and Navy as well as our industries.”

According to the above video, “patriotic farmers” planted 36,000 acres of seed hemp at the government’s request in 1942, with plans for more.

Production continued into the next decade, but soon petered out. By the 1950s, the federal government had imposed mandatory jail time for possession of illegal cannabis. And in 1970 came the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which included cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance, a category defined as “drugs with a high potential for abuse,” which also included heroin and LSD.

But that didn’t stop Americans from buying hemp products. Advocates have been lobbying to bring hemp cultivation back to the U.S. for decades, and things finally seem to be picking up steam.

“It’s becoming ever more ridiculous,” says David Bronner, CEO and president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a longtime advocate of hemp legalization. “Nobody brings up opium when they eat a poppy-seed bagel; this is a very similar situation.”

Bronner Hemp Protest 2012

Above:  Bronner: David Bronner tends to his industrial hemp as he stages a protest inside a steel cage, in front of the White House in Washington June 11, 2012. Bronner was protesting federal policy that prevents U.S. farmers from growing industrial hemp. Bronner is CEO of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps  Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

Bronner gained notoriety in 2012 when he locked himself in a metal cage outside the White House and proceeded to process a handful of hemp plants into enough oil to spread on to a piece of bread. According to the Washington Post, police had to cut him out of the cage with a chainsaw, and he was then charged with possession of marijuana.

But things are slowly changing.

“We’ve had a lot of allies doing a lot of hard work,” Bronner says. “Plus, as marijuana itself is being rescheduled, the debate is moving forward.”

As of February, marijuana is legal for use in some form in 23 states, including two, Colorado and Washington, that allow for recreational use among adults, with Alaska and Oregon planning to join them this year. The past few years have seen marijuana brought to the forefront of policy narratives and public discussion, which has been helping raise hemp’s profile.

In 2013, a majority of Americans polled by Gallup said they were in favor of marijuana legalization for the first time ever, and their sentiments keep going strong.

“They should be separate conversations, but they are influencing each other,” Bronner says.

He’s one of many who have been advocating local production of hemp for decades now. And over the past few years they’ve gotten more and more people on board — including a few politicians.

The 2014 Farm Bill, aka the Agricultural Act of 2014, included a provision to allow some people to begin growing industrial hemp, provided it is for “purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic research,” and complies with state law.

This means that a handful of universities and small groups of farmers, including Graves, have grown their first crops this year. With special permission from the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, of course.

But that seems to be just the beginning. And the cause has been gaining traction.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who introduced his first bill on the subject in 2007, has been leading a bipartisan movement to remove hemp from the legal definition of “marihuana.”

This January, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore, introduced the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015, and Rep. Thomas Massiel, R-Ky., introduced a companion bill with 50 co-sponsors on both sides of the political aisle.

“Allowing farmers throughout our nation to cultivate industrial hemp and benefit from its many uses will boost our economy and bring much-needed jobs to the agricultural industry,” Paul said in a press release last month.

And farmers such as Andy Graves certainly hope that’s true. While he knows the economic benefits of hemp, he’s also quick to point out that he takes a spoonful of the nutritious oil every day.

The family farm used to grow tobacco, but its owners ultimately decided against it more than 15 years ago.

“We realized that we were promoting the use of a product that could kill you,” he says. “Hemp, on the other hand, is nothing but good.”

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Southern Oregon medical marijuana growers fear industrial hemp could ruin their crops

Posted on February 21, 2015. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, Farming, Industrial HEMP, LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , |


 

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Southern Oregon marijuana growers want to ban industrial hemp production from the region out of fear that hemp may pollinate their crops and render them worthless.

Some outdoor marijuana growers want industrial hemp cultivation to be limited to eastern Oregon – far from their lucrative marijuana crops. At the very least, they don’t want hemp in Josephine, Jackson and Douglas counties.

Compared to Oregon’s marijuana legalization movement, the effort to launch an industrial hemp industry in Oregon has been an understated one propelled by a small but passionate group of advocates. When one of them, Edgar Winters, of Eagle Point, got a permit this month to grow industrial hemp on 25 acres in the heart of the state’s outdoor marijuana growing region, his neighbors were alarmed.

Allowing industrial hemp in an area known for churning out high-grade marijuana could undermine the industry, growers argue.

"You don’t come into the middle of cannabis growing country and try to put up a hemp farm unless you don’t know about it, unless you really don’t know how far hemp pollen can travel," said Casey Branham, a Jackson County medical marijuana grower who supports industrial hemp but wants it grown elsewhere in the state.

"It basically makes the medicine worthless," he said.

Branham and his neighbors worry hemp pollen will find its way to their unpollinated female cannabis flowers, known as sensimilla, slowing their growth and leading to seeds. The result: weak, seedy marijuana.

"No one will buy seeded flowers, period," said Cedar Grey, a Williams medical marijuana grower. "The flower market is so competitive these days. You have to have world-class flowers. Anything that is seeded is reminiscent of the 1960s or pot from Mexico. No one is interested in that at all."

And it’s not just southern Oregon’s outdoor marijuana growers who are worried about hemp’s implications. Portland’s indoor marijuana growers worry about hemp pollen drifting into their warehouses through ventilation systems or being tracked into their operations on workers’ shoes.

Shane McKee, a medical marijuana grower who owns two Portland dispensaries, said the potential complications posed by industrial hemp have caught cannabis growers by surprise.

"Nobody really saw the repercussions," said McKee.

Hemp and marijuana are different types of the same species, Cannabis sativa. But hemp lacks marijuana’s most coveted component: THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. In hemp’s case, the gene that fires up marijuana’s high THC production is essentially turned off. So while hemp’s sturdy stalks provide fiber for textiles and its seeds can be added to yogurt and smoothies, the plant is a lousy choice for people seeking marijuana’s high.

Anndrea Hermann, a hemp advocate who lives in Canada and teaches a course on the crop at Oregon State University, said marijuana growers’ concerns are legitimate.

"Is there a risk? Yes, there is a risk to the marijuana growers," said Hermann, who also serves as president of the Hemp Industries Association and owns a hemp products company. "And I will tell you it’s a hard pill to swallow."

Winters is the first to obtain a license to grow industrial hemp from the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Another three people have applied, said Ron Pence, operations manager for commodity inspection for the agency, which oversees the state’s new industrial hemp program.

Pence said the agency has authority to limit where some agricultural crops, such as rapeseed, are cultivated. But it does not have that authority when it comes to industrial hemp.

"It would need a legislative fix," he said.

Oregon lawmakers have taken note of marijuana growers’ objections. Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, said growers peppered his office with emails once Winters’ plans became public. He said lawmakers are exploring potential solutions to protect both crops.

"Nobody wants one crop to endanger another crop," he said.

Oregon’s robust outdoor marijuana growing culture sets it apart from places like Kentucky, which also has a state hemp program. Oregon’s outdoor growers are organized, have an attorney and even a lobbyist. While Kentucky’s agriculture officials are enthusiastic boosters of industrial hemp, marijuana remains illegal.

"Marijuana growers are not so vocal" in Kentucky, said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp, a national hemp advocacy group. "They are not in a position to be able to call up their legislators to ask for a bill protecting their crops."

Winters, for his part, doesn’t see a major problem cultivating hemp near marijuana crops. He said the growing cycle for hemp is shorter than the one for outdoor marijuana and that an earlier harvest means it would not pose a threat to cannabis.

"It’s been doable all over the world," said Winters, who’s also a medical marijuana grower. "People have misconceptions about industrial hemp."

He said marijuana growers need more "education and training and knowledge" about hemp and that he plans to meet with outdoor growers to address their concerns.

He said he’s received strong criticism from marijuana growers and even personal threats since word of his plan spread.

"It’s a viable crop," he said. "There is no way we are going to be forced out of the county. I can tell you that. We are here to stay."

– Noelle Crombie

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Louisville, Ky–Homeless man dies amid frigid temperatures

Posted on February 21, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


 

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When the season’s first cold snap hit in November, Kenneth Winfield arrived at Louisville’s St. John Center for Homeless Men — his hands icy cold after sleeping outdoors.

"He started crying," recalled Maria Price, executive director of the day shelter. "He said, ‘Please help me find an apartment. I don’t want to die out there.’ "

Winfield was found on the steps of the St. John Center amid sub-zero temperatures Thursday night and later died, Price said.

"It’s heartbreaking," she said Friday.

The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office said an autopsy and cause of death were pending.

Price said Winfield was 49 and had been homeless for years. Like many of the chronically homeless, he had battled mental illness and substance abuse, she said. Recently, he had been sleeping in a tent with a girlfriend in a wooded area near downtown.

THE COURIER-JOURNAL

Louisville mayor urges compassion for homeless

While they could have sought refuge at one of the city’s homeless shelters, which open extra space during cold temperatures, they apparently were among the dozens of homeless who often stay outdoors no matter what the conditions, Price said.

Price said Winfield’s girlfriend told her they’d gone past the center at night but, for reasons that aren’t clear, she continued on to their tent while Winfield remained behind. Louisville Fire responded to a report of a "man down" around 8:30 p.m. He was taken to University Hospital, where he died the following day, Mayor Greg Fischer said.

"The homeless, as I’ve said, are particularly vulnerable in this weather," he said. "And we’ve been working to get as many off the streets as we possibly can."

Price said Winfield had applied for a federal supportive housing program that provides a rent voucher, counseling and social service support.

However, during an assessment as part of the application process Winfield "didn’t score high enough to be considered the most vulnerable," Price said, so he was still waiting for an opening. She said officials at the center, whose 70 vouchers are all full, were continuing to work to find him space in other housing programs.

"It once again points to just this horrible choice we’re forced to make when we don’t have enough supply to meet demand," she said.

THE COURIER-JOURNAL

Volunteers check on area homeless

Winfield had been a client at St. John’s for at least four years, Price said, describing him as congenial and friendly. He wanted to serve as an ambassador for the center.

"He’d take a garbage bag around the block and pick up trash. He wanted us to be good neighbors," Price said.

He and his girlfriend had been planning to get married, Price said, and Winfield’s girlfriend told her they were planning to ask if the ceremony could be held at St. John.

Mayor Greg Fischer visited St. John Center during the bitter cold, saying people “need to be thinking about our homeless 365 days a year.“ Video by Matt Stone, The C-J

"We’re all deeply saddened by this," said Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Fischer, who had visited St. John this week to highlight the plight of the homeless.

Officials at Friday’s weather briefing noted that police officers were looking for the homeless along with groups including the YMCA, the Veterans Administration and Wayside Christian Mission.

Natalie Harris, director of the Louisville Coalition for the Homeless, urged residents to contact her group if they wished to volunteer and advocate for more affordable housing.

"He was invisible to most of us because he was homeless," he said.

Reporter Chris Kenning can be reached at (502) 582-4697. Follow him on Twitter at @ckenning_cj.

http://www.courier-journal.com/story/weather/local/winter/2015/02/20/homeless-man-dies-amid-frigid-temperatures/23743015/

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Fast-growing non-profit leverages the power of citizen activism, social media

Posted on February 21, 2015. Filed under: Ecology, Environment, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , |


Fast-growing non-profit leverages the power of citizen activism, social media

 

 

Dear EarthTalk: What is “Moms Clean Air Force” and how can I get involved? — Betsy Edgewater, Salem, Oregon

Moms Clean Air Force is a community of 400,000-plus parents working to combat air pollution and respond to the climate change crisis. The fast-growing non-profit leverages the power of citizen activism and social media to help raise awareness of the need for stricter laws regulating air pollution.

“Moms will do everything they can to keep their children safe and sound,” reports the group. “We look for the healthiest foods we can afford; we avoid toxic chemicals in our products. But there are some things we simply can’t buy. Clean air is one. We need job-creating regulations to assure that our children have clean air right now, and for their future.”

The group’s online “Naptime Activism Center” features links, resources and a “Take Action” center with ways to send messages to Congress and sign petitions for stricter environmental laws. The website is designed to make it easy and fast for busy parents to make their voices heard — all while baby naps.

Currently MCAF is focusing on blocking efforts by lobbyists who represent big polluters that are trying to roll back new air toxic standards and prevent federal agencies from maintaining air and water quality standards. The group warns that toxic air-borne emissions of mercury, arsenic, chromium, nickel, lead, dioxins, volatile organic compounds and other pollutants are poisoning the air we breathe and wreaking untold havoc on the health of younger people whose bodies are still developing.

Cleaning up coal-fired power plants, the primary source of toxic air emissions across the country is a top priority for MCAF. “American coal plants produce 360,000 tons of hazardous air pollutants every year, at a time when nine million U.S. children under 18 have been diagnosed with asthma,” the group reports, adding that asthma attacks triggered by air pollution is the No. 1 reason kids miss school. Another concern is the mercury coming out of coal plant smokestacks: “Over 400,000 newborns in the United States are exposed to mercury levels that can damage brain development, cause learning disabilities, result in language disorders and memory problems, and impair vision and hearing.”

On the climate front, the group’s new free 23-page e-book, “Extreme Weather & Our Changing Climate,” aims to educate parents about the links between our increasingly crazy weather patterns and global warming. “The more informed we are, the more effective we can be in pushing for change,” MCAF reports. Easy-to-read sections explain how climate change and weather are related and how parents can spread the word about the need for stricter laws regulating air pollution and more diligence in reducing our collective carbon footprint.

Visitors to the MCAF website can fill in their names and send messages directly to their Congressional delegations, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other policymakers about strengthening protections against smog pollution, uniting for a strong plan against global warming, ending tax breaks for fossil-fuel producers and stopping the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Sometimes being a good mom means being an active citizen,” the group reports. “Our children can’t fight for themselves. We have to fight for them.”

EarthTalk® is produced by Doug Moss and Roddy Scheer and is a registered trademark of Earth Action Network Inc. View past columns at www.earthtalk.org or email us your question at earthtalk@emagazine.com.

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Clinical trials high on list for medical marijuana community

Posted on February 21, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , , |


17 February 2015   Rebecca Trager

 

The medical marijuana movement is asking the scientific community to make examining the therapeutic potential of cannabis in much more depth a priority, cannabis experts from North America and the UK declared on 14 February at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in California. But the drug’s controlled status is continuing to slow efforts to investigate the myriad compounds in the plant.

The panelists said the evidence is clear that cannabinoids can treat different types of pain effectively. In addition, they cited some evidence that cannabinoids help with neurological conditions like epilepsy. There is also very early clinical trial data suggesting that the molecule cannabidiol (CBD) has an antipsychotic effect and some evidence that it could help with anxiety disorders.

Although cannabis use is associated with things like short-term memory loss and learning problems, the experts presented data showing that once use is stopped those effects disappear within a few days. They also said there is no proof of any long-term neurocognitive effects of chronic marijuana use on the adult brain, although there is some cause for concern about heavy use by adolescents.

The question of whether the compounds have untoward effects remains unclear due to insufficient research. The field is stalled because large clinical trials require the deep pockets of the pharmaceutical sector, but a major barrier is the lack of intellectual property around some of these compounds. ‘They are old drugs, they are hard to lock in patents, and that makes it difficult for someone to invest significantly into these kinds of research studies that might not have the long-term payback,’ explained Mark Ware, who runs the pain research unit at McGill University, Canada.

However, possession of cannabis is still illegal in most US states making it a difficult drug to work with in the clinic. Igor Grant, a neuropsychiatrist who directs the cannabis research centre at the University of California, San Diego, US, has conducted seven clinical trials that involved smoked or inhaled cannabis and all required that he obtain regulatory approvals from three separate agencies before he could even acquire the cannabis for the studies.

Research marijuana for the US is grown by University of Mississippi under government licence. Once investigators clear all of the approvals, they can request the study drug from the NIH in the form of cigarettes containing different concentrations of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC – the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis.

Cannabis in Canada

Cannabis research is far easier to pursue in Canada where there is a regulated government programme. The country controls cannabis differently to other drugs, arguing that it fits neither under natural health product regulations that govern the use of herbal medicines, nor under the pharmaceutical drug regulations.

Some of the Canadian companies that grow cannabis under licence are now funding clinical trials to try and develop a drug, according to Ware. ‘The money is out there, but the trick is to get these kinds of pilot studies – proof-of-concept studies – done that encourage people to do larger-scale trials,’ he said.

The experts agreed that more information is needed about therapeutic use of cannabis. To help fill this gap, the provincial ethics committee in Quebec recently directed that all patients cleared to use cannabis for medical reasons must agree to be part on an ongoing study. Ware has been tapped to help set up a Quebec-wide registry that will allow these patients to be tracked anonymously for adverse events, as well as for things like pain, spasticity, appetite level and mood. The registry is expected to go live by the end of March.

In the US, there has been much media and public interest in a strain of medical marijuana first developed to treat a child suffering from repeated seizures, dubbed Charlotte’s Web, which is high in CBD but does not contain any psychoactive compounds. But Ware is troubled by the phenomenon of parents and patients seeking out CBD therapeutics. ‘We don’t know where the cannabidiol is coming from; there is a tremendous kind of mythology about the stuff coming from eastern Europe or China,’ he said. Hemp farmers in Canada are being approached to produce CBD and are charging huge amounts of money, he added.

The development of such medicinal products is complicated by the fact that cannabis contains over 100 different ingredients that may be bioactive. This flies in the face of the model followed by regulatory agencies like the US Food and Drug Administration that are set up to deal with single molecules rather than complex mixtures.

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Student Free-speech Bill Passes Kentucky Senate

Posted on February 20, 2015. Filed under: CIVIL RIGHTS, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , |


Posted: Fri 8:51 AM, Feb 20, 2015

 

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – A bill touted by its supporters as providing a guide to Kentucky’s public schools on the religious and political free-speech protections of students has passed the state Senate.

The bill, which advanced on a 30-4 vote Thursday, is backed by The Family Foundation. Its executive director, Kent Ostrander, says it puts "a stake in the ground" for the free speech and religious liberty of students.

The measure is opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky. ACLU Program Director Derek Selznick says it’s an unneeded attempt to overregulate something that has First Amendment protections.

The measure wades into controversial subjects such as students wanting to thank God at public school events or wanting to pray before athletic events.

The bill now heads to the Kentucky House for consideration.

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Medical marijuana bill likely dead, Stumbo says

Posted on February 13, 2015. Filed under: KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , , |


Gregory A. Hall, ghall@courier-journal.com 2:48 p.m. EST February 12, 2015

 

 

 

FRANKFORT, Ky. – House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s medical marijuana bill wasn’t going to pass this year anyway, he said Thursday, so his House Bill 3 is likely dead after no vote was taken in a committee hearing.

"It’s not going to pass this session," said Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg. "Everybody knows that."

The purpose of presenting the bill anyway to the House Health and Welfare Committee was to promote discussion on the issue that Stumbo said he believes will become law someday.

RELATED | Bills would legalize medical marijuana in Indiana

"Obviously, there’s a national trend," Stumbo said, after earlier saying he’s been convinced of the need by families in his district who have loved ones battling epilepsy.

Stumbo said he expects the issue to be revisited later this year before next year’s session.

"I think we got the ball rolling," he said. "And I think it’s rolling in the right direction now."

RELATED | Letter | Cannibis legislation

A similar bill passed the House health committee last year but never was put to a vote on the House floor.

Supporters of medical marijuana say it can help treat maladies such as post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, seizures, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Critics of medical marijuana say generally that medical use is not supported by scientific evidence and ultimately leads to recreational abuse and illegal trafficking under the guise of medicine.

While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the U.S. Justice Department has issued guidelines under which it wouldn’t interfere with state marijuana laws — if certain requirements, including having regulatory structure, preventing sales to minors and preventing marijuana from getting to gangs — are met.

Almost two dozen states have laws allowing medical marijuana, not including the District of Columbia. Although Kentucky isn’t one of those, the issue has been supported strongly in previous years’ Bluegrass Polls. Four states allow recreational use.

Reporter Gregory A. Hall can be reached at (502) 582-4087. Follow him on Twitter at @gregoryahall.

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Bats with White Nose Syndrome: An Interview with David Blehert

Posted on February 12, 2015. Filed under: Environment, LATEST NEWS, Mammoth Cave | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


 

 

 

 

On the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin at the United States Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center, David Blehert sits in an office that overlooks a prairie restoration project. Swallows—looking to my amateur eyes an awful lot like the bats Blehert studies—nosedive over the tall grass, missing his window by mere inches.

Blehert is the branch chief of the Wildlife Disease Diagnostic Laboratories, where he and his colleagues investigate the causes of death in wildlife brought to their facilities from across the United States. Their goal is to diagnose and minimize the impact of disease on wildlife.

I visited Blehert to talk about his work with bats with White-Nose Syndrome, a fungal disease that’s killed over six million bats in the past nine years. Blehert and his colleagues isolated the pathogen that causes the disease here in 2008. The following is an edited version of our conversation.

JSTOR DAILY: Tell me about your work with bats.

David Blehert: I’ve been at the USGS-National Wildlife Health Center for about 12 years now. White-Nose Syndrome in bats has been a large part of my research program here since 2008, when we described the fungus that causes the disease.

White-Nose Syndrome is a wildlife disease impacting only hibernating bats. An agency like the USGS-National Wildlife Health Center has expertise in wildlife population, structure, and management, so understanding wildlife diseases like White-Nose Syndrome is central to our mission.

White-Nose Syndrome is caused by a fungus called Pseudogymnoascus destructans… Is it coincidental that the species name sounds like destruction?

No.

Why did this disease emerge now?

Think about all the global travel and trade we see today. I believe we’re building a very strong case that this is likely a pathogen of European origin—with which European bats for the most part co-exist—that was inadvertently brought to the US either by a tourist or through trade. It falls under that guise of pathogen pollution or introduction of a novel pathogen into a naïve host ecosystem. Think of it like an invasive species that’s behaving out of check.

In the winter of 2005–2006, a recreational caver took a photograph of a bat that had white fungus around its nose, but he didn’t know the significance of his photograph of it at the time.

In the winter of 2006–2007, New York State biologists were conducting a semi-annual survey of endangered Indiana bats, and they saw in five caves near Albany, New York either that the bats were missing or they were dead and on the floor.

The next winter, in January 2008, we started getting samples. Four or five months later, by April or May of 2008, we identified the pathogen. I think our first publication in Science came out online in October 2008, and then ended up in the Charles Darwin anniversary print issue, in January of 2009.

Here we are a mere ten years later, and you’ve mentioned that six to seven million bats have died.

Yes, it really has been unprecedented in terms of the rapidity with which this disease has spread… I’m very proud of our track record in terms of defining the basic biology of this pathogen and answering fundamental questions to demonstrate in the laboratory that it causes the disease.

We have some ideas now on the mechanisms by which it kills bats. We’ve made great strides in terms of characterizing how the pathogen has the potential to exist perpetually in these caves so that bats pick it up.

We’ve also defined transmission pathways that spread it bat to bat, though they likely also pick it up in the environment as well. That means that if you are a biologist or recreational caver that goes into a cave and steps in soil that harbors these long-living spores of the fungus, you need to decontaminate your shoes so that you don’t track it to a new cave.

So humans spread it around?

Yes. Since we can’t control the movement of wild animals, we’ve looked to what we can do to enact bio-security measures so that a human does not inadvertently transport spores to a site at greater distance than where you would expect bats to gradually move the pathogen on their own. To date, we have not observed or documented any long-distance jumps of the fungus, and so I think that’s good evidence that what management we can enact is working.

You mentioned that White-Nose Syndrome is “unprecedented” in terms of its destructive force. How would it compare to, say, Colony Collapse Disorder in bees?

It’s quite different, actually. First of all, after as many years, I still don’t think we have a clear cause for Colony Collapse Disorder. Numerous causes have been proposed and it could be some combination of those.

The other major difference is that the bees that are most susceptible, honey bees, are a domesticated, non-native bee species. They’re not “wildlife.”

European honey bees were imported to the United States over 100 years ago and are still to this day maintained under husbandry conditions. You’re talking about something that’s raised in captivity and harbored or maintained by humans, so there are direct management applications.

You’ve been able to identify which fungus is causing White-Nose Syndrome in the bats, but how does it actually kill them?

One of the interesting properties and something that makes this fungus unique, is that it cannot grow above 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

A bat’s body temperature is about 98 to a 100 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s metabolically active. But in the wintertime, bats in temperate regions of North America build up fat reserves and go into a hibernation period for about six months of the year from late October through April.

While they’re hibernating, their body temperature is about the same as the inside of your refrigerator, or close to about 44 degrees Fahrenheit. This lower body temperature allows the fungus to grow.

But hibernation is complicated. Bats go into hibernation for a period of about two to three weeks, and then they come out of hibernation for an hour and then they go back into hibernation for two to three weeks, and then come out for about an hour. They even mate sometimes during those arousal periods.

These arousals, even though they’re not well understood, are believed to be essential to their physiological health.

One of the things people have noticed is that when bats get White-Nose Syndrome, they come out of hibernation more frequently. Their hibernation periods are shortened and their arousal frequency increases.

This disruption to the normal rhythms of hibernation causes them to consume the fat reserves required for them to survive winter.

So could they be starving to death when they have White Nose Syndrome?

That’s one theory.

The disease is called White-Nose Syndrome because they get blooms of fungal growth on their noses. But the primary area where the fungus colonizes the bat is on their un-haired wings. Their wings are basically just skin… The scientific Order bat is chiroptera, which means “hand wing.”

That’s where the fungus starts to grow, on the wing?

Right, and the skin that comprises the wing comprises over 80% of all skin on the bat, so it’s this massive surface area and it’s literally two cell layers thick. It’s exquisitely delicate, and it’s full of nerves and blood vessels and muscle. It’s quite a remarkable structure. It’s the only mammal that is capable of self-powered flight, and it’s a very different flight strategy than that used by birds, even in terms of their basic musculature.

The fungus colonizes this exquisitely delicate skin… and causes profound damage, impacting the ability of the animal to fly, which it has to do in order to feed itself. In addition, these wings also mediate functions like release of CO2 while the animals are hibernating and otherwise breathing at very low rates.

They might only be taking two, three, four breaths a minute during hibernation, and so they can passively off-load some percentage of the CO2 that accumulates in their blood through their wing skin.

There are all sorts of complex physiological functions [of the wing membrane], and that’s what we believe is the heart of the issue, that White-Nose Syndrome is disrupting this delicately balanced physiology of an animal that has to survive for six months of every year without eating.

So the fungus colonizes the skin on their wings, interfering with their ability to fly, and therefore to eat. That sounds mighty grim. Is there any hope?

We have shown both through laboratory and animal work that we did in collaboration with a bat rehabilitator that if you take a bat sick with White-Nose Syndrome out of hibernation, give it a warm environment and feed it, it will get better on its own, so further medical intervention is not required. Other people have gone in to caves and put wing-band markers on hibernating bats that visibly had White-Nose Syndrome, and they’ve later recaptured those bats in the springtime, and they’ve apparently healed or not shown signs of the fungus.

It’s not necessarily an easy route for a bat to cure the infection on its own, but it is possible. We’ve seen that European bats commonly have the fungus on them, and they even develop lesions that under the microscope are indistinguishable from those that we see in North American bats, but they just don’t progress to the point that they kill the bat.

That could be a consequence of those bats having some immunological resistance to the fungus or the environmental conditions under which those European bats hibernate being less conducive to rapid growth and progression of the fungal disease.

European bat populations tend to be much smaller than North American bat populations. The bat populations most heavily impacted by White-Nose Syndrome in eastern North America often numbered tens to even hundreds of thousands of bats per large cave system. In Europe those bat populations, instead of being tens to hundreds of thousands are tens to hundreds of bats.

It could be that as our US populations are drastically reduced to similar levels… there’s lesser amplification of the fungus, so that when bats do get infected, they get infected later in the year, with fewer spores, and the disease does not progress to that highly lethal level.

Then, maybe in the future the bat populations will rebound to some point where they reach whatever balance they can maintain with the fungus.

But a big challenge here [in terms of conservation] is that bats are very, very different from birds or even rodents. Some people call them flying mice, but they are not. Unlike birds or rodents, bats have a very low reproductive rate, producing only one offspring per year, so population recovery, if possible, will likely be slow.

Yes, bats have a bad reputation.

I think that genetically, they may be more closely related to marine mammals than they are to mice. You wouldn’t necessarily think this from looking at them… The ones that are heavily impacted in North America, they weigh six to eight grams, which is about as much as two or three pennies.

Oh, wow, these bats are tiny.

Yes, and their bodies are about two inches, total wingspan is approximately 6 to 8 inches.

Two inches? Their bodies are two inches?

Yes.

Everybody’s so afraid of them!

I know. They’re really cute actually. Nonetheless, these animals live 10 to 20 years and they only have one baby per year, so for an animal that has a high level of parental care and low reproductive rates, their populations do not recover quickly.

When you’re managing wildlife, you have to think in terms of the population because you can’t readily manage populations by treating individual animals. That’s something we do for our pets or our kids or ourselves. But if your goal is to find an economically viable solution to maintaining entire species, you have to look towards something that benefits more than individuals.

What are some of the things people are trying to do to counter the devastation of White-Nose Syndrome?

Something that we’re looking at now is to develop a better understanding of how environmental conditions in hibernation sites contribute to the environmental reservoir of the fungus and to progression of the disease. Is there, for example, a way that you could subtly change temperature profiles of underground hibernation sites? You could propose to do this in an artificial mine, for example, which often are occupied by large numbers of bats.

Right here in the state of Wisconsin, the three largest hibernacula in the state are two sand mines that I think have been in operation since the 1940s, and an abandoned underground iron mine that may harbor up to a half million animals each winter.

You mentioned that one way you’ve tried to stop the spread or deal with this, is by changing the temperature of caves…

Actually lowering the temperature. We’re still developing the data to support this idea, but that’s what we are investigating.

Raising the temperature to the point that it would preclude growth of the fungus would also preclude the ability of the bats to hibernate.

A postdoc in my laboratory, Dr. Michelle Verant, has published a paper in PLOSONE about this.

How on earth would you drop the temperature of a cave?

Well, if it’s a mine, you can drill ventilation tunnels to change airflow patterns.

Are there other possible solutions?

Researchers, including people in my laboratory, are also looking at various bio-control or chemical control strategies, but a lot of these are based on novel ideas and the reality is that novel ideas take time to go through testing and approvals and licensing so that they can be released in the environment. … You’re looking at a decade-off solution.

A disease-management strategy that works in humans and in domestic animals, and that has also been proven to work in wildlife is vaccination. Vaccination is currently used to control the spread of rabies in wild carnivores like raccoons, skunks, foxes. They do that by dropping vaccine that’s put in edible baits from airplanes.

Oh, interesting. So you’d basically be trying to feed the bats something that would vaccinate them against White-Nose Syndrome?

I think it also has much broader implications. Bats, especially in the tropics, have been identified as the reservoirs for some of the horrendous viral diseases you read about in the paper like Ebola, Marburg, SARS, and MERS. So there is the potential that you could do widespread vaccination against zoonotic diseases and start to eliminate them just like we’ve eliminated small pox.

In the meantime, bats are still dying at an alarming rate from White-Nose Syndrome?

What we know about high mortality comes largely from the Northeastern United States. There seemed to be a delay in spread over the Appalachian Mountains into the Southern Midwestern areas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio. There was a delay that I think we can define as about three years from when we first detected the fungus in this group of animals until we started seeing mortality. Now we’re definitely, as of last winter, seeing high bat mortality in those areas, but we don’t yet know how it’s going to compare to what we have seen in the Northeast.

We’ve just had our first detection in Wisconsin, but it’s colder, and maybe a little drier here in the winter so we don’t yet fully understand what the ultimate impacts may be. They could be bad, but then again as you move further into the arid West, once you cross the Mississippi River and the 100th meridian, the country starts transitioning to a drier climate, and there’s different population dynamics. The bats become more dispersed as opposed to hibernating in large caves.

My hope is that some of these species, which also exist west of the Mississippi, will be impacted to a lesser degree. That’s just speculation on my part, but there clearly are some environmental differences.

I know little brown bats are affected, but what other major bat species get White-Nose Syndrome?

One called the Eastern pipistrelle (some call it the Tri-colored bat) is heavily impacted. The Northern long-eared bat is a candidate for the endangered species listing because of this disease. The Indiana bat, which is on the endangered species list, is definitely susceptible, and then there’s some other, less common species in which infection has been documented but has not necessarily had adverse impacts, like the Eastern small-footed bat. The Big Brown bat does get infected, but also seems to be somewhat resistant, and it’s also less frequently found in caves. It really is the cave hibernating bats that are most at risk.

What can people do to try to help stop the spread of this?

Following what are called “Universal Precautions” in disease epidemiology—not moving from one cave to another without decontaminating—will help. If you’re a recreational caver, do not bring gear from an infected site to an uninfected site. Also, anything that supports bat habitat will help the bats.

Bats have such a bad reputation. So many people are afraid of them. They think of Dracula or they think of rabies or even Ebola. Some people might say “Good riddance,” what does it matter that bats are dying?

Bats are an integral component of our ecosystem. They consume vast amounts of insects. Those bats consuming insects can be referred to as providing an “ecosystem service,” and people have valued the “ecosystem services” provided by bats to US agriculture in the tens of billions of dollars a year.

We don’t understand all of contributions that bats provide to our ecosystem, but if you take too many bricks out of the bottom course of the wall, eventually the whole wall can collapse. I think it’s important to recognize that bats have intrinsic value in and of themselves as unique element of our world.  CONTINUE READING…


JSTOR Citations

DNA-based detection of the fungal pathogen Geomyces destructans in soils from bat hibernacula
Daniel L. Lindner, Andrea Gargas, Jeffrey M. Lorch, Mark T. Banik, Jessie Glaeser, Thomas H. Kunz and David S. Blehert
Mycologia
Vol. 103, No. 2 (March/April 2011) , pp. 241-246
Published by: Mycological Society of America

Colony Collapse Disorder: Many Suspects, No Smoking Gun
Myrna E. Watanabe
BioScience, Vol. 58, No. 5 (May 2008), pp. 384-388
Published by: Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Institute of Biological Sciences

Inoculation of bats with European Geomyces destructans supports the novel pathogen hypothesis for the origin of white-nose syndrome
Lisa Warnecke, James M. Turner, Trent K. Bollinger, Jeffrey M. Lorch, Vikram Misra, Paul M. Cryan, Gudrun Wibbelt, David S. Blehert and Craig K. R. Willis
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 109, No. 18 (May 1, 2012) , pp. 6999-7003
Published by: National Academy of Sciences

Use of Temperature-sensitive Transmitters to Monitor the Temperature Profiles of Hibernating Bats Affected with White-Nose Syndrome”
Eric R. Britzke, Price Sewell, Matthew G. Hohmann, Ryan Smith and Scott R. Darling
Northeastern Naturalist
Vol. 17, No. 2 (2010) , pp. 239-246
Published by: Eagle Hill Institute

animalsbatsbats with white-nose syndromeBioScienceDavid BlehertDavid S. BlehertMycologiaNortheastern NaturalistPNASPseudogymnoascus destructanswhite-nose syndrome

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Bill promotes donation of game meat to charities

Posted on February 12, 2015. Filed under: Hunting, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , |


February 10, 2015

Image result for kentucky deer

FRANKFORT – The state Senate passed a bill today to ensure the continued operation of a nonprofit dedicated alleviating hunger and malnutrition in Kentucky.

Sen. Robin L. Webb, D-Grayson, who sponsored the legislation known as Senate Bill 55, said it would prevent any city, county or any public health department for disallowing the practice of donating game meat. She said the nonprofit Kentucky Hunters for The Hungry already provides 60,000 pounds to 70,000 pounds of mostly deer meat every year that allows food kitchens to serve an additional 560,000 meals.

“This is a wonderful and best use of the resources God gave us,” Webb said.

She said the bill ensures the game meat is harvested in Kentucky, properly field dressed and taken to processors certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

The tradition of donating game meat started in 1988 after state deer herds had grown beyond carrying capacity in some areas and biologists were encouraging additional doe harvest, Webb said. This led to discussions between avid hunters who wanted to oblige wildlife management but had concerns about what to do with extra venison.

The formal organization Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry was incorporated in July 2000 with the support of the state fish and wildlife department.

SB 55 passed with a 35-0 vote. It now goes to the House for consideration.

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100 Paralyzed Children, Each a Mystery

Posted on February 11, 2015. Filed under: Healthcare, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , |


Since August, more than 100 children across the country have developed a condition best described in three words no parent ever wants to hear: mysterious, sudden paralysis.

The kids have a median age of 8, and three-quarters of them were previously perfectly healthy. For most, the loss of feeling occurred only on one side of the body.

According to the CDC, in most of the children the paralysis coincided with a nasty cold. That made health workers initially think that the paralysis was caused by a rare virus called enterovirus D68. EV-D68, as it’s known, is a severe respiratory virus that was going around at the start of school last year, and because it’s a relative of polio, it was thought to be causing the polio-like loss of muscle function.

 

But now, researchers aren’t so sure. Of the 71 paralyzed children whose cerebrospinal fluid was tested, none came back positive for enterovirus. The virus has been found in nasal swabs taken from some of the paralyzed children, but researchers say that doesn’t indicate as strong of a link as the spinal fluid would have. Researchers at Children’s Hospital Colorado are currently attempting to determine whether the children suffering from paralysis have elevated levels of enterovirus 68 antibodies.

 

Mary Anne Jackson, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s Mercy Hospital and one of the first doctors to recognize enterovirus D68, said her hospital has had three cases of paralysis. None of the paralyzed kids had enterovirus D68, however, and none of the hospital’s 300 patients who had confirmed enterovirus D68 later became paralyzed.

"Right now we have two scenarios and we have no idea how they’re related," Jackson told me.

Nationally, only one of the paralyzed children has fully recovered, and about two-thirds have gotten slightly better.

The existence of an unknown paralytic disease is frightening, but the CDC points out it’s yet another reason for parents to get kids up-to-date on vaccinations:

"Although the specific causes of this illness are still under investigation, and causal relationship to EV-D68 has not yet been substantiated," the agency said in a statement, "being up to date on all recommended vaccinations is essential to prevent a number of severe diseases."

 

This article was originally published at http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/02/100-cases-of-child-paralysis-all-a-mystery/385323/?UTM_SOURCE=yahoo

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Jails in Kentucky are overflowing with inmates, but you may not realize many of the inmates are there for profit

Posted on February 10, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoners | Tags: , , , , , , |


 

    • Posted: Feb 09, 2015 3:12 PM CST Updated: Feb 09, 2015 6:00 PM CST

By Emily Mieure

Connect

  The Kentucky Department of Corrections started sending state inmates to local jails in the early 1980s — the Bullitt County Jail is just one of them.

Metro corrections is the largest jail in Kentucky with 1,793 beds.

Metro corrections is the largest jail in Kentucky with 1,793 beds.

  Metro Corrections doesn’t house state inmates because they don’t even have enough room for local inmates.

  Louisville Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton says if he had the room, he would gladly house state inmates like other counties.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Most local jails in Kentucky are overflowing with inmates, but you may not realize many of the inmates are there for profit.

The Kentucky prison population is big and many prisoners are passed around the commonwealth. There are 12 prisons operated by the Kentucky Department of Corrections across the state and many of them are at capacity — if not above it.

When asked what could be improved with regards to the prison population, Nelson County Jailer Dorcas Figg said flat out: "Well, if we had more beds."

Figg has been working with jails for over 40 years and she said she doesn’t foresee the overcrowding problem changing.

"Because it’s not a money making business," she said.

So instead of being in state facilities, about a third of the commonwealth’s 12,000 prisoners are sleeping in county jails.

Some wonder if that’s dangerous, but local jailers insist it’s a good thing.

"It helps the counties out a whole lot," Figg said.

She says the Kentucky Department of Corrections started sending state inmates to local jails in the early 1980s. Since then, the conditions at county facilities have improved.

"Sometimes they couldn’t even hardly survive back then," said Figg. "Then once the state took it over, that was a great thing because you had standards you had to meet. Back then, you didn’t have standards," she added.

Figg’s 102-bed jail is mostly full of local inmates, but she says housing state inmates helps the budget because The Kentucky Department of Corrections pays county jails at least $31.34 per state prisoner per day. A small percentage of that goes into a jail fund.

Sometimes the state will send a prisoner to a certain county for convenience.

"I get letters from state inmates wanting to come here to make them closer to home," Figg explained. "If I had the beds, I would take any state I could because that’s beds that are being paid for — but we don’t have the beds."

Not having enough beds is a problem across the commonwealth, and Bullitt County Jailer Martha Knox says it’s a constant balancing act.

"It’s very frustrating," Knox said.

While her 304-bed jail is usually at or above capacity, she has an entire wing dedicated to only housing state prisoners. Trying to keep the right amount of local and state inmates is a daily struggle, but she says making room for the state prisoners is worth the money.

"It doesn’t pay everything but it is a big incentive," said Knox.

That money adds up because a state prisoner can stay in a local jail for up to five years.

While this seems to work well in most counties, none of it applies to Jefferson County.

Metro Corrections doesn’t house state inmates because they don’t even have enough room for local inmates.

"We take whoever the police brings us," Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton said. "We’re 24/7, 365. Police bring them, we’re going to take them."

"As far as I know, we’ve never been a class C or D facility and by that I mean we don’t house state inmates here in Jefferson County," Bolton explained. "We just don’t have the capacity to do it."

Metro corrections is the largest jail in Kentucky with 1,793 beds. Last year, it housed an average of 1,850 inmates — so where do the extras go?

"They end up going on the floor in a temporary bed and then we get them in a bed in the order they’re brought to us when a bed is freed up," Bolton said.

He says over the years, they’ve found ways to tackle the overcrowding issue.

"We have seen the population trend down in 2014 to about a ten-year low so that’s fairly significant progress I think," said Bolton.

He gives partial credit to House Bill 463, which reduced penalties for some drug crimes. But he said Jefferson County’s Home Incarceration Program has also contributed to the decline in the population. At any given time, there are about 700 inmates on home incarceration — 600 of them are monitored through GPS.

"I think that is another element of technology that we’ve brought to the local arena here," Bolton noted. "I think the judges and prosecutors appreciate that that technology is now here and I think they’re making very prudent decisions with respect to public safety."

While some think it’s dangerous to keep certain inmates on home incarceration, Bolton says it’s a program he stands behind.

"We need to protect the public and lock people up we’re afraid of, not people that we’re mad at."

Bolton says if he had the room, he would gladly house state inmates like other counties.

"Corrections does an incredible job moving people throughout the state based upon beds that are free in other jurisdictions," he said.

Bolton said the population at Metro Corrections peaked near 1,650 in December, which he said he hadn’t seen in over six years.

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Chemtrail Source Material Finally Unveiled

Posted on February 10, 2015. Filed under: Environment, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , |


 

For the last two decades the source material for chemtrails has been a mystery. Finally, the apparent ‘perfect’ element base material of chemtrails sprayed from airplanes—both government and commercial—that causes blanket clouds and welsbach reflective materials in the atmosphere, has been identified. It’s coal fly ash wastes from coal burning power plants!

Chemtrail Source Material Finally Unveiled

In the almost 13 minute video posted below, the basic scientific analysis of coal ash identifies fly ash, which is high in aluminum oxide—about 30%. From the 9 minute mark on the timeline, important information should be noted.

Apparently, coal ash—both types—is difficult and extremely expensive to dispose of, something like a billion dollar problem per plant, according to the video. However, fly ash easily is transported away from power plants by railcars—the very mode of transportation that brings the coal to the power plant to be burned. Trucks and barges also are used in transporting it to bases for spraying.

What seems to be going on is this: Just like fluoride, which is a protoplasmic poison and toxic waste, coal fly ash has been forced into humans too. We drink fluoride in our municipal water supplies under the guise that it will protect our teeth—what a crock of malarkey!

For at least two decades, we have been breathing coal fly ash deliberately being sprayed as part of weather geoengineering.

Southeast Coal Ash Waste is an important resource to check out.

Here’s another video that shows and talks about the extreme cold weather in the USA and melting Arctic methane as of January 8, 2015.

Commentary is made that no low pressure is allowed to build up in order to control weather in the Pacific and West Coast of the USA. Aerosol trails over California prevent low pressure from building up, which may explain why California doesn’t get rain.

There’s a map in the video with accompanying incredible information. Southern Alaska temperatures in January 2015 are in the 45s and 48. Definitely, not normal! Furthermore, there’s heavy chemtrailing going on over the Gulf of Mexico to keep the Jet Stream straight all the way to Europe. The 2013-14 brutal winter pattern is upon us again—a second winter in a row!

Strange January 2015 Weather Events” around the globe, especially earthquakes! See strange sky things—and all in just one month!

Please share this information with everyone you know. Send it to your members of Congress, state legislators, newspapers, your local weather forecasters—everyone. We have to save our beautiful planet Earth.

Catherine retired from researching and writing, but felt compelled to write this article.

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

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People Sign “I Support Illiteracy” Petition to “Spread Illiteracy” in America

Posted on February 9, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


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Have a Samsung SmartTV? It’s listening to your private conversations

Posted on February 9, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on FOX6Now.com:

[van id=”tech/2015/02/09/samsung-eavesdropping-tv.hln”]

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Be careful what you say in front of your Samsung TV. It’s listening to you.

Many Samsung “SmartTVs” come equipped with voice recognition, which allows you to bark commands at your TV. Since the television is always listening for your voice, Samsung has warned its SmartTV customers that every word is being captured and sent over the Internet.

“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition,” Samsung posted in its SmartTV privacy policy.

Okay, that’s pretty creepy.

Samsung says it needs to send your voice commands to a third-party, because that company converts your speech to text. But Samsung also collects your voice commands to perform research and determine whether it needs to make improvements to the feature.

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Bill Gates’ Polio Vaccine Program Caused 47,500 Cases of Paralysis Death

Posted on February 9, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on Random Candidate:

In India, Monsanto hired Bollywood actors to promote genetically engineered cotton seed to illiterate farmers. Nana Petakar became a brand ambassador for Monsanto. The advertising has been called “aggressive, unscrupulous and false.


Read more at http://investmentwatchblog.com/bill-gates-polio-vaccine-program-caused-47500-cases-of-paralysis-death/#be0Qm2CE7jcFZCIW.99

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Mexican judge orders release of cartel ‘Queen of the Pacific’

Posted on February 9, 2015. Filed under: Drug War, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , |


Published February 08, 2015

Associated Press

 

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MEXICO CITY –  A Mexican federal judge threw out a five-year, money-laundering sentence for Sandra Avila Beltran, ordering the immediate release of the "Queen of the Pacific" for her alleged role as a liaison between Mexican and Colombian drug cartels.

A statement issued Saturday by the Attorney General’s Office said the judge ruled that Avila already had been tried for the same crime in Mexico and the United States.

The ruling brings to an end a saga that began in 2007, when Avila was arrested while sipping coffee in a Mexico City diner.

Her case is widely known in Mexico because Avila is the niece of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo, "the godfather" of Mexican drug smuggling who is serving a 40-year sentence for trafficking and the murder of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena in 1985.

Prosecutors alleged Avila spent more than a decade working her way to the top of Mexico’s drug trade. They said her romance with Colombian Juan Diego Espinoza Ramirez brought together Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa cartel with Colombia’s Norte del Valle cartel.

Avila was tried in connection with the seizure of more than nine tons of U.S.-bound cocaine on a vessel in Mexico’s western port of Manzanillo and acquitted in December 2010. A Mexican appeals court upheld the verdict in 2011.

But she remained jailed while Mexican courts decided on a U.S. extradition request, which judges granted in 2012. Avila also faced charges stemming from several seizures in Chicago in 2001 that amounted to 100 kilograms of cocaine.

A 2004 indictment in the Southern District of Florida did not specify Beltran’s role in the drug-dealing case. In a plea deal in Miami in 2013, she pleaded guilty to a lesser count of being an accessory after the fact in an organization that included Espinosa Ramirez, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to cocaine trafficking charges.

She was sentenced to time served and returned to Mexico, where she was sentenced on the money-laundering conviction last year.

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Prohibition Repeal Is A Good Model For Marijuana Legalization

Posted on February 7, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, PROHIBITION | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


9:51 AM 12/05/2014

Marijuana plants for sale are displayed at the medical marijuana farmers market at the California Heritage Market in Los Angeles, California July 11, 2014.  REUTERS/David McNew

Today is the 81st anniversary of the repeal of federal alcohol prohibition.

The 21st Amendment ended the failed experiment of Prohibition and delegated the issue of alcohol legalization and regulation solely to the states.

The 21st Amendment was neither “for” nor “against” alcohol. It was simply an acknowledgment that federal prohibition was an obvious failure and a nod towards state’s and individual rights. No state was required to legalize alcohol. It was their choice.

The repeal of prohibition has been a tremendous success. This country has the best regulated beverage alcohol industry in the world while still being the world’s most dynamic. Just ask any beer drinker!

Fast forward to the present. Republicans made huge gains in last month’s elections, decisively winning control of the Senate, increasing their dominance in the House to a level not seen since the 40’s, controlling 33 governorships and more state legislators than any time since the 1920s. They now have the opportunity to cement and expand these gains and to create a permanent majority.

How? By leading the charge to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. You don’t have to be “pro-cannabis” to be against prohibition.

Like it or not, illicit marijuana is available in every corner of this country. Any teenager can get it with little effort. Most say it’s far easier to get than beer.

Criminal gangs across the country rake in tens of billions of dollars each year selling marijuana. Milton Friedman once said, “See, if you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That’s literally true.”

In 2012, 750,000 people were arrested for mere possession. That’s about one arrest every 48 seconds! And a disproportionate number of the people arrested on marijuana-related charges are minorities.

The federal prohibition of marijuana has been as profound a failure as the attempted federal prohibition against alcohol. The solution is the same. Let the states decide and regulate as they see fit.

Here in Colorado, the legalization of marijuana has been a resounding success. Teen use is down. Auto fatalities are at near historic lows. Crime is down across the board. Tax revenue is flowing in.

If Republicans want to expand their base, they need to show they truly believe in a liberty-based agenda. Reach out to groups that historically have not been favorable to the Republican brand and prove through action that they have much more in common than they might think. Individual freedom is a winning message for people of all colors and all walks of life.

Republicans in Congress should pass legislation within their first 60 days in office repealing federal prohibition and placing the issue with the individual states and their citizens.

A statement such as, “I’m personally against it but believe in the wisdom of the people” can be a get-out-of-jail-free card for all who fear being branded pro-marijuana. The issue isn’t for or against marijuana but rather whether a legal, state regulated market is preferable to a prohibition market. Alcohol or marijuana, the answer to this is clear.

The alternative is Republicans turning off another generation of voters who think of them as the party that speaks of individual freedom but whose actions suggest they want to control other people’s lives. These folks have seen the failure of big government and most big institutions. Their loyalty can be obtained, but the party has to walk the walk.

Think I exaggerate? Here in Colorado, the Republican challenger for governor was ahead by 10 points in a September poll. Then, showing the Republican skill for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, he stated he would like to recriminalize marijuana. His lead evaporated almost overnight.

He lost by 58,000 votes and singlehandedly damaged the Republican brand for a generation of young Colorado voters. There are over 10,000 people directly employed in this Colorado industry and hundreds of thousands of consumers. That’s a lot of voters to antagonize; many of them motivated single issue folks.

What if the GOP could create a new supporter every 48 seconds rather than trying to throw them in jail?

Freedom and liberty win. Prohibition and attempting to control people’s lives loses. Republicans, if you believe what you say, end the federal prohibition on marijuana. A permanent majority awaits. It is yours for the taking.

John Conlin is a self-employed management consultant providing services to beer, wine, and spirits distributors across the country. He is also in the process of starting a marijuana-infused edibles company.

 

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Tags: John Conlin, Marijuana, Prohibition

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The Dirty Fuc*ing Hippies were right!

Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Opinions |


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Decoding the Kentucky Marijuana Bills

Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: Activists Opinions, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, ShereeKrider | Tags: , , , , , |


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The following is a synopsis of the proposed Bills currently in House and what they mean to us.

HB 305/CI (BR 395) – B. Yonts

AN ACT relating to crimes and punishments.
Amend and create various KRS sections to convert certain misdemeanors to pre-payable violations and set fines.

Feb 5-introduced in House

Legislature Home Page | Record Front Page

Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the newest version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill.

 

The highlights for the cannabis users are below:

 

(1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.
(2) Any person who violates this section shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense

(1) “Drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter. It includes but is not limited to:

(a) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived;

(e) Scales and balances used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring controlled substances;

(g) Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining marijuana;
(h) Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances;
(i) Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances;

(l) Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body, such as: metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls; water pipes; carburetion tubes and devices; smoking and carburetion masks; roach clips which mean objects used to hold burning material, such as marijuana cigarettes, that have become too small or too short to be held in the hand; miniature cocaine spoons, and cocaine vials; chamber pipes; carburetor pipes; electric pipes; air-driven pipes; chillums; bongs; ice pipes or chillers.

 

My opinion on this bill is that it is a “ lesser of the evils” for us and that is IT. Period.

In fact I am not sure how much of a lesser evil it really is when you consider that this is not any form of legalization at all.  It is just a reduction in the punishment for an illegal activity.

SB 79/CI (BR 805) – P. Clark

 

     AN ACT relating to marijuana.
     Amend KRS 218A.1422 to make the possession of two ounces of marijuana or less a violation punishable by a maximum fine of $75; amend KRS 218A.1423 to make cultivation of five marijuana plants or less a Class B misdemeanor; name the Act the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Act.

     Jan 9-introduced in Senate
     Feb 3-to Judiciary (S)

Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the first version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill as shown below.

 

(1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.

(2) Possession of two (2) ounces of marijuana or less shall be a violation that is punishable by a maximum fine of seventy-five dollars ($75).

(3) Possession of more than two (2) ounces of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, except that, KRS Chapter 532 to the contrary notwithstanding, the maximum term of incarceration shall be no greater than forty-five (45) days.

âSection 2. KRS 218A.1423 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of marijuana cultivation when he knowingly and unlawfully plants, cultivates, or harvests marijuana with the intent to sell or transfer it.

(2) Marijuana cultivation of six (6)[five (5)] or more plants of marijuana is:

(a) For a first offense a Class D felony.
(b) For a second or subsequent offense a Class C felony.

(3) Marijuana cultivation of fewer than six (6)[five (5)] plants is[:

] a Class B misdemeanor

[(a) For a first offense a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) For a second or subsequent offense a Class D felony].

(4) The planting, cultivating, or harvesting of six (6)[five (5)] or more marijuana plants shall be prima facie evidence that the marijuana plants were planted, cultivated, or harvested for the purpose of sale or transfer.

âSection 3. This Act shall be known and may be cited as the Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Act.

 

My opinion on this Bill is that it would be the better of the two “decrim” Bills submitted because at least there is a “grow” clause in it as long as you are not “trafficking”.  However, Marijuana still remains illegal and prohibited by law under this Statute as well.  The laws are all about the “control” issue.  Either way they continue to make money at our expense for growing and using a “plant”.  As well as the fact that we remain criminals.

Last but not least is the :

Medical Marijuana Bill Kentucky 2015 , SB 43/LM/CI (BR 287)

 

AN ACT relating to medical cannabis.
     Create various new sections of KRS Chapter 218A to establish a comprehensive system for medical cannabis in Kentucky, including provisions for medical verification of need, persons allowed to cultivate, use, and possess the drug, organizations allowed to assist in providing the drug, regulation by the state Department for Public Health, interaction with state and local governments, including law enforcement, with persons and entities coming within the purview of the Act, and the establishment of required reporting and review procedures; amend KRS 218A.040 to conform; name the Act the Cannabis Compassion Act.

     Jan 7-introduced in Senate
     Jan 13-to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S)

READ AS FOLLOWS:  Direct Link to Bill

For the purposes of Sections 1 to 25 of this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Bona fide practitioner-patient relationship" means that:

(a) A practitioner and patient have a treatment or consulting relationship, during the course of which the physician has completed an assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including an appropriate personal physical examination;

(b) The practitioner has consulted with the patient with respect to the patient’s debilitating medical condition; and
(c) The physician is available to or offers to provide follow-up care and treatment to the patient, including but not limited to patient examinations;

(2) "Cannabis" means all parts of the plant Cannabis sp., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds orr resin or any compound, mixture, or preparation which contains any quantity of these substances. The term "cannabis" does not include industrial hemp as defined in KRS 260.850;

(3) "Cardholder" means a qualifying patient, visiting qualifying patient, or a designated caregiver who has been issued and possesses a valid registry identification card;

In my opinion this is an all out medical marijuana bill with all the regulations, Doctors, Pharmaceutical entities as well as Dispensaries lined up in a row.  Once again, Freedom is not involved here.  It is regulation at its finest through all aspects of the Government.   If it is regulated medical marijuana that a patient is looking for then this would be the Bill for them.  For many people it may be a good thing.  However, it still does not free the Cannabis plant to the general public and the Statutes of controlled substances will still be alive and well with this Bill.

This is three options that we have in Kentucky that may or most probably won’t pass this year anyway.  But not one of these options repeals prohibition even on a State level and will still open up persecution of those choosing to use Cannabis which fall short of the guidelines set by the State Government even if one or more of them are passed.

I still believe the only way to get society at large out of the mouth of the prison industrial complex for using Cannabis in any form is REPEAL of all laws pertaining to the Cannabis plant!

Prohibition did not work – Neither will Legalization – It is time to REPEAL and nullify unconstitutional Statutes regarding the cultivation and use of Marijuana on a Human level!

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Amend and create various KRS sections to convert certain misdemeanors to pre-payable violations and set fines.

Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, legislation, Read the Bills | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


 

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HB 305/CI (BR 395) – B. Yonts

AN ACT relating to crimes and punishments.
Amend and create various KRS sections to convert certain misdemeanors to prepayable violations and set fines.

Feb 5-introduced in House

Legislature Home Page | Record Front Page

 

Thru the DIRECT LINK above can be found the newest version of the Kentucky “decrim” bill.

The following text has been copied from that record:

 

AN ACT relating to crimes and punishments.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

âSection 1. KRS 218A.1422 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of possession of marijuana when he or she knowingly and unlawfully possesses marijuana.

(2) Any person who violates this section shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[Possession of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor, except that, KRS Chapter 532 to the contrary notwithstanding, the maximum term of incarceration shall be no greater than forty-five (45) days].

âSection 2. KRS 218A.210 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person to whom or for whose use any controlled substance has been prescribed, sold, or dispensed, by a practitioner or other person authorized under this chapter, may lawfully possess it only in the container in which it was delivered to him by the person selling or dispensing the same.

(2) Any person who violates this section shall be fined two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[Violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class A misdemeanor for subsequent offenses].

âSection 3. KRS 218A.500 is amended to read as follows:

As used in this section and KRS 218A.510:

(1) “Drug paraphernalia” means all equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter. It includes but is not limited to:

(a) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, or harvesting of any species of plant which is a controlled substance or from which a controlled substance can be derived;
(b) Kits used, intended for use, or designed for use in manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, or preparing controlled substances;
(c) Isomerization devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in increasing the potency of any species of plant which is a controlled substance;
(d) Testing equipment used, intended for use, or designed for use in identifying, or in analyzing the strength, effectiveness or purity of controlled substances;
(e) Scales and balances used, intended for use, or designed for use in weighing or measuring controlled substances;
(f) Diluents and adulterants, such as quinine hydrochloride, mannitol, mannite, dextrose and lactose, used, intended for use, or designed for use in cutting controlled substances;
(g) Separation gins and sifters used, intended for use, or designed for use in removing twigs and seeds from, or in otherwise cleaning or refining marijuana;
(h) Blenders, bowls, containers, spoons, and mixing devices used, intended for use, or designed for use in compounding controlled substances;
(i) Capsules, balloons, envelopes, and other containers used, intended for use, or designed for use in packaging small quantities of controlled substances;
(j) Containers and other objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in storing or concealing controlled substances;
(k) Hypodermic syringes, needles, and other objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in parenterally injecting controlled substances into the human body; and
(l) Objects used, intended for use, or designed for use in ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing marijuana, cocaine, hashish, or hashish oil into the human body, such as: metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic pipes with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls; water pipes; carburetion tubes and devices; smoking and carburetion masks; roach clips which mean objects used to hold burning material, such as marijuana cigarettes, that have become too small or too short to be held in the hand; miniature cocaine spoons, and cocaine vials; chamber pipes; carburetor pipes; electric pipes; air-driven pipes; chillums; bongs; ice pipes or chillers.

(2) It is unlawful for any person to use, or to possess with intent to use, drug paraphernalia for the purpose of planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packing, repacking, storing, containing, concealing, injecting, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter.

(3) It is unlawful for any person to deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver, drug paraphernalia, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that it will be used to plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, manufacture, compound, convert, produce, process, prepare, test, analyze, pack, repack, store, contain, conceal, inject, ingest, inhale, or otherwise introduce into the human body a controlled substance in violation of this chapter.

(4) It is unlawful for any person to place in any newspaper, magazine, handbill, or other publication any advertisement, knowing, or under circumstances where one reasonably should know, that the purpose of the advertisement, in whole or in part, is to promote the sale of objects designed or intended for use as drug paraphernalia.

(5) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[guilty of a Class A misdemeanor].

âSECTION 4. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 218A IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 5. KRS 434.851 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of unlawful access in the third degree when he or she, without the effective consent of the owner, knowingly and willfully, directly or indirectly accesses, causes to be accessed, or attempts to access any computer software, computer program, data, computer, computer system, computer network, or any part thereof, which results in the loss or damage of less than three hundred dollars ($300).

(2) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined two hundred fifty dollars ($250) for each offense[Unlawful access to a computer in the third degree is a Class A misdemeanor].

âSection 6. KRS 434.853 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of unlawful access in the fourth degree when he or she, without the effective consent of the owner, knowingly and willfully, directly or indirectly accesses, causes to be accessed, or attempts to access any computer software, computer program, data, computer, computer system, computer network, or any part thereof, which does not result in loss or damage.

(2) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be fined one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[Unlawful access to a computer in the fourth degree is a Class B misdemeanor].

âSECTION 7. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 434 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 8. KRS 511.070 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the second degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in a building or upon premises as to which notice against trespass is given by fencing or other enclosure.

(2) Criminal trespass in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 9. KRS 511.080 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal trespass in the third degree when he knowingly enters or remains unlawfully in or upon premises.

(2) Criminal trespass in the third degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of fifty dollars ($50) for each offense.

âSECTION 10. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 511 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 11. KRS 512.060 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal possession of a noxious substance when he possesses such substance under circumstances evincing an intent unlawfully to use or cause it to be used to inflict injury upon or to cause annoyance to a person, or to damage property of another, or to disturb the public peace.

(2) Criminal possession of a noxious substance is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 12. KRS 512.070 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal littering when he:

(a) Drops or permits to drop on a highway any destructive or injurious material and does not immediately remove it; or
(b) Knowingly places or throws litter on any public or private property or in any public or private water without permission; or
(c) Negligently places or throws glass or other dangerous pointed or edged substances on or adjacent to water to which the public has access for swimming or wading or on or within fifty (50) feet of a public highway; or
(d) Discharges sewage, minerals, oil products, or litter into any public waters or lakes within the state.

(2) Criminal littering is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor].

(3) Violators may prepay to the Circuit Court clerk if prepayment is so noted on the citation and if the littering offense is not combined with an offense that is not prepayable.

(4) Notwithstanding any language or provision of this section or KRS 65.8808(3) to the contrary, the legislative body of a local government may, by ordinance, choose to classify the offenses proscribed in subsection (1) of this section as civil offenses in accordance with KRS 65.8808.

âSECTION 13. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 512 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 14. KRS 516.130 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of unlawfully using slugs in the second degree when:

(a) With intent to defraud the owner, licensee or lessee of a coin machine, he inserts, deposits or uses a slug in such machine; or
(b) He makes, possesses or disposes of a slug with intent to enable a person to insert, deposit or use it in a coin machine.

(2) Unlawfully using slugs in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

The offense shall be prepayable except:

(a) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(b) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(c) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 15. KRS 517.030 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of false advertising when, in connection with the promotion of the sale of or to increase the consumption of property or services, he knowingly makes or causes to be made a false or misleading statement in any advertisement addressed to the public or to a substantial number of persons.

(2) False advertising is a violation and shall carry a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor].

âSection 16. KRS 517.040 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of bait advertising when in any manner, including advertising or other means of communication, he offers to the public or a substantial number of persons property or services as part of a scheme or plan with the intent not to sell or provide the advertised property or services:

(a) At the price at which he offered them; or
(b) In a quantity sufficient to meet the reasonably expected public demand, unless the quantity is specifically stated in the advertisement; or
(c) At all.

(2) Bait advertising is a violation and shall carry a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor].

âSECTION 17. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 517 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 18. KRS 519.030 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of compounding a crime when:

(a) He solicits, accepts or agrees to accept any benefit upon an agreement or understanding that he will refrain from initiating a prosecution for a crime; or
(b) He confers, offers, or agrees to confer any benefit upon another person upon agreement or understanding that such other person will refrain from initiating a prosecution for a crime.

(2) In any prosecution under this section, it is a defense that the benefit did not exceed an amount which the defendant reasonably believed to be due as restitution or indemnification for harm caused by the offense.

(3) Compounding a crime is a violation and shall carry a fine of two hundred dollars ($200) for each offense[ Class A misdemeanor]. The offense shall be prepayable except:

(a) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(b) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(c) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 19. KRS 525.050 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of unlawful assembly when:

(a) He assembles with five (5) or more persons for the purpose of engaging or preparing to engage with them in a riot; or
(b) Being present at an assembly which either has or develops such a purpose, he remains there with intent to advance that purpose.

(2) Unlawful assembly is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 20. KRS 525.080 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of harassing communications when, with intent to intimidate, harass, annoy, or alarm another person, he or she:

(a) Communicates with a person, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, telegraph, mail, or any other form of written communication in a manner which causes annoyance or alarm and serves no purpose of legitimate communication;
(b) Makes a telephone call, whether or not conversation ensues, with no purpose of legitimate communication; or
(c) Communicates, while enrolled as a student in a local school district, with or about another school student, anonymously or otherwise, by telephone, the Internet, telegraph, mail, or any other form of electronic or written communication in a manner which a reasonable person under the circumstances should know would cause the other student to suffer fear of physical harm, intimidation, humiliation, or embarrassment and which serves no purpose of legitimate communication.

(2) Harassing communications is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 21. KRS 525.060 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of disorderly conduct in the second degree when in a public place and with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance, or alarm, or wantonly creating a risk thereof, he:

(a) Engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous, or threatening behavior;
(b) Makes unreasonable noise;
(c) Refuses to obey an official order to disperse issued to maintain public safety in dangerous proximity to a fire, hazard, or other emergency; or
(d) Creates a hazardous or physically offensive condition by any act that serves no legitimate purpose.

(2) Disorderly conduct in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 22. KRS 525.100 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of public intoxication when he appears in a public place manifestly under the influence of a controlled substance, or other intoxicating substance, excluding alcohol (unless the alcohol is present in combination with any of the above), not therapeutically administered, to the degree that he may endanger himself or other persons or property, or unreasonably annoy persons in his vicinity.

(2) Public intoxication is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSection 23. KRS 525.150 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of disrupting meetings and processions in the second degree when, with intent to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, procession, or gathering, he or she does any act tending to obstruct or interfere with it physically or makes any utterance, gesture, or display designed to outrage the sensibilities of the group.

(2) Disrupting meetings and processions in the second degree is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense[ Class B misdemeanor].

âSECTION 24. A NEW SECTION OF KRS CHAPTER 525 IS CREATED TO READ AS FOLLOWS:

(1) All offenses classified as violations under this chapter shall be prepayable except:

(a) Any offense which could result in license suspension or revocation by the court;
(b) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(c) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(d) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

(2) If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

âSection 25. KRS 530.070 is amended to read as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree when:

(a) Acting other than as a retail licensee, he knowingly sells, gives, purchases or procures any alcoholic or malt beverage in any form to or for a minor. The defendant may prove in exculpation that the sale was induced by the use of false, fraudulent, or altered identification papers or other documents and that the appearance and character of the purchaser were such that his age could not have been ascertained by any other means and that the purchaser’s appearance and character indicated strongly that he was of legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages. This subsection does not apply to a parent or guardian of the minor;
(b) He knowingly induces, assists, or causes a minor to engage in any other criminal activity;
(c) He knowingly induces, assists or causes a minor to become a habitual truant; or
(d) He persistently and knowingly induces, assists or causes a minor to disobey his parent or guardian.

(2) Unlawful transaction with a minor in the third degree, other than a violation of subsection (1)(c) of this section, is a Class A misdemeanor. A violation of subsection (1)(c) of this section is a violation and shall carry a fine of one hundred dollars ($100) for each offense. A violation of subsection (1)(c) of this section shall be prepayable, except:

(a) An offense where evidence of the offense or of commission of another offense is seized by the officer and the citation is so marked and a court date set;
(b) If the offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable; or
(c) If an arrest is made under KRS 431.015.

If a prepayable offense is cited with another offense that is not prepayable, a court appearance shall be required on all of the offenses as required by KRS 431.452.

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Surgeon General Says Yes to Science, Admits Weed Has Medical Benefits

Posted on February 6, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , |


Vivek Murthy says marijuana is ‘helpful’ for certain medical conditions. Could this be the tide-turner for legalization?

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy believes in science.

As he answered questions Wednesday about the measles outbreak that is turning into the year’s first public health emergency, the 37-year-old doctor assured Americans that vaccines are safe and that government policy is informed by sound data and scientific consensus. When CBS This Morning host Gayle King pivoted to ask Murthy for his views on marijuana, the country’s youngest ever surgeon general gave an answer that was at once historic and entirely consistent with his scientific approach.

“We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms that marijuana can be helpful,” Murthy said. “We have to use that data to drive policy making.”

While a first for a surgeon general, this was not actually a risky statement. Murthy’s belief is in line with the positions of the American College of Physicians (PDF), the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the American Nurses Association (PDF), the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (PDF), The California Medical Association (PDF), Dr. Sanjay Gupta, countless less famous but equally sincere physicians, and laws in 23 states and the District of Washington that permit the use of marijuana for medical conditions including multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, epilepsy, and a host of cancer-related symptoms.

But the statement also seemed to put the nation’s top health official in direct conflict with federal law. To the Department of Justice and its Drug Enforcement Agency, marijuana remains, along with heroin, a Schedule I narcotic, defined as “drugs with no currently accepted medical use.” Cocaine and crystal meth, on the other hand, are listed as Schedule II drugs, with “less abuse potential.”

This absurd policy has been inexplicable for so long, that the nation’s highest officials have given up trying to defend it.

“I don’t think it’s more dangerous than alcohol,” President Obama said to The New Yorker’s David Remnick about marijuana last year. Casual as his remark seemed, Obama rocked the drug reform movement. Just weeks after the president said what a sizable majority of Americans already agreed with, a group of 18 representatives from nine states took a stand on the issue and, in a gesture of bi-partisan consent, wrote a letter (PDF) that called on Obama to take executive action.

“We were encouraged by your recent comments in your interview with David Remnick,” the name-dropping representatives wrote. “Classifying marijuana as Schedule I at the federal level perpetuates an unjust and irrational system. We request that you instruct Attorney General Holder to delist or classify marijuana in a more appropriate was, at the very least eliminating it from Schedule I or II.”

This absurd policy has been inexplicable for so long, that the nation’s highest officials have given up trying to defend it.

Nine months later, in his exit interview with Katie Couric, Holder passed the buck right back.

“At the federal level marijuana is still classified in the same category as heroin,” Couric said. “In your view should that change?”

“I think that’s certainly a question that we need to ask ourselves,” Holder said, “whether or not marijuana is as serious a drug as is heroin.” Couric nodded and as Holder weighed the pros and cons, she pressed him on decriminalization. That, he said, is “something for Congress to decide.”

Congressional action might be Holder’s preference, but it is not actually mandated by the law.

“Eric Holder could initiate that process today if he wanted to,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, a decriminalization advocacy group, and pointed out that the 1970 Controlled Substances Act gives the attorney general sweeping power to define and classify the full schedule of illegal drugs. At the same time, Angell said, “Congress could pass a bill to move marijuana from Schedule I to a lesser one, or make it unscheduled, like alcohol or tobacco.”

But as public opinion on the issue passes the super majority mark, neither branch of government has made a move. “In essence, the Justice Department and Congress are both begging each other to fix federal marijuana laws,” wrote Christopher Ingraham at the Washington Post. An aide to Senator Rand Paul told The Daily Beast that the Kentucky lawmaker is considering a bill this year that would reschedule the drug. “It’s a work in progress,” the aide said, but couldn’t offer any specifics. 

In his interview with Couric, Holder left open the possibility that his department could one day endorse rescheduling marijuana. Whatever is decided, Holder said the government should let science be the guide. “Use science as the basis for that determination,” he said.

A Department of Justice spokesman said, “the Department supports research into potential medical uses of marijuana.” Surgeon General Murthy told the Daily Beast that “marijuana policy—and all public health policies—should be driven by science” and that “the Federal Government has and continues to fund research on possible health benefits of marijuana and its components.”

The problem with this, said Angell, is how difficult it is even for academic institutions to gain government approval for such studies. The American Medical Association (AMA), one of the most conservative organizations on marijuana decriminalization, changed its long-held position on classification in 2009. Marijuana’s ongoing schedule I classification “limits the access to cannabinols for even research,” said Edward L. Langston, MD, an AMA Board of Trustees member. “It is very difficult,” he told American Medical News, to legally research the substance. A report by the AMA Council on Science and Public Health that same year found that, “bureaucratic hurdles apply to cannabis research that do not impede other drug investigations.”

Evidence for the claim is not hard to find. At the University of Massachusetts, an agricultural professor has been trying for more than 15 years to gain approval to grow cannabis for research. In Kentucky, the DEA finally released a shipment of research-bound hemp seeds last May, but only after the state’s agricultural commissioner sued the agency in federal court.

The medical community and public opinion has come a long way in the 20 years since Dr. Jocelyn Elders, Surgeon General under President Bill Clinton, took flak for defending decriminalization. But even as a new surgeon general calls for more science, Angell said the research opportunities won’t change until the laws do, and that politicians are lagging behind most Americans on the issue.

“They don’t realize that a majority of Americans are ready for medical marijuana to be legalized,” he said. “They perceive it as dangerous when it is not.” 

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Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act, or FAIR Act

Posted on February 2, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , |


 

 

 

Federal lawmakers are swinging the axe at a particularly disturbing aspect of the drug war – civil asset forfeiture laws in the United States. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Angus King (I-ME) and Mike Lee (R-UT) submitted proposals in both houses of Congress earlier this week in an effort to reform a policy that profits in part off innocent citizens.

The bipartisan legislation is called the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act, or FAIR Act. If passed, it would put a toe tag on the Equitable Sharing Program, a smarmy scheme that allows law enforcement agencies to capitalize on property seizures without a conviction – and without even providing evidence of a crime – while hiding behind of the Department of Justice.

Essentially, the cops are being rewarded for shaking down and stealing from suspected drug offenders, never required to prove guilt or return the seized items upon acquittal.

United States Attorney General Eric Holder attempted to remedy this conundrum earlier this month, announcing a plan to amend the civil asset forfeiture law, making it mandatory for a conviction to take place before police agencies could receive a payout. And while Holder’s upgrade to this profit strategy excited some members of the drug reform community, his move actually did more to promote a new level of underhandedness within the drug war by giving cops the incentive to do whatever they deem necessary to ensure a solid case for the prosecution.

After all, the Equitable Sharing Program has contributed a great deal of wealth to otherwise downtrodden police departments since the 1980s, with billions of dollars made off the seizure of automobiles, cash and other property. Interestingly, law enforcement agencies are given free reign on how this money is spent, so it stands to reason that they have grown accustom to staying well greased under this program. How else could they afford to drive armored assault vehicles to the homes of stoners and threaten them with automatic weapons?

“For decades police have used civil asset forfeiture to rob innocent people, taking money right out of their wallets — or even taking their home and their car — without even charging them with a crime,” Bill Piper with the Drug Policy Alliance said in a recent statement. “Like other drug war programs, civil asset forfeiture is disproportionately used against poor people of color who cannot afford to hire lawyers to get their property back.”

The FAIR Act has strong congressional support, which could mean policing for profit is on borrowed time.

Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.

LINK TO PDF

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Loretta Lynch’s hard-line stance on marijuana is making Colorado sweat

Posted on February 2, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Politics | Tags: , , , , , |


Attorney general nominee veers from Obama’s no-big-deal rhetoric

 

Attorney General nominee breaks with President Obama's no-big-deal on marijuana.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

 

By Valerie Richardson – The Washington Times – Sunday, February 1, 2015

DENVER — Nobody in the Colorado marijuana industry is panicking, but those involved are sweating a little over the hard line taken by Loretta Lynch, President Obama’s pick to be the next attorney general, on legalization during this week’s Senate confirmation hearing.

“Quite a few of my members were expressing concern and nervousness,” said Michael Elliott, executive director of the Colorado Marijuana Industry Group. “But I’m not sure we could have expected much more than we just heard. Even the president, who came out saying that marijuana is no more dangerous as alcohol, is also on the record as being against legalization.”

States that have legalized or are considering legalizing recreational marijuana use butted heads continually with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who refused to relax stricter federal laws against pot use. Judging from this week’s performance, the fight won’t end when Mr. Holder leaves.

A federal prosecutor in New York, Ms. Lynch told the Senate Committee on the Judiciary she disagreed with the president’s no-big-deal take on pot, saying, “I certainly don’t hold that view and don’t agree with that view of marijuana as a substance.”

“I think the president was speaking from his personal experience and personal opinion, neither of which I’m able to share,” Ms. Lynch said. “But I can tell you that not only do I not support the legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization. Nor would it be the position should I become confirmed as attorney general.”

Her stance buoyed legalization foes such as Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, who said in a statement, “We are breathing a sigh of relief.”

“For her to come out so adamantly against legalization is extremely encouraging,” said Mr. Sabet, a former official in the White House drug czar’s office. “It will give our efforts a shot in the arm.”

Marijuana advocates downplayed her responses, pointing out that she was testifying before the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee and that its chairman, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, opposes recent state moves to legalize recreational marijuana.

In fact, the day before Wednesday’s hearing, Mr. Grassley took to the Senate floor to condemn the Obama administration’s decision to allow states that have legalized recreational pot for adults to proceed within certain parameters with regulated retail markets. Federal laws banning pot, he said, should trump state statutes.

Colorado and Washington launched retail marijuana markets last year, while voters in Alaska and Oregon passed ballot measures in November allowing recreational pot use and sales for adults 21 and over. The District of Columbia has approved adult pot use but not sales.

Mason Tvert, who led the successful 2012 ballot campaign in Colorado, argued that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and cracked, “Fortunately, [Ms. Lynch] has been nominated for attorney general, not surgeon general.”

“We can only hope she was telling some lawmakers what they need to hear in order to get through the confirmation process,” Mr. Tvert said in an email. “It would be shocking if she is actually unaware that marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol.”

The Department of Justice issued a guidance in 2013 that essentially allows states to proceed with adult marijuana use and sales while warning that prosecutors would still enforce eight priorities, including keeping marijuana away from children and avoiding pot diversion to other states.

Tom Angell, who heads Marijuana Majority, said in an email that Ms. Lynch also appeared to indicate that she would follow the Justice Department guidance.

“While it’d be ideal to have an attorney general who agrees with the majority of Americans that it is time to end marijuana prohibition, we really don’t need federal officials to personally support legalization,” Mr. Angell. “We only need them to respect the will of voters who have implemented legalization in their own states.”

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Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/feb/1/loretta-lynchs-stance-on-pot-may-be-problematic-fo/#ixzz3Qc8CBoXS
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"I got a hemp jacket in Las Vegas (last Friday), somebody gave me one," Paul said

Posted on February 1, 2015. Filed under: Elections, LATEST NEWS, Politics | Tags: , , , |


 

 

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., was in Reno Saturday to open the campaign season for the 2016 Nevada GOP presidential caucus.

During a private interview before his meeting with voters, Paul was asked about his support of growing hemp as a commercial product.

Sure, he’s all for it, but lacked knowledge on just how Nevada law stands on the subject.

"I got a hemp jacket in Las Vegas (last Friday), somebody gave me one," Paul said jokingly. "I asked if I was breaking any laws wearing it. I put it on and had some pictures taken in my new hemp jacket."

Seriously, Paul views hemp is a cash crop for his Kentucky farmers. It comes from the Cannabis sativa plant, like marijuana. Yet hemp does not have enough of the intoxicate (THC) to get you high – even if you smoked a bushel.

"Kentucky used to be a big producer of hemp," Paul said.

In 1850, Kentucky produced 40,000 tons of it, according to historical records.

"You can make clothes out of it," Paul said "You can actually make paper out if it. It takes 15 years to grow trees and you can grow hemp in one year and be the equivalent of what it would take in 15 years to grow trees to make paper out of. So we think there are a lot of things that could happen by growing hemp."

Uses for hemp are endless, from clothes to cars, plastics, paints, building materials, rope, paper, linens, food, medicine and ointments.

IN NEVADA, SEN. TICK SEGERBLOM, D-Las Vegas, is sponsoring a bill for the 2015 Legislature about hemp. It would allow the growing of hemp as part of a federal pilot program that allows state departments of agriculture to oversee industrial hemp growing, in conjunction with university research programs.

The federal hemp program was part of the 2014 Federal Farm Bill that passed Congress with the help of Sen. Paul.

"I helped to get that (hemp growing) put into the Farm Bill," Paul said. "Sen. (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell helped me and we got that passed so you can have some hemp growing. There may still be some state laws needed to accommodate it. But from a federal perspective, we have a lot of universities growing it."

Segerblom noted that George Washington, the father of our nation, grew hemp at his Virginia farm. In doing research that found Segerblom’s assertion correct, I also learned that Ben Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America and it processed hemp into paper.

Segerblom notes that hemp takes about half the water to grow as a Northern Nevada staple – alfalfa.

And Segerblom, who is considered one of the most liberal members of the Legislature, may soon have a conservative co-sponsor to his hemp bill in Assembly Whip Jim Wheeler, R-Minden.

"I am definitely going to look at it," Wheeler said. "I don’t see a big problem with hemp."

Segerblom is considered the champion of the 2013 effort to set up Nevada’s medical marijuana governmental infrastructure. Wheeler wants to read Sergerblom’s bill before co-sponsoring it.

"I want to see what he has written into the bill; we know Tick," Wheeler joked.

Paul’s concern about saving trees by growing hemp for paper is nothing new. In 1916, the federal government predicted that by the 1940s, all paper would come from hemp, so there would be no need to cut trees for paper, according to the Collective Evolution website.

Yet in 1937, Congress passed the "Prohibitive Marihuana Tax Law" and hemp – an American staple since colonial times – was outlawed.

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This is an open letter to Jack Conway about the Democratic primary campaign for Governor of Kentucky

Posted on January 31, 2015. Filed under: KENTUCKY, KY ELECTIONS, LATEST NEWS, Political | Tags: , , , , , |


Geoffrey M Young

https://www.facebook.com/geoffrey.m.young.9?fref=nf

Geoffrey M Young

 

Public Debate Challenge #2: The death penalty.

This is an open letter to Jack Conway about the Democratic primary campaign for Governor of Kentucky, which officially started on Tuesday, January 27 when I filed the papers and named my new running mate for Lt. Governor, Johnathan Masters.

I don’t throw around the word "unethical" lightly, but your refusal to date to contact me to set up a series of debates is an unethical campaign tactic. It constitutes an admission that you don’t care whether Kentucky’s registered Democrats have all the information they need to decide who would make the better candidate for Governor, you or I. You also don’t seem to care whether they have enough information to decide who would make the better Governor of Kentucky, you or I.

You seem to be trying to coast to victory in the Dem primary on 5/19/15 using the pile of cash you’ve amassed over the last several months. Enabled by biased reporters such as Sam Youngman of the Lexington H-L, you seem to be trying to pretend I don’t exist. That’s unethical. I’ll say it again: It’s unethical for any candidate to refuse to debate with his opponent about the most important issues, especially when it comes to a Democratic primary. However many ethical failings the 4 Republican candidates might have – and they have a great many – at least none of them is unethical enough to pretend he has no opponents.

Stan Lee (R) used this unethical strategy against me in our campaign for the Ky House in 2012 in Fayette County. Elisabeth Jensen used the same unethical strategy against me in 2014 during the Dem primary. Her unethical strategy worked well enough to earn her the nomination against Andy Barr (R), but Barr went on to crush her in the general election because she was way out of her depth. She had no experience in politics and I had 35 years. I won 39% of the Dem vote on 5/20/14 anyway, even though she spent 9 times as much money. I’m quite convinced that I would’ve been able to beat Barr if I had received any support at all from the Dem Party Establishment in this state.

If you keep refusing to reply to my debate challenges, you’ll conclusively prove to the voters of Kentucky that you’re just one more unethical politician who doesn’t deserve their respect or their vote either in May or November (if you defeat me in May).

Has your position on the death penalty changed since December, 2011? http://fatlip.leoweekly.com/…/jack-conway-wants-to-continu…/

Public Debate Challenge #2 – Geoff Young (D) vs. Jack Conway (D)

The topic: "Should the death penalty in Kentucky be abolished forever?"

Location: Any indoor facility in Kentucky that can accommodate live TV coverage

Time: 7:00 pm or 8:00 pm, precise time TBD

Possible dates: February 3, 4, 6, 9, or 10, TBD by mutual agreement

Sponsoring organization: the Kentucky Democratic Party

Moderator: TBD

Please call me at (859) 278-4966 at your earliest convenience to hammer out these details.

Campaign web site: young4ky.com

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Jaime Montalvo–Guest Editorial WDRB, Louisville, Ky.

Posted on January 29, 2015. Filed under: Activists, CBD/Cannabidiol, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana, Patients | Tags: , , , , , |


Guest POV | Medical Marijuana

Posted: Jan 28, 2015 9:33 AM CST Updated: Jan 28, 2015 3:55 PM CST

WDRB Guest Editorial By Jaime Montalvo

I have Multiple Sclerosis. I’ve been fighting this disease for eight years.

I have muscle spasms, tremor uncontrollably, and I’m scared. Cannabis relieves these symptoms.

In Kentucky, thousands of Veterans suffer from PTSD and haven’t responded to treatment.

Sadly, too many choose suicide as a last resort for escaping their demons. I have personal combat veteran friends who testify that smoking Cannabis relieves them within seconds after waking up from horrendous nightmares.

Kentucky has the highest cancer death rate of all 50 states. You probably know someone who has had cancer. Cancer treatments also bring some of the most debilitating side effects. Twenty thousand Kentuckians a year face this diagnosis. Marijuana has been studied and proven to relieve these effects. The nausea brought about by chemotherapy is relieved within seconds of inhaling Cannabis.

The Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana reports over 90,000 individuals suffer from epilepsy in our area. Like cancer treatments, medications used to manage seizures have debilitating side effects. Not every patient can tolerate the treatments, and the drugs often stop working. Cannabis oil has been heralded for decreasing certain patients’ seizures from 300 per week to zero or one.

Cannabis is helping us cope with our symptoms. Please help us by contacting your legislator at 800-372-7181 asking them to support medical marijuana legislation.

I’m Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, and that’s my point of view.

 

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(FEDERAL PETITION) KENTUCKY CANNABIS HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE (KCHHI)

Posted on January 27, 2015. Filed under: Cannabis/Marijuana, CIVIL RIGHTS, Healthcare, HEMP, Human Rights, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |


repeal.prohibition.poster

I am taking this petition to the top!  It has now been listed on “We the People” petitions to the Whitehouse at Whitehouse.gov.

Please follow thru and sign the FEDERAL Petition which I have posted today.

I am still supporting this Initiative as the right way to proceed with REPEAL of prohibition!

Anything less and they are just running us around in circles to end up on their agenda of continued Prohibition thru regulation and the prison system.

Join me in the fight for REPEAL!

Kentucky HEMP/HEALTH INITIATIVE:

WILL REPEAL ALL STATUTES REGARDING CANNABIS/HEMP IN THE U.S.

THIS IS A REQUEST TO REDEFINE THE CANNABIS/HEMP STATUTES IN THEIR ENTIRETY.

THRU REPEAL OF ALL STATUTES AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL THE GARDENING OF CANNABIS/MARIJIUANA/HEMP WILL RETURN TO THE PEOPLE THEIR GOD GIVEN RIGHT TO GARDEN AND TO GROW THE CANNABIS/MARIJUANA/HEMP PLANT FOR THEIR OWN PERSONAL USE WITHOUT TAXATION NOR INTERFERENCE FROM FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL LAW WHEN NOT IN A SALES ENVIRONMENT.

THIS PETITION ALSO ASKS FOR GOVERNMENT ASSURANCE OF OUR “RIGHT TO GARDEN” THIS PLANT AND NOT BE INUNDATED WITH REGULATIONS UPON THE SEEDS USED FOR SUCH GARDENING.

THE FULL TEXT OF THIS INITIATIVE IS LOCATED AT:

http://www.constitutionalcannabis.com/kchhi.html

WRITTEN BY: MARY THOMAS-SPEARS OF BOWLING GREEN, KY.

PROMOTED BY: SHEREE KRIDER OF CAVE CITY, KY.

This initiative is a re-write of CCHI (California Hemp Health Initiative, which was introduced in California in 2012)

We believe it to be the best model of action for the Country at large, as it allows Cannabis/Marijuana/Hemp to be utilized at all levels of Society and the fear of prosecution for such to be REPEALED in its entirety.

Please take the time to review this initiative in its entirety as “We the People” need you to once and for all end the war on this plant and the costs associated with it that are being funded by the taxpayers of this Country for no justifiable reason.

THIS LINK IS TO THE F E D E R A L PETITION AT WHITEHOUSE.GOV

WETHEPEOPLE1

Kentucky Cannabis Hemp Health Initiative

http://www.constitutionalcannabis.com/kchhi.html

Framework taken from the Jack Herer Initiative aka CCHI1013. An initiative I had the honor of having a personal hand helping to word, redefining the cannabis/marijuana/hemp movement through selective wording. While attempting to protect and free the plant, the farmers, the prisoners, and the people from validating and mandating over regulation and enslavement through the legal lies = legalize = “common words used”  commonly leading us to Corporate G.M.O.’s = {genetic mutated organisms} which “equal genetically modified crops”, seed ownership through patent, small farmers being sued or enslaved,… While they continue to build their Military Industrial Complex with our tax dollars, lives…  So it seems only appropriate I use it as a base to follow and put it forth here within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

AN ACT TO AMEND THE HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF KENTUCKY:

I. Add Section ________ to the Health and Safety Code of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, to amend, nullify, restore through repeal of any and all unconstitutional laws or policies to the contrary, including those on the Federal and U.N. Levels, notwithstanding,:

1. No person, individual, or corporate entity shall be arrested or prosecuted, be denied any right or privilege, nor be subject to any criminal or civil penalties for the possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp marijuana, including:

(a) Cannabis hemp industrial products.
(b) Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations.
(c) Cannabis hemp nutritional products.
(d) Cannabis hemp religious and spiritual products.
(e) Cannabis hemp recreational and euphoric use and products.

2. Definition of terms:

(a) The terms “cannabis hemp” and “cannabis hemp marijuana” mean the natural, non-genetically modified plant hemp, cannabis, marihuana, marijuana, cannabis sativa L, cannabis Americana, cannabis chinensis, cannabis indica, cannabis ruderalis, cannabis sativa, or any variety of cannabis, including any derivative, concentrate, extract, flower, leaf, particle, preparation, resin, root, salt, seed, stalk, stem, or any product thereof.

(b) The term “cannabis hemp industrial products” means all products made from cannabis hemp that are not designed or intended for human consumption, including, but not limited to: clothing, building materials, paper, fiber, fuel, lubricants, plastics, paint, seed for cultivation, animal feed, veterinary medicine, oil, or any other product that is not designed for internal human consumption; as well as cannabis hemp plants used for crop rotation, erosion control, pest control, weed control, or any other horticultural or environmental purposes, for example, the reversal of the Greenhouse Effect and toxic soil reclamation.

(c) The term “cannabis hemp medicinal preparations” means all products made from cannabis hemp that are designed, intended, or used for human consumption for the treatment of any human disease or condition, for pain relief, or for any healing purpose, including but not limited to the treatment or relief of: Alzheimer’s and pre-Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, arthritis, asthma, cramps, epilepsy, glaucoma, migraine, multiple sclerosis, nausea, premenstrual syndrome, side effects of cancer chemotherapy, fibromyalgia, sickle cell anemia, spasticity, spinal injury, stress, easement of post-traumatic stress disorder, Tourette syndrome, attention deficit disorder, immunodeficiency, wasting syndrome from AIDS or anorexia; use as an antibiotic, antibacterial, anti-viral, or anti-emetic; as a healing agent, or as an adjunct to any medical or herbal treatment. Mental conditions not limited to bipolar, depression, attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, shall be conditions considered for medical use.

(d) The term “cannabis hemp nutritional products” means cannabis hemp for consumption by humans and animals as food, including but not limited to: seed, seed protein, seed oil, essential fatty acids, seed cake, dietary fiber, or any preparation or extract thereof. Not Taxable

(e) The term “cannabis hemp euphoric products” means cannabis hemp intended for personal recreational or religious use, other than cannabis hemp industrial products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, or cannabis hemp nutritional products.

(f) The term “personal use” means the internal consumption of cannabis hemp by people 18 years of age or older for any relaxational, meditative, religious, spiritual, recreational, or other purpose other than sale.

(g) The term “commercial production” means the production of cannabis hemp products for sale or profit under the conditions of these provisions.

(h) The term “non-genetically modified ” is used to define or establish the Prohibition of any and all Unnatural “genetically modified organism (GMO)” is used to refer to any microorganism, plant, or animal in which genetic engineering techniques have been used to introduce, remove, or modify specific parts of its genome of any and all cannabis, cannabis sativa L, marijuana, hemp,…. Examples include plants being modified for pest resistance; lab animals being manipulated to exhibit human diseases, such as sickle cell anemia; and even glowing jellyfish genes inserted in a rabbit for an art piece.
Ref: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Genetically-modified+organism
As Apposed To =  To Clarify that there is a Recognized Difference between G.M.O. and Genetically Engineered

(i) The term “genetic engineering” involves isolating individual DNA fragments, coupling them with other genetic material, and causing the genes to replicate themselves. Introducing this created complex to a host cell causes it to multiply and produce clones that can later be harvested and used for a variety of purposes. Current applications of the technology include medical investigations of gene structure for the control of genetic disease, particularly through antenatal diagnosis. The synthesis of hormones and other proteins (e.g., growth hormone and insulin), which are otherwise obtainable only in their natural state, is also of interest to scientists. Applications for genetic engineering include disease control, hormone and protein synthesis, and animal research.
Ref: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Genetically-modified

3. Industrial cannabis hemp farmers, manufacturers, processors, and distributors shall not be subject to any special zoning requirement, licensing fee, tax that is excessive, discriminatory, double taxation or prohibitive.

4. Cannabis hemp medicinal preparations are hereby restored to the list of available medicines in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Licensed physicians shall not be penalized for, nor restricted from, prescribing or recommending cannabis hemp for medical purposes to any patient, regardless of age. No tax shall be applied to prescribed cannabis hemp medicinal preparations. Medical research shall be encouraged. No recommending physician shall be subject to any professional licensing review or hearing as a result of recommending or approving medical use of cannabis hemp marijuana. Cannabis hemp nutritious foods are medicine and therefore are subject to current Commonwealth Food & Drug Tax Code Exemptions

5. Personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products.

(a) No permit, license, or tax shall be required for the non-commercial cultivation, transportation, distribution, or consumption of cannabis hemp.

(b) No unconstitutional Testing for inactive and/or inert residual cannabis metabolites shall not be allowed for employment or insurance, nor be considered in determining employment, other impairment, or intoxication, or qualifications for benefits, programs or education,…  Including Protections of Families, against Unconstitutional Testing for Cannabis residual,… and/or Cannabis Use shall not/can not be used to take Custody of children from their families, parents or legal guardians.

(c) When a person falls within the conditions of these exceptions, the offense laws do not apply and only the exception laws apply.

6. Use of cannabis hemp products for religious or spiritual purposes shall be considered an inalienable right; and shall be protected by the full force of the State and Federal Constitutions.

7. Commerce in cannabis hemp euphoric products shall be limited to adults, 18 years of age and older, and shall be regulated in a manner analogous to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s tobacco industry model. For the purpose of distinguishing personal from commercial production, 99 flowering female plants and 12 pounds of dried, cured cannabis hemp flowers, bud, not leaf, produced per adult, 18 years of age and older, per year shall be considered as being for personal use.

8. The manufacture, marketing, distribution, or sales between adults of equipment or accessories designed to assist in the planting, cultivation, harvesting, curing, processing, packaging, storage, analysis, consumption, or transportation of cannabis hemp plants, industrial cannabis hemp products, cannabis hemp medicinal preparations, cannabis hemp nutritional products, cannabis hemp euphoric products, or any cannabis hemp product shall not be prohibited.

9. No Commonwealth of Kentucky law enforcement personnel or funds shall be used to assist or aid and abet in the enforcement of Federal cannabis hemp marijuana laws involving acts which are hereby declared unconstitutional, therefore no longer illegal, as they are considered repealed and nullified in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

10. Any person who threatens the enjoyment of these provisions is guilty of a misdemeanor. The maximum penalties and fines of a misdemeanor may be imposed.

II. Nullify, Repeal, delete, and expunge any and all existing statutory laws that conflict with the provisions of this initiative.

1. Enactment of this initiative shall include: amnesty, immediate release of custody from prison, jail, parole, and probation, and clearing, expungement, and deletion of all criminal records and/or all social/family service records/cases for all persons currently charged with, or convicted of any non-violent cannabis hemp marijuana offenses included in this initiative which are hereby no longer illegal in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. People who fall within this category that triggered an original sentence are included within this provision.

2. Within 60 days of the passage of this Act, the Commonwealth Attorney General shall develop and distribute a one-page application, providing for the destruction of all cannabis hemp marijuana criminal records in the Commonwealth of Kentucky for any such offense covered by this Act. Such forms shall be distributed to district and city commonwealth attorneys and made available at all police departments in the Commonwealth to persons hereby affected. Upon filing such form with any Superior Court and a payment of a fee of $10.00, the Court shall liberally construe these provisions to benefit the defendant in furtherance of the amnesty and dismissal provision of this section. Upon the Court’s ruling under this provision the arrest record shall be set aside and be destroyed. Such persons may then truthfully state that they have never been arrested or convicted of any cannabis hemp marijuana related offense which is hereby no longer illegal in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. This shall be deemed to be a finding of factual innocence under Kentucky Penal Code Section 218A.010, et seq.

3. Law abiding Cannabis Growers and Consumers retain the Right to possess Firearms as granted to them by the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution. For the use of their protection and prosperity which includes hunting.

III. The legislature is authorized upon thorough investigation, to enact legislation using reasonable standards to:

1. License concessionary establishments to distribute cannabis hemp euphoric products in a manner analogous to the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s tobacco industry model. Sufficient community outlets shall be licensed to provide reasonable commercial access to persons of legal age, so as to discourage and prevent the misuse of, and illicit traffic in, such products. Any license or permit fee required by the Commonwealth for commercial production, distribution or use shall not exceed $1,000.00 and not more than $500.00 per small farmer or small business.

2. Place an excise tax on commercial and corporate sale of cannabis hemp euphoric products, analogous to the Commonwealth’s tobacco industry model, so long as no excise tax or combination of excise taxes shall exceed $10.00 per ounce.

3. Regulate the personal use of cannabis hemp euphoric products in enclosed and/or restricted public places.

4. Exempt cannabis marijuana hemp from any and all farming tobacco “Base” laws, regulations, codes, statutes, which “restricted” or “limit” number of licenses,… based on science that “does not apply” to the agricultural cultivation, propagation, growth or farming of cannabis marijuana hemp which has been scientifically proven to reclaim, remove toxins and restore soil, ground water and our ozone.

IV. Pursuant to the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky hereby nullify, repudiate and challenge Federal cannabis hemp marijuana prohibitions that are in conflict with this Act and our Constitutions, both Federal and our Commonwealth’s.

V. Severability: If any provision of this Act, or the application of any such provision to any person or circumstance, shall be held invalid by any court, the remainder of this Act, to the extent it can be given effect, or the application of such provisions to persons or circumstances other than those as to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this end the provisions of this Act are severable.

VI. Construction: If any rival or conflicting initiative regulating any matter addressed by this act receives the higher affirmative vote, then all non-conflicting parts shall become operative.

VII. Purpose of Act: This Act is an exercise of the police powers of the Commonwealth for the protection of the safety, welfare, health, and peace of the people and the environment of the Commonwealth, to protect the industrial and medicinal uses of cannabis hemp, to eliminate the unlicensed and unlawful cultivation, selling, and dispensing of cannabis hemp; and to encourage temperance in the consumption of cannabis hemp euphoric products. It is hereby declared that the subject matter of this Act involves, in the highest degree, the ecological, economic, social, and moral well-being and safety of the Commonwealth and of all its people. All provisions of this Act shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes: to respect human rights, to promote tolerance, to uphold the Constitutions both Federal and the Commonwealth’s and to end cannabis hemp prohibition. To nullify, repeal and challenge the U.N. to end cannabis marijuana hemp prohibition which is half of the worldwide so-called “War on Drugs”created to uphold the interest of Big Chema, Big Pharma, Big Corps and their Synthetic Military Industrial Prison Complex and to uphold the interest of the people and it’s own Universal Declaration of Human Rights for the reasons already stated with-in it.

***************
Due to the fact that the Commonwealth of Kentucky doesn’t allow you to simply petition your State Government as in most states. We ask that you Please print or copy, Sign, and forward copies to your local Representative in Congress and our State Senators here with-in the Commonwealth with a note attached reminding them they are paid to represent your interest regardless of whether they agree with them or not. Thank You!
Written in Honor of the Great Spirit, the universe, the planet and good friends, colleagues, mentors, leaders,… Jack Herer, Gatewood Galbraith, and all who have gone before me and those who will come after us.
Sincerely,
Mary Thomas-Spears aka Rev. Mary

THIS LINK IS TO CONGRESSIONAL PETITION:

Petition2Congress Logo

Smk:012715

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Legalized marijuana might be the best thing to ever happen to heroin addicts

Posted on January 23, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on Quartz:

In the 1930s, Harry J. Anslinger, the first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, embarked on a fierce anti-marijuana campaign. Highlighted by the 1936 anti-marijuana film Reefer Madness—where marijuana is depicted as a dangerous narcotic that makes good kids become sex-crazed killers—his propaganda efforts also maliciously linked marijuana use to African Americans and ethnic minorities.

By 1970, legislation codified cannabis as one of the nation’s most dangerous drugs: the Controlled Substance Act classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it possessed high potential for abuse and had no acceptable medical use. Over 40 years later, the classification remains.

But research has shown that marijuana, while still criminalized at the federal level, can be effective as a substitute for treating opioid addicts and preventing overdoses. Massachusetts, which recently legalized medical marijuana—and where heroin overdoses have soared—could be a fertile testing ground for this potentially controversial treatment.

The medical case for marijuana

Before…

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BE IN FRANKFORT, FEBRUARY 5TH AT NOON!

Posted on January 23, 2015. Filed under: Activists, KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |


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Graduation rate higher in Kentucky than US overall

Posted on January 23, 2015. Filed under: KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , |


January 22, 2015 03:33 EST FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky Department of Education says the latest figures on statewide graduation rates are in, and Kentucky’s rate is higher than the national mark. The National Center for Education Statistics figures show Kentucky’s graduation rate in the 2012-13 school year was 86 percent. The state Department of Education says only nine states have a higher rate and six are tied with Kentucky. The national rate is 81 percent. Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says efforts are being made to keep students in school to help them be better prepared for college or a career. Holliday said in a news release that the college/career-readiness rate of Kentucky students is now 62.4 percent, up from 34 percent in 2010.
Read More at: http://www.fox17.com/template/inews_wire/wires.regional.ky/31204708-www.fox17.com.shtml#.VMIpoS561OY

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Kentucky heart patient relocates to Michigan, receives medical marijuana legally and then an experimental pacemaker … it gets worse from there!

Posted on January 19, 2015. Filed under: Healthcare, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Medical Marijuana | Tags: , , , , , |


Kentucky – January 19, 2015

 

Erin Vu - pacemaker no leads

Above:  Nanostim™ Leadless Pacemaker

Ms. Erin Grossman Vu, a legal resident of Kentucky who has been disabled for some years with congenital heart disease, relocated on 10-5-2013 to Michigan where she was living with relatives when she was accepted into a Medical Marijuana Program.

“I was first diagnosed with Supraventricular tachycardia. My first event happened when I was still working as a nurse. My heart rate popped up to 250’s & sustained. I’ve been shocked by the paddles. Have been seen in every ER in Metro Louisville for the SVT I was having. I had three cardiac ablations done here in Louisville and the fourth was done in Lansing by Dr. Ip.  After the 4th ablation, I began having slow heart rate events where my heart would drop to 32 bpm no warning & have to sit down or will pass out. Blood can clot at 32 bpm.”

She is one of less than 350 souls in the Nation to have this type of experimental device implanted directly into the heart on 7-10-14. 

She said that her new heart problem arose before moving and Sick Sinus Syndrome occurred when she was unable to use her CPAP machine during an ice storm and electric was down.

She was selected to participate in this St. Jude Medical study by the Nation’s leading device implant Cardiologist, Dr. John Ip of Lansing, MI.

In December she returned to Kentucky and re-established her citizenship here.  She had been referred to a Cardiologist in Lexington Kentucky for follow up care.   However, after the Lexington Cardiologist received her records he refused to treat her and she has yet to be evaluated by him.

In December she was treated for sustained bradycardia, a slow heart rate, at Louisville’s Norton Surburban Hospital on 12-17-14.

Pacemakers are supposed to prevent slow heart rates however she still continues to have cardiac events, chest pain, and shortness of air.

St. Jude Medical and the Lexington Cardiologist (who shall remain unnamed)  have refused to answer why the patient had a slow heart rate with a pacemaker and have refused to give her care at this point.
St. Jude Medical has refused to investigate as to why a cardiologist would refuse to see a pacemaker patient under their study. The FDA has been contacted about the product manufacturer, St. Jude Medical.

 

“I’m supposed to be interrogated by February 6th.  I don’t have access to the technology needed to communicate with my device.  St. Jude Medical, the manufacturer set  me up to have care assumed by a very specific cardiologist in Lexington. Only about fifteen people in Kentucky have this device.  I’ve had no resolution, I’ve called all the proper places.”

“The Lexington Cardiologist won’t see me, period, as patient or study participant.  The Lexington study nurse told me I can’t have two cardiologists. The ONLY reason I’ve been verbally given, doesn’t make sense for a "study", I would have had to cancel a cardiac stress test I had done six days ago. I’ve been in chest pain since 12-17-14 when I had a sustained low heart rate with a pacemaker.”

At this time it seems that Ms. Grossman Vu is a seriously ill Heart Patient without a Doctor to care for her.  The question remains whether or not this is due to the Medical Marijuana designation she received in Michigan, or the fact that the “leadless pacemaker’s” is in experimental status.  That being said, she was set up with a Lexington Physician who specialized in this according to her Physician in Lansing Michigan.  So what IS THE REAL REASON why she is being rejected by this Cardiologist?

This issue will be followed up.

Erin Grossman Vu can be reached at Stjudemedicalpatient@yahoo.com

 

smk

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Medical Marijuana for Fido and Fluffy

Posted on January 17, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on Cannabis Journal:

funny-pics-of-cats-and-dogs-together-191

While recreational marijuana and medical cannabis have seen an amazing growth in sales, research, and general expansion in just this past year alone, there is another side to it all that you may or may not have noticed – medical marijuana for your sick pets! Some of you may find it hard to believe, but as always, the material in this article and throughout the rest of the site are here to provide you with the facts, research, scientific evidence, and even firsthand accounts of how effective cannabis is! Read on.

The following is a collection of news articles, research literature, and peer reviewed medical studies discussing cannabis as a medicine for treating ailing animals with medical marijuana (which was actually a common practice for horses for thousands of years!)

Veterinary marijuana? With pet owners already using the drug as medicine, veterinarians need to join the debate – June 2013…

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Information on “KCHHI”–Kentucky Hemp Health Initiative

Posted on January 14, 2015. Filed under: Activists Opinions, Drug War, KENTUCKY, LATEST NEWS, Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Patients, Petitions, Political, PROHIBITION, ShereeKrider | Tags: , , , , , , |


 

LINK TO KCHHI :

Petition2Congress Logo

 

Some background on the “KCHHI” Petition.

It was re-written by Mary Thomas-Spears and modeled after the CALIFORNIA HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE (shown below) which was started in 2012.

It is important because it represents “REPEAL” of “PROHIBITION” at the State, Federal and Local levels of Government in the United States, in OUR case

KENTUCKY!

If “WE, THE PEOPLE” want to regain our freedom as a people to be “self-governed” we must take this very important step to push for what WE

believe is right.

No one should be punished for growing, using as medicine or for recreational purposes and most certainly of all using “medicinal marijuana” for

OUR children’s HEALTH needs.  This is NOT to say that it is alright to give to a child under 18/21 years old when NOT being used medicinally! 

That having been, said NO CHILD should have to do without this God-given medicine because of Government intrusion into our lives!

I am praying that the citizens of Kentucky will examine the evidence – what we have seen so far is nothing more than Government

interference in our lives at the Statutory level – even when OUR children’s lives are at stake!

I realize that those with children in dire need are pressed to see ANY form of legislation enacted that would give their CHILD this medicine!

I can honestly say that if I were in that position I would leave the State of Kentucky for Colorado today!  NOT because I like what Colorado

has accomplished!  It is a mess out there – but at least my child would have what they need medically – forget everything else!

The only other alternative at this point is to try to “secretly” medicate my child and hope that I do not get caught and my CHILD be taken away

because the LAW doesn’t approve.  We all know the LAW is BULLSHIT!

I started preaching REPEAL in 2010 and Mary Thomas-Spears had it figured out before me.  Everyone thinks that this is not worth working on

and it is unobtainable.  I say it is!  If enough people will get behind the idea and we start telling our Government what we need as opposed to

letting OUR Government ‘TELL US WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO LET US DO!  WE ELECT THEM! Not the other way around – however this is changing

rapidly.  This is  a valid reason why all those who are eligible to vote MUST do so! Regardless of the fact that the elections are, at this point a “set up” we MUST

retain the right to the voting process – so everyone make sure they register and vote, even if you feel there is no reason!  At least it keeps the

freedom TO vote!

It is close to the point that our entire Country will be under total control of every aspect of OUR lives, up to and including Religion and CHILD

rearing.  If Kentucky lets this happen – so goes the rest of the Country!  (Check out the story :

Connecticut Girl Speaks Out After Being Forced to Undergo Chemo) – Industrialism at it’s worse in my opinion, and it is happening

everyday!  So stop thinking we CAN’T and start thinking YES WE CAN put an end to the tyranny  that is surrounding us and moving in on ALL of OUR freedom’s

as we speak. STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO BE FREE FROM PROHIBITION AND GOVERNMENT INTRUSION INTO OUR DAILY LIVES

FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THEIR DOMINENCE OVER US!

We lost the first Civil War to the Industrialists.   LET IT NOT HAPPEN AGAIN!

If you do not understand this I urge you to watch “Hell on Wheels” an AMC production which very well explains how the Industrialists took over

and forced slave labor from one entity – the Agrarian (Farming) Community into the Industrialist building of the railroads and the war effort.

Everyone was forced into leaving the family farms for the Industrial Revolution.  As a result we ended up with corporate farming.

Of note:  The Emancipation Proclamation which “freed the Slaves” was NOT enforced in Kentucky because Kentucky had not seceded from the Union.

It was only a strategy of War between the North and South and Kentucky “sat on the fence”  Don’t take me the wrong way…Slavery was never RIGHT!

And Abe Lincoln did NOT like Slavery which has been documented historically.  However, this information proves that if the Government seems to

be doing something “right” for the people you can bet it is for an ulterior motive.  With a legalize, tax and regulate mentality the Government owns us!

Fight for the freedom from prohibition of your freedoms!

Smk.

 

PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK AND SIGN FOR YOUR RIGHT AS A HUMAN BEING TO BE ABLE TO FARM AND USE CANNABIS!  A GOD-GIVEN PLANT!

 

Petition2Congress Logo

 

CALLIFORNIA HEMP HEALTH INITIATIVE 2012

 

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Can medical marijuana curb the heroin epidemic?

Posted on January 14, 2015. Filed under: Drug Addiction, Human Rights, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , , , , , |


Author

  1. Miriam Boeri

    Associate Professor of Sociology at Bentley University

Disclosure Statement

Miriam Boeri does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The Conversation is funded by Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Alfred P Sloan Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Our global publishing platform is funded by Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

 

In the 1930s, Harry J. Anslinger, the first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, embarked on a fierce anti-marijuana campaign. Highlighted by the 1936 anti-marijuana film Reefer Madness – where marijuana is depicted as a dangerous narcotic that makes good kids become sex-crazed killers – his propaganda efforts also maliciously linked marijuana use to African Americans and ethnic minorities.

Attitudes towards marijuana have changed since 1936, when the Federal Bureau of Narcotics released Reefer Madness. Wikimedia Commons

By 1970, legislation codified cannabis as one of the nation’s most dangerous drugs: the Controlled Substance Act classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it possessed high potential for abuse and had no acceptable medical use. Over 40 years later, the classification remains.

But research has shown that marijuana, while still criminalized at the federal level, can be effective as a substitute for treating opioid addicts and preventing overdoses. Massachusetts, which recently legalized medical marijuana – and where heroin overdoses have soared – could be a fertile testing ground for this potentially controversial treatment.

The medical case for marijuana

Before being criminalized, marijuana was used in the US to cure depression and a variety of other mental health ailments. Many studies have supported the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids, along with the ability of marijuana’s psychoactive ingredients to treat nausea, help with weight loss, alleviate chronic pain, and mitigate symptoms of neurological diseases.

Other research, however, contradicts claims regarding the benefits of cannabidiol treatment. Some say marijuana actually poses a risk for psychosis and schizophrenia. Although the FDA has approved some synthetic cannabinoids for medical treatment, federal agencies do not support marijuana as a legitimate medicine until more clinical studies have been conducted.

The scientific debate over the harms and benefits of marijuana has impeded federal lawmakers from moving forward on marijuana legislation reform. As a result, in 23 states, medical marijuana has become legalized by popular vote.

Marijuana policy dilemma

With each state crafting unique medical marijuana regulations, we find ourselves at a crucial turning point in drug policy. Public health professionals claim the road map used by “big tobacco” will be copied with legal marijuana, and addiction rates for marijuana will increase to those we see for tobacco. Others warn that if medical marijuana is used indiscriminately and without focused education on the uses and forms of medical marijuana, a prescription pain pill-like crisis could occur.

Among drug treatment specialists, marijuana remains controversial. Although some research has shown marijuana to be an alternative treatment for more serious drug addiction, addiction treatment specialists still view marijuana as highly addictive and dangerous. These views handicap policy reform, but despite its status as a Schedule 1 drug, recent research shows marijuana could be part of the solution to the most deadly drug epidemic our country has seen in decades.

Massachusetts: a case study

In 2012 Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana, though the first 11 dispensaries are not scheduled to open until sometime in the coming year. This situation presents an opportunity to implement sensible, research-based policy.

Massachusetts, like many states across the US, has seen a dramatic rise in opioid addition fueled by the increase in opiate prescription pills. In Boston, heroin overdoses increased by 80% between 2010 and 2012, and four out of five users were addicted to pain pills before turning to heroin.

Meanwhile, the leading cause of death among the Boston’s homeless population has shifted from AIDS complications to drug overdoses, with opiates involved in 81% of overdose deaths. This is an alarming finding given recent expansion in clinical services for the city’s homeless.

Addiction specialists and health care professionals in Boston have been at the forefront of integrating behavioral and medical care. Naloxone and methadone are currently the main solutions to address the growing opiate addiction and overdose problem. But Naloxone is an overdose antidote, not a cure or a form of preventative therapy.

Methadone, like heroin and other opioids, has a very narrow therapeutic index (the ratio between the toxic dose and the therapeutic dose of a drug). This means that a small change in dosage can be lethal to the user. Marijuana, however, has one of the safest (widest) therapeutic ratios of all drugs.

Research shows that marijuana has been used as a form of self-treatment, where users take cannabis in lieu of alcohol, prescription opiates, and illegal drugs. That’s one reason why researchers are calling for marijuana to be tested as a substitute for other drugs. In this capacity, marijuana can be thought of as a form of harm reduction. While researchers don’t seek to discount some of the drug’s potential negative effects, they view it as a less damaging alternative to other, harder drugs. Despite these findings, marijuana is rarely incorporated in formal drug treatment plans.

A recent study might change this policy. Comparing states with and without legalized medical marijuana, it found a substantial decrease in opioid (heroin and prescription pill) overdose death rates in states that had enacted medical marijuana laws. In their conclusions, the researchers suggested that medical marijuana should be part of policy aimed to prevent opioid overdose.

Outside marijuana’s harms and benefits, missing in this discussion is the social environment of drug use. Drug use is social in nature. Where and with whom drugs are used influences why and how they are used. Socially acceptable or moderate use of drugs can be learned through social rituals in socially controlled settings.

Studies in the Netherlands found that using marijuana in Amsterdam coffeehouses encouraged a “stepping-off” hard drug use. These studies also found that when young people used marijuana in a controlled coffeehouse setting instead of a polydrug-using environment, they learned to use marijuana moderately without combining with other drugs. Along with providing access to marijuana, it’s important to instruct users on safe and effective medical marijuana consumption.

Since Massachusetts has not yet opened its medical marijuana dispensaries, it is too early to see if medical marijuana legislation will help reduce opiate addiction in the Commonwealth. Using recent research findings, Massachusetts policymakers have a unique opportunity to implement medical marijuana policies that address its contemporary opiate overdose. Medical marijuana could be part of drug treatment for heroin and opiates.

For homeless people, however, getting a marijuana card is expensive and buying medical marijuana from a dispensary is beyond their economic means. Street drugs are more prevalent in their social setting, easier to obtain, and can be much cheaper. From a policy perspective, addressing the alarming rates of overdose deaths among the homeless in Boston could mean distributing medical marijuana cards to homeless addicts for free and providing reduced cost medical marijuana.

What if medical marijuana cards were offered to homeless addicts? Wikimedia Commons

Formerly demonized and later legislated as a Schedule 1 substance, marijuana could diminish the damage wrought by harder drugs, like heroin. While opioid use is a nationwide epidemic, Massachusettes – long at the forefront of developing scientifically based public policy – has the opportunity to be at the forefront of cutting-edge, socially-informed drug policy.

This is the second in a series of three articles on alternative strategies to treat addiction. To read the first in the series, click here.

CONTINUE READING…

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EU Governments: Charlie Hebdo is a good excuse for War

Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on Flyover-Press.com:

by John Robb via Global Guerillas

The EU governments got together on January 11th to condemn the attack on Charlie Hebdo.  However, they concluded that the best response is to curtail freespeech, ramp up propaganda, increase surveillance on citizens, and place a ban on the types of things Charlie Hebdo published.

Je_ne_suis_pas_charlie-600x337

Here’s more detail.  In their Joint Statement they concluded that:

  1. The attack on Charlie Hebdo was a bad thing (very bold of them).
  2. To protect free speech we must curtail it:  “With this in mind, the partnership of the major Internet providers is essential to create the conditions of a swift reporting of material that aims to incite hatred and terror and the condition of its removing, where appropriate or possible.”  Force ISPs to shut down, spy on, or block access to websites deemed objectionable by EU ministries.
  3. All members of the EU should increase their use…

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President Obama Announces New Proposal For Cybersecurity

Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on News One:

obama cybersecurity

President Barack Obama (pictured) has been addressing growing concerns over cybersecurity and protecting the privacy of American citizens in the wake of recent online attacks. Since last year, the President has been getting tough on cyber crime and announced on Tuesday prospective legislation to address the matter.

SEE ALSO: California AG Kamala Harris Will Run For Senate

Back in 2011, Mr. Obama issued his Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal. The proposal was tweaked to cover international concerns in the arena, but Congress resisted passing the comprehensive cybersecurity legislation. Today, the President has unveiled a fresh Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal just as the dawn of the new GOP-led Congress is unfolding.

Some of the key factors of this proposal includes: enabling cybersecurity information sharing, modernizing law enforcement authorities to combat cyber crime, and national data breach reporting.

The finer details of these factors for the Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal can be found by following…

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Rand: Romney Is ‘Yesterday’s News’

Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on TIME:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is not pulling his punches over former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who has indicated to donors and allies he is considering another bid for the White House in 2016.

In an interview with radio host John Gibson on Fox News Radio, the libertarian lawmaker called the former Massachusetts governor “yesterday’s news,” adding he doesn’t believe there’s room for a third act in politics.

“Well if he runs to the right of Jeb Bush he will still be to the left of the rest of the party, so it may be a difficult spot to occupy,” Paul told Gibson Tuesday, in a one-two punch in reference to reports Romney would seek to cast himself as the conservative alternative to the former Florida governor. “Look I like Gov. Romney. I like him personally, I think he’s a good person, I think he’s a great businessman. But, you…

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When Can a Person Be Forced to Receive Medical Care?

Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on TIME:

Last week, the case of a Connecticut teenager, identified as Cassandra C., 17, made headlines. Diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Cassandra wanted to forgo chemotherapy altogether—a decision her mother reportedly supported. But in early January, child services took the 17-year-old into custody and on Jan. 8 the state Supreme Court denied the teenager’s request to not receive the drugs.

The state’s interference in a personal decision about health care provides a rare lens into when and how health officials can mandate health care. Forced treatment is rare, but it happens when people, most often minors and the mentally ill, find themselves in extenuating circumstances.

“We subscribe to the principle that people should get to make decisions for themselves almost all the time,” says Paul S. Appelbaum, a psychiatry, medicine and law professor at Columbia University. “The exceptions to that rule are rare. What we’re seeing play out in Connecticut is really…

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Marijuana therapy to treat drug and alcohol addiction

Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: LATEST NEWS |


Originally posted on Patients for Medical Cannabis:

Drug Addiction

Cannabis therapy has been used in addiction recovery for more than 100 years.

From “Marijuana in Medicine” by Tod H. Mikuriya M.D. (1969):

“Because cannabis did not lead to physical dependence, it was found to be superior to the opiates for a number of therapeutic purposes. Birch, in 1889, reported success in treating opiate and chloral addiction with cannabis, and Mattison in 1891 recommended its use to the young physician, comparing it favorably with the opiates.”

Recent science:

~

Source Pain is the number one reason people seek medical attention, and patients seeking pain relief are the most prevalent group employing cannabis medicines. Chronic pain seriously interferes with the quality of life for many patients. For some, strong…

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O.K. EVERYONE THIS IS YOUR DAILY REMINDER THAT WE NEED SIGNATURES ON KCHHI !!

Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: Activists, Attention, KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS, legislation, Marijuana & the Law | Tags: , , , , , , , , |


 

 

 

KYUSMJP

 

THE PETITION IS LOCATED HERE: (DIRECT LINK) http://www.petition2congress.com/9641/kentucky-cannabis-hemp-health-initiative-2013-2014/  

 

It is my opinion that this is the Initiative we should be getting as many signatures on as possible so that we, as a group, can go to Sen. McConnells office at an opportune time and present it to him.

At the same time we could have groups of people in each district present it to their Representatives. This represents true repeal of prohibition on the Cannabis Plant in Kentucky. It needs to be presented as soon as possible, before February 17th,  I would say, in order to have a chance at getting someone in office to back us for the 2016 Legislative Session. Please leave your comments and thoughts on this.

 Read the initiative and then just for the hell of it lets see how many signatures we can get before the 30th of January.

Part II convenes Feb 3rd. Last day for new bill requests is the 6th. I know we can’t find a sponsor by then for this year but if we all show up in Committee meetings which would be every Tuesday at 11:30 for Agriculture and Wednesday at 10 am for Health and Welfare maybe we can give a least a good showing of taking back our human rights to this plant – medical and all.

If we can get 1000 signatures on the petition I will print it out and mail it POSTAL to every Senator. and Representative. in the state.

A lot of you all have been in Frankfort to the meetings, I haven’t. According to the website anyone will be admitted to them. Let me know how this works.

 http://kentuckymarijuanaparty.org/index.php/en/kchhi

Thanks to everyone showing support for this idea.

It may be bold but it may be the way to bring an end to (State) Prohibition in Kentucky!  We still have to worry about Federal.

Sheree Krider

shereekrider@usmjparty.com

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Gatewood Galbraith: The Man Who Brought Hemp to Kentucky

Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: KENTUCKY, KENTUCKY WEED, LATEST NEWS | Tags: , , , |


By Sarah Baird on January 12, 2015

After decades of being demonized and damned, hemp is now officially sprouting its way back into Kentucky’s good graces.

Since the successful cultivation of the state’s first small-but-mighty legal “research” hemp crop early last year, politicians on both sides of the aisle have been eating hemp bars, talking about hemp-powered cars and exploring how hemp oil can help ease the pain of debilitating seizure disorders. There’s a new fervor around everything that could possibly be crafted with hemp — from rope to clothes — as the crop positions itself to potentially be the tobacco-replacing cash crop dreamed about by struggling farmers.

For those who have been watching the battle unfold, it seems to be a cruel twist of fate that hemp has gained thoroughbred-like momentum in the state two short years since the death of its colorful, decades-long champion: Gatewood Galbraith.

The pop music scene and art world have their fair share of celebrities famous enough to go by a single name, from Beyoncé to Bono. In Kentucky, Gatewood was the only man in the state (and perhaps, all of politics) to find mononymous notoriety. All Kentuckians knew Gatewood, but many did not know his last name.

In Kentucky, Gatewood was the only man in the state (and perhaps, all of politics) to find mononymous notoriety.

Gatewood was nothing short of a cult figure. Known far and wide as the hemp-promoting, pro-gun, big-grinning, marijuana-loving lawyer — who ran unsuccessfully for governor five times — Gatewood was a perennial character in Kentucky politics who refused to be boxed into party lines. Above all else, Gatewood believed the two-party system had failed the working class people and farmers of the state. With his lilting drawl, gentle demeanor and signature (completely non-hipster) fedora, the gangly, Ichabod Crane-like man was a 6’4″ fixture at intersections and street fairs for more than 40 years, shaking hands and talking — mostly — about the virtues of hemp as a cash crop.

“When I first met Gatewood, it was at his election night party in 2002 when he ran for Congress,” says former Kentucky Democratic Party Executive Director Jeremy Horton. “It was two rooms connected at the old-school Continental Inn [in Lexington]. About an hour in, I found my way into his room. There were about ten people inside and Gatewood was sitting on the bed, shirtless, wearing a sombrero, smoking a cigar and talking about farm subsidies.”

Born in the bucolic town of Carlisle and educated at the University of Kentucky for both his undergraduate degree and law school, Gatewood was consistently a man before his time. His positions on key environmental, farming and rural issues often positioned him as a zany outlier in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, many of his views seem downright mainstream: from hemp as a cash crop to medicinal marijuana to supporting and promoting small farmers. In retrospect, it’s easy to see Gatewood as a kind of pied piper on these issues, attracting Kentucky politicians slowly and steadily over the years with his song until, eventually, some of them joined the march.

Between campaigns for statewide office, Gatewood made a name for himself as a defense attorney, including serving as pro bono counsel in the country’s first felony medical marijuana case. He fought against the spraying of paraquat in the Daniel Boone National Forest in the 1980s, gaining national attention for his prescient opposition to the toxic herbicide. (The New York Times referred to him in 1983 as, “…an unsuccessful candidate for state agricultural commissioner … who favors legalizing marijuana.”) He opposed the mountaintop removal method of mining in Eastern Kentucky, noting that it had caused “unsurpassed environmental damage” across the region. His real calling card, however, was hemp.

“Cannabis is to hemp as Dennis Rodman is to Danny DeVito. They’re both adult males, but if you can’t distinguish between the two you don’t belong in law enforcement,” Gatewood famously told a Lexington, Kentucky. alt-weekly in 2000, his gently ribbing nature softening a hard-hitting truth.

Photo courtesy Kentucky Educational Television.

Photo courtesy Kentucky Educational Television.

Everywhere he traveled, Gatewood touted the economic benefits of industrial hemp as a cash crop, citing Kentucky’s long and successful history as a hemp-producing state prior to its prohibition in 1937. He found allies in nooks and crannies not often touched by politics, from elderly farmers whose families had successfully grown hemp in the early part of the 20th century to enterprising entrepreneurs who could see how the legalization of hemp could jumpstart stagnant rural economies.

“One hundred years ago, the farmer produced all of the fiber, all of the medicine, all of the fuel and all of the food that society consumes,” Gatewood told a team of documentarians in the 1990s. “Does the government have the right [today] to tell man or woman that they cannot plant a seed in God’s green earth and consume the green natural plant that comes up out of it? That seems such an inalienable right.”

Of course, the virtues of marijuana were also never far from his rhetoric. Old ladies would frequently clutch their pearls when Gatewood openly discussed smoking weed — which he claimed cured his asthma as a young man — and called to end the prohibition of marijuana in the state for medicinal purposes.

State Senator Perry Clark of Louisville honored his late friend posthumously in 2013 by introducing the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act, which aimed to loosen regulations around the prescription of marijuana. While the bill didn’t pass, it served as a call to action and a tribute to Gatewood’s trailblazing ways.

“For the better part of 40 years, [Gatewood] has been talking about the benefits of medical marijuana,” Clark told The Daily Chronic in 2012. “And right now there are hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who are suffering and they need and deserve access to this plant that our grandfathers and our great grandfathers grew by the thousands of acres.”

Gatewood’s left field stances and larger-than-life persona also attracted a number of celebrity friends and admirers. In 1991, Gatewood appeared — a toothy grin spread wide across his face — on the cover of High Times with friend and fellow pot-smoking icon Willie Nelson, who campaigned on his behalf from Louisville to Lexington. When Woody Harrelson was arrested in 1996 for planting four hemp seeds in Lee County, Kentucky as a deliberate challenge to state cannabis laws, Gatewood was right by his side in support. Four years later (after Harrelson was acquitted) the two starred in the 2003 film, Hempsters: Plant the Seed.

Sometimes, the cold, hard facts rattled off by Gatewood were overshadowed by his flamboyant stump-speaking mannerisms and propensity for offbeat humor. Gatewood was often known to refer to politicians (particularly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) as “aliens” and believed firmly in “the petro-chemical-pharmaceutical-military-industrial-transational-corporate-fascist-elite-bastards” complex, which he frequently referenced at speaking engagements and in his now infamous book, The Last Free Man in America: Meet the Synthetic Subversion.

“The problem is that the pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries control this country,” Gatewood said in a 1991 interview. “Hemp is the greatest product. Hemp is petroleum. It’s no coincidence that in 1937 when hemp was outlawed, nylon was patented. The true battle on this planet today is between the naturals and the synthetics.”

A consummate advocate for family farms and policies to help reconnect individuals to the land, it’s almost impossible to imagine that Kentucky’s current bipartisan bear hug of hemp would’ve happened without Gatewood’s maverick campaigning.

“He arrived [at a Tea Party function] and everyone said, ‘Oh, Gatewood, you know, thank you so much for coming. It’s wonderful to have you here,’” Galbraith’s 2011 gubernatorial running mate, Dea Riley, told NPR in 2012 after his death. “And Gatewood responded, ‘What are you talking about? I’ve been here for 30 years. Where have you people been?’”

The tide may be turning for Gatewood to get his due as the bullhorn that paved the way for the state’s recent hemp victories. A dedicated group of hemp advocates and Gatewood devotees are planning the first ever “Kentucky HempFest” for September 2015 in honor of their late, great patron saint.

The event’s alternative name? Gatewoodstock.

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      Produce, hemp, tobacco, meat and other products from the area were shipped to http://cpe.ky.gov/nr/rdonlyres/19613de8-2f60-410a-9c24-599dd6863ba2/0/ksuregionalgrantproposalandstrategicplan.pdf - 1MB
    • AgendaItemD2legwrapup.PDF February 21, 2015
      Agenda Item D-2 LEGISLATIVE WRAP-UP May 22, 2000 In addition to the biennial budget (discussed in Agenda Item G-3), several important pieces of legislation were passed in the last few days of the session. … http://cpe.ky.gov/nr/rdonlyres/58e375da-9ead-420f-aa48-dfd58a523d21/0/agendad_2.pdf - 43KB
    • CHE ( ) PC ( ) February 21, 2015
      Hemp can be grown; research Agriculture http://cpe.ky.gov/nr/rdonlyres/0f27c10e-9610-4d83-8fb4-dff5fbeddf16/0/agenda_d1legup.pdf - 19KB
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  • RSS KENTUCKY SIERRA CLUB

    • Legislative Actions: Environment, Energy on Our Agenda January 30, 2015
      by Ruth Bamberger, Legislative Committee Chair Cumberland Chapter, Sierra Club The Kentucky General Assembly officially opened January 6th with the swearing in of all 100 Representatives and 37 Senators. The Democrats have a 54-46 edge in the House and the … Continue reading →
    • Google Dumps ALEC October 17, 2014
      Huge news! First Google, then Yelp and Facebook… but where’s eBay? Tell eBay: Quit ALEC today! Google is dumping the Koch-fueled American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an extremist group that pushes legislation like forcing public schools to teach climate denial. … Continue reading →
    • KY Sierra Club Water Committee Meeting – JOIN US! August 7, 2014
      PLEASE JOIN US … this Saturday, August 9th, in the Community Room at the Midway Branch Library, Northside Drive (on the road to the Northside Elementary School) for an important meeting on water issues in Kentucky, and how we can work … Continue reading →
    • KENTUCKY “NATURE’S FINEST” LICENSE HOLDERS REBUFFED BY GENERAL ASSEMBLY July 23, 2014
      by Ruth Bamberger, Legislative Committee Chair Sierra Club, Cumberland Chapter Kentucky residents who purchase the special license plate “Nature’s Finest”  to help fund the state’s Heritage Land Conservation Fund should know that the 2014 General Assembly moved this earmarked fund … Continue reading →
    • “WHAT HATH THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WROUGHT?” April 9, 2014
      by Ruth Bamberger, Legislative Committee Chair Sierra Club, Cumberland Chapter In two words “Not Much.”  If nice guys finish last, the Sierra Club and other like Kentucky organizations have to be the nicest guys around!  But looking at it another … Continue reading →
  • RSS Committee to Protect Journalists – Alerts

    • Photographer Serhiy Nikolayev killed by shelling in Ukraine March 2, 2015
      New York, March 2, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists to ensure the safety of journalists covering the conflict in east Ukraine after photographer Serhiy Nikolayev was reported to have been killed by shelling on Saturday. The Ukrainian photographer, who worked for Kiev-based daily Segodnya […]
    • Radio journalist gunned down in Brazil March 2, 2015
      São Paulo, March 2, 2015--Brazilian authorities should immediately investigate the murder of radio journalist Ivanildo Viana, identify the motive, and bring the killers to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
    • Journalist detained over Facebook post in Myanmar March 2, 2015
      Bangkok, March 2, 2015--A journalist in Myanmar was detained by police on Friday in connection with a satirical image he posted on Facebook about renewed hostilities between government forces and an ethnic rebel group in the country's northeastern Shan State, according to news reports. Aung Nay Myo was released today without charge, the reports said. […]
    • Blogger hacked to death, another seriously injured in Bangladesh February 27, 2015
      February 27, 2015, Mumbai--Bangladeshi authorities should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the murder on Thursday of a blogger in the capital, Dhaka, and ensure the perpetrators are held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Avijit Roy had criticized religious fundamentalism on his blog and had covered secular topics, including free […]
    • Mozambique charges journalists investigating rhino poaching February 20, 2015
      New York, February 20, 2015--Mozambican authorities have charged two international journalists with trespassing and invasion of privacy in connection with their investigation of rhino poaching, according to news reports and one of the journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Mozambique to drop the charges and ensure the journalists' sa […]
  • RSS Voices of the Civil War, a Library of Congress blog

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