Category Archives: Medical Marijuana

“You can’t put the genie back into the bottle”


 

 

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(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Patrick McGreevyPatrick McGreevyContact Reporter

Warned of a possible federal crackdown on marijuana, California elected officials and cannabis industry leaders said Friday they were preparing for a potential showdown in the courts and Congress to protect the legalization measure approved by state voters in November.

The flashpoint that set off a scramble in California was a news conference Thursday at which White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the administration had no plans to continue the Obama administration’s permissive approach in states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

“I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” he said, adding that the administration would continue to allow states to regulate the sale of marijuana for medical use.

The latest development could force California officials and marijuana industry leaders into an unusual alliance against the federal government, with billions of dollars in profits for businesses and taxes for state coffers at stake.

The state agency responsible for drafting regulations said Friday it was going ahead with its plans to start issuing licenses to growers and sellers in January.

“Until we see any sort of formal plan from the federal government, it’s full speed ahead for us,” said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation.

In Congress, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) plans to introduce legislation that could blunt Spicer’s threat by preventing the Department of Justice from enforcing federal laws against the recreational use of marijuana in states that have legalized it, a spokesman said Friday.

And industry officials warn that any federal crackdown in California and other states will result in many growers and sellers continuing to operate, but on the black market.

California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra says he is ready to safeguard the rights approved by 57% of voters in Proposition 64, which allows California adults to possess, transport and buy up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use.

“I took an oath to enforce the laws that California has passed,” Becerra said in a statement Thursday after Spicer’s comments. “If there is action from the federal government on this subject, I will respond in an appropriate way to protect the interests of California.”

State lawmakers also say California should do what it can to preserve Proposition 64.

“We will support and honor the laws that California voters have democratically enacted,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), an author of legislation creating the licensing system for medical marijuana dispensaries.

Becerra would likely be joined in any defense of the state’s marijuana policy by attorneys general in other parts of the country. Recreational use has also been legalized in Washington state, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, home to a combined 68 million Americans.

Washington Atty. Gen. Bob Ferguson, who has worked with Becerra on opposing President Trump’s travel ban, said he and Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee last week asked for a meeting with U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to discuss how the recreational marijuana use system is working in their state.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a leading supporter of Proposition 64, took a similar approach, sending a letter Friday to Trump urging him not to carry through with threats to launch a federal enforcement effort.

“I urge you and your administration to work in partnership with California and the other … states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use in a way that will let us enforce our state laws that protect the public and our children, while targeting the bad actors,” the Democrat wrote.

If the Justice Department starts arresting licensed marijuana sellers, the multibillion-dollar industry would join forces with the states that issue permits to challenge the action in court, said Amy Margolis, an attorney whose law firm has more than 200 clients in the marijuana industry, including businesses in California.

“This industry is so mature and it’s so far along that I have no doubt that if the Department of Justice started true enforcement actions against cannabis businesses, that they would go to court,” Margolis said. “I see joint actions between the states and the industry hoping to prevent those type of actions.”

Margolis would argue that it is a states’ rights issue.

“The argument would be that this is a situation where the states have the right to regulate and tax an industry the way they want,” she said, adding that states are gaining tax revenue to pay for government programs.

Although federal law does not outline a medicinal use for marijuana, Trump administration officials have made public statements indicating they recognize that such a benefit exists, which could help the industry in a potential court case, Margolis said.

However, the states may find their hands tied legally if they try to keep federal agents from raiding and shutting down marijuana growing and sales operations, according to Adam Winkler, a professor at UCLA School of Law.

“I imagine that California will mount a legal challenge to any crackdown on recreational marijuana,” Winkler said. “Yet there is not much California can do. Federal law is supreme over conflicting state law. Federal agents are entitled to enforce federal law anywhere in the country, including California.”

He said there are limits to federal power, but the courts have held that the federal government does have the authority to enforce federal drug laws.

Aaron Herzberg, an attorney for the industry, agreed that the state would face a tough fight. He cited the 2005 case Gonzales vs. Raich, in which the U.S. Supreme Court found that under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, Congress may criminalize the production and use of homegrown marijuana even if states approve its use for medical purposes.

“Let’s face it: If the federal government wants to shut down recreational marijuana, they could quite easily accomplish it using federal law enforcement and taxation tools,” Herzberg said.

Others say one basis for legal action would be an argument that enforcing laws against marijuana would damage states that have put regulations in place and are depending on hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to pay for government programs.

States are too far down the path of regulating, licensing and taxing those who are making big investments in the sanctioned marijuana industry to pull the rug out now, said Richard Miadich, an attorney who co-wrote Proposition 64.

“Given the strict regulatory structure set forth in Proposition 64, that medical and adult-use regulations are being developed in concert, and that public opinion is squarely on the side of states’ rights on this issue, I think it is impractical for the federal government to reverse course now,” he said. “Not to mention the potential for great harm to individual states.”

Supporters of Proposition 64 say there is also a potential political solution.

In recent years, Rohrabacher and former Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel) won congressional approval of a rider to the federal budget that prohibited federal funds from being used to prosecute medical marijuana businesses that are in compliance with state laws.

Rohrabacher plans to introduce legislation that would expand the protection to businesses that comply with state laws allowing the growing and sale of marijuana for recreational use, according to spokesman Ken Grubbs.

The congressman is planning the legislation “because recreational use is an issue of individual freedom and should be dealt with legally according to the principle of federalism, a bedrock conservative belief,” Grubbs said.

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) is also “reviewing options to counteract whatever the Trump administration’s plans” are for state marijuana laws, said senior advisor Jack d’Annibale.

Another option, though a long shot, would be for Congress to attempt to change the federal Controlled Substances Act to decriminalize the use of marijuana nationally.

Herzberg said reinstituting federal raids would be “a major setback for the industry.”

But the state could still go ahead with a licensing system for medical marijuana growing and sales in spite of a federal crackdown on recreational use, according to Hezekiah Allen, head of the California Growers Assn.

“A vast majority of California growers and cannabis business owners would choose to participate only in the medical marketplace if given the option, and some would choose to avoid licensure entirely if they were unable to distinguish themselves from adult-use businesses,” Allen said.

Because Spicer did not provide details on what an enforcement effort might look like, many in the industry hope it will focus on the illegal exporting of marijuana to other states, leaving alone state-licensed firms that grow and sell pot.

“The biggest crackdown we may see is on the increase of cannabis being illegally exported out of recreational states,” said Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Assn.

State Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) said any change in federal enforcement policy on states that have legalized recreational use would be misguided.

“You can’t put the genie back into the bottle — marijuana regulation and enforcement can’t and shouldn’t go backwards,” he said.

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Sen. Morgan McGarvey Hosting Public Mtg RE: Medical Marijuana (KY) on February 18th in Louisville, Kentucky


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Senator Morgan McGarvey Hosting 2/18 Public Meeting

Legalize Kentucky Supporters:

Sen. McGarvey filed a bill to allow medical marijuana in last year’s Legislative session and is expected to do so again this year. We need to get a huge crowd to attend this Saturday to thank him for his past support, and show him there are still many supporters of this important issue!

Here is the information: 

Senator Morgan McGarvey

Public Meeting

10 AM

Saturday, February 18

Douglass Community Center

2305 Douglass Blvd

Lawmaker says top issue for constituents is marijuana; oncologist advocates for safe access


02/12/2017 12:39 PM

Far and away the largest number of phone calls from constituents of Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, are in support of marijuana legalization, and he says he’s heard plenty of other lawmakers also getting the calls.

Nemes recently published online what voters are calling him about, and in a phone interview with Pure Politics he said the calls on marijuana come in three forms: advocating for medical marijuana in pill form, medical marijuana that can be smoked and full-scale state legalization of the federally illegal drug.

“I’m getting contacted on all three of those areas, I don’t know where I am on it, but the Kentucky Medical Association tells me there’s no studies that show that it’s effective,” Nemes said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

Dr. Don Stacy, a board certified radiation oncologist who works in the Kentucky and Indiana areas, said there’s a reason there’s no studies proving effectiveness — studies have not been allowed to take place.

“It’s one of those things where we can’t provide randomized phase three studies in cannabis without making it legal — that is the gold standard for any sort of medicine,” Stacy said. “We have a variety of studies of that nature from other countries of course, but American physicians are very particular about American data. The database we have now is plenty enough to say we shouldn’t be arresting patients for trying to help themselves.”

Stacy said he became interested in marijuana after he noticed some of his patients were doing better with treatment than similar patients. In reviewing their records and through private discussions with the patients, he learned “a significant portion” of those doing better were the patients using marijuana.

“I was surprised by that,” he said. “I’ve always been a skeptic of alternative medicines, but then I began to research the data. I was impressed with the data.”

Dr. Stacy said he’s had some particular patients who showed minor or moderate improvements or side effects, but patients who had to stop treatment because the toxicity of the treatment was so severe. The patients who had to stop treatment tried marijuana, and then they were able to complete their treatments showing “dramatic differences,” Stacy said.

Because of the improvements in patients, Stacy is advocating for safe and legal access to the drug.

Twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia allow access to medical marijuana in different forms. Through those states allowing access, Stacy said several show improvements outside of overall medical care.

In states that have legalized medical marijuana the suicide rate has dropped by 10 percent among males 18 to 40, he said.

“It says when people have serious medical or behavioral issues — if you cannot find the treatment that helps you then some people decide to end their lives, and cannabis apparently prevents a certain portion of people from doing that.”

Stacy said that there is also a 10 percent decrease in physicians prescribing narcotics in medical marijuana states. The effect of that, Stacy said is a 25 percent decrease in overdose deaths linked to narcotics in states with medical cannabis laws. With the level of heroin and opiate abuse in Kentucky, he said there would be positive effects seen here too.

“I think that one-quarter of the people who will overdose and die of narcotics in this state in this year would be alive if we had a medical cannabis law.”

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The Next Big Brain Cancer Drug Could Come from Marijuana


Sy Mukherjee

9:44 PM Central

Image result for marijuana

GW Pharmaceuticals (gwph, +2.63%) is already well on its way to winning the first-ever U.S. approval for a cannabis-derived therapy. But an early trial suggests that these treatments could also be an effective way to fight one of most devastating forms of brain cancers: glioblastoma multiforme.

The U.K.-based company unveiled preliminary data Tuesday from a mid-stage study on an experimental drug combining cannabidiol and THC, the “high” producing element of marijuana. Results so far show that the drug boosted brain cancer patients’ median survival rates by about six months compared to a placebo. Typically, this type of cancer ravages the brain and (on average) leaves 70% of patients dead within two years of being diagnosed.

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“We believe that the signals of efficacy demonstrated in this study further reinforce the potential role of cannabinoids in the field of oncology and provide GW with the prospect of a new and distinct cannabinoid product candidate in the treatment of glioma,” GW CEO Justin Gover said in a statement.

GW is already interpreting the results as a reason to expand its foray into cancer treatment. The company’s most advanced drug candidate, Epidiolex (for treatment of severe epilepsy related to a number of rare disorders), is closest to reaching the U.S. market. But the firm has staked out more far-reaching ambitions in an environment where cannabis-based products have been increasingly accepted.

For one, Gover thinks that cannabidiol-based therapies show plenty of promise in behavioral disorders like schizophrenia, he told Fortune last year.

Marijuana’s effect on cancer still isn’t all that clear. A big recent review by American scientists suggests the drug is effective for treating pain and nausea in cancer patients but doesn’t necessarily treat (or cause) cancer. However, GW’s drug isn’t just a bowl of weed to be smoked – it contains concentrated derivatives and is undergoing the kind of clinical testing that could provide insights hampered by U.S. policy towards studying cannabis.

CONTINUE READING…

http://fortune.com/2016/09/26/gw-pharmaceuticals-marijuana-therapy/

Ignorance abounds in Kentucky concerning cannabis law


 

In October, farmworkers transported harvested marijuana plants at Los Suenos Farms, America’s largest legal open-air marijuana farm, in southern Colorado.

 

The following story was printed on Kentucky.com and my response is included.

By Thomas Vance

The world is watching Colorado and is finding out that everything we have been told by our government about marijuana has not been factual, to put it nicely.

Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2012 and recreational in 2014. They have paid more than $150 million in taxes on $1.3 billion in sales for 2016 and have created more than 20,000 full-time jobs in the process and none of the predicted harms of legalization have materialized.

California has had an easy access medical marijuana program for 20 years and none of the terrible things we have been told will happen should cannabis be legal have happened.

All we have to do is copy Colorado’s regulations and standards and get on with it. What are we waiting for? The people in our eastern counties are praying for something to replace the coal industry. God has one ready to go for us and we are ignoring his help.

It’s like the old joke about the guy trapped on his roof in a flood. He prays for God to save him. A helicopter comes by and offers to pick the man up. “No, no, thanks anyway but God said he would save me.”

After a while a boat comes and offers to pick up the man. Again he says no because, “God will save me.”

Later on that night, the waters rose and the man drowned. When he gets up to Heaven He asks God, “Why, why God, didn’t you save me?” and God replies, “I sent you a boat and a helicopter, why didn’t you get in?”

Let’s take this winning lottery ticket the good Lord has given us: an industry safer and healthier than coal. Alleviate the suffering of our eastern counties, create thousands of jobs, garner millions in revenue, enable billions in economic activity and put that money to work for the citizens of our great state.

It would seem that if we get to the end of this legislative session and nothing is done, one could reasonably conclude the Republican-controlled legislature is being derelict in its duty to improve the lives and the well being of our citizens and our state.

Thomas Vance of Alexandria is senior adviser for Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access.

Sample of comments:

H.B. Elkins ·

Media Consultant at Kentucky Valley Media Consulting

Industrial hemp, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are three distinctly different and separate issues. Far too many times, advocates have appeared to champion the first two and then they show their true colors and advocate for the third. This puts a cloud of suspicion over the motives for supporting industrial hemp and medical marijuana.
You do your cause no favors by mentioning Colorado’s approval of recreational use if you are really advocating medical use. I suspect you are really for full legalization and are just using medical use as an incremental step.
Be honest about your motives. It won’t make me support recreational legalization — I don’t — but it will allow me to respect your efforts.

 

MY RESPONSE:

It is people like HB and JOHN below who are complicit in keeping the repeal of cannabis hemp laws out of KY. Unfortunately most of the politicians in KY have the same mindset.

It all boils down to who has the money now and who they don’t want to have any in the future.

Personally, I am not a legalizer, I am a repealer, meaning that I believe all Cannabis statutes from the Federal Government and UN should be abolished as they are illegal to begin with in my opinion. (Do your own research because I am tired) Legalization renders to regulation which renders to incarceration because, well, what can be more profitable than the prison industrial complex?

This plant has been useful for all of humanity’s existence and will continue to be,  regardless of whether it is legalized or not. (Again, do the research).. The sad part is all the people that could be helped (and one day it may be YOU) that will suffer and die needlessly because of evil people whose only concern in life is how much money they can scarf up from everyone else.

In the meantime, many peoples lives are being saved or at least made better by an illegal plant that God put here, by people who are risking there very lives to get this to those that need it – real patients.

Yes, there are those of us who enjoy smoking a good cannabis ‘cig’ – It helps relieve the mind of stress and pain. Sure is a lot better than the alcohol which most people consume on a daily basis and end up dying from in the long run…

So, I guess until everyone gets their heads on straight about Cannabis, everyone will continue to suffer from statutes, regulation, and imprisonment because people are either too stupid to educate themselves, or are too evil to care.

Which one are YOU???

sk

SOURCE AND LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE ON KENTUCKY.COM

Mother fighting to save daughter through medical marijuana


marijuana

By MELISSA REINERT

The Kentucky Enquirer

WILLIAMSTOWN, Ky.

Tiffany Wigginton Carnal is in the fight of her life to save her daughter.

Lyndi Carnal, 17, has Crohn’s Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Lyndi was diagnosed when she was 14. Since that time, she and her mother have spent three Christmases, three New Year’s Days and countless other days at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

The medications Lyndi has taken to control the Crohn’s and subsequent pain have negatively impacted her heart, kidneys and liver. Lyndi has also had her colon and rectum removed. The medications to control the pain keep Lyndi sedated and unable to function. One of her medications, Dilaudid, is a strong opiate that can be addictive.

“These medications are making children drug addicts. Lyndi has gone through withdrawals,” Tiffany Carnal said. “Lyndi was once a cheerleader and a beauty pageant winner, she won all over the state. Now she is bed-ridden and not able to function. As a parent, I have to ask, ‘How can I help my child?’ ”

The answer, according to Carnal, is illegal.

“I started doing my own research and learned that medical marijuana can help children who have Crohn’s Disease,” she said. “However, this is illegal in our state.”

The Carnals reside in Williamstown, Kentucky, where the use of marijuana, even for medical purposes is against the law. In 2016, Sen. Perry Clark introduced Senate Bill 13, a bill that would end marijuana prohibition for adults in the Commonwealth and create a regulated and taxed system. The legislature adjourned, however, without taking action on the bill. The bill — Cannabis Freedom Act — to legalize medical marijuana use in the state, will be presented to the legislature in 2017.

Carnal has been busy writing and calling her state representatives to encourage passage of the bill.

“I’m not at all for recreational use of marijuana, but there are facts that marijuana oil helps children with epilepsy, Crohn’s and cancer,” Carnal said.

According to the Mayo Clinic, medical marijuana is marijuana used to treat disease or relieve symptoms. Marijuana is made from the dried leaves and buds of the Cannabis sativa plant. It can be smoked, inhaled or ingested in food or tea. Medical marijuana is also available as a pill or an oil.

Also according to the Mayo Clinic, studies report that marijuana has possible benefits for several conditions. Crohn’s is on that list.

“It’s so frustrating that I can’t give my child a natural oil that could help her and not cause her other organs to fail or for her to be on a constant high,” Carnal said. “I can’t do that, but I can give her drugs that are killing her. There’s got to be a better way. There is. Things… the law… just have to change.”

This last bout with complications from Crohn’s almost took Lyndi’s life. She has been at Children’s for two months and was recently taken off life support. She’s on the mend, but the road ahead will be tough. She’s looking at two more months at Children’s.

“She has survived,” Carnal said. “She’s still here and for a reason. And that reason is not to spend her life in the hospital. Me? I’m going to fight to make sure she can get a natural treatment that will help her and not bring harm to her. That is my job as a parent.”

Read more here: http://www.heraldonline.com/news/article126600394.html#storylink=cpy

Kentucky Bill Would Legalize Medical Marijuana, Take Step to Nullify Federal Prohibition


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 13, 2016) – A Kentucky Senate bill slated for introduction in 2017 would legalize medical marijuana for qualifying patients in the state, effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition on the same.

Pre-filed by Sen. Perry B. Clark (D-Louisville), BR409 would “protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their practitioners and providers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture, if such patients engage in the medical use of cannabis.” The bill will be considered by the Kentucky State Senate during the 2017 legislative session.

Patients would be able to qualify for medical marijuana if they suffered from one of the following ailments listed in BR409:

A terminal illness, peripheral neuropathy, anorexia, cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, substance use disorder, mood disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, lupus, muscular dystrophy, post-traumatic stress disorder, diabetes, sleep disorder, fibromyalgia, autism, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, Tourette syndrome, anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or the treatment of these conditions

Medical marijuana patients would be allowed to designate a caregiver under BR409, which would permit another individual the legal authority to grow the plant on behalf of the qualifying patient. Dispensaries, called “compassion centers” in BR409, would be permitted to operate as well provided that they comply with the tax and regulatory structure established under the legislation.

“Most of my life we have expended tax dollars pursuing a ban on a plant,” Sen. Clark said in a WKYT news report from earlier this year. “Wasted dollars, they were. We have exponentially increased the power and scope of our criminal justice system by strapping it with issues concerning a plant.”

Despite the federal prohibition on marijuana, measures such as SB409 remain perfectly constitutional, and the feds can do little if anything to stop them in practice.

LEGALITY

The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970 prohibits all of this behavior. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.

Legalization of medical marijuana in Kentucky would remove a huge layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.

FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By curtailing state prohibition, Kentucky sweeps away much of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.

Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.

A GROWING MOVEMENT

With passage of SB409, Kentucky would join a growing number of states simply ignoring federal prohibition, and nullifying it in practice. Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have already legalized recreational cannabis. California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts are set to join them after voters approved ballot initiatives in favor of legalization last November.

With more than two-dozen states allowing cannabis for medical use as well, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition any more.

“The lesson here is pretty straight forward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.

WHAT’S NEXT?

BR409 will need to be formally introduced and pass its committee assignments before it can be considered by the full Senate. Stay in touch with our Tenther Blog and our Tracking and Action Center for the latest updates.

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Senator Perry Clark has pre-filed a bill for the 2017 legislative season that pertains to legalizing marijuana in the state …


 

Marijuana Legalization laws hit the books in Kentucky in 2017.

 

Almost one year after filing the Cannabis Freedom Act, Kentucky State Senator Perry Clark has pre-filed a bill for the 2017 legislative season that pertains to legalizing marijuana in the state.

Filed on December 6 for the January, 2017, legislative season, the new bill is called the Cannabis Compassion Act and is filed as BR 409. Nevertheless, little has changed between the wording of the proposed laws of 2015, 2016, and the new 2017 Cannabis Freedom Act.

Now, voters will get another chance to see if this Kentucky marijuana legalization bill will fizzle out or get accepted into law.

Alternatively, the fact that recent elections have replaced some candidates could mean the newcomers are more receptive to marijuana legalization than their predecessors.

Before the elections, Norml gave most of Kentucky’s congressional members a poor rating for their lack of support for any type of marijuana legalization. The exceptions are Republican pro-marijuana legalization advocates Senator Rand Paul and Representative Thomas Massie.

In particular, it was noted that many Republican Kentuckians in the House of Representatives voted against the 2016 Veterans Equal Access Amendment.

While these elected officials in the U.S. House of Representatives might not be voting for federal legalization of medical marijuana or cannabis, there is still hope that the Kentucky State Senate will have new members that decide to vote for marijuana legalization.

Ballotpedia points out that the Kentucky State Senate had “19 of 38 total seats… up for election in 2016.” The outcome of this election did have some surprises, such as a large number of state senators running for re-election while also being unopposed.

Another interesting note in history is that the current bipartisan makeup of 11 Democrats and 27 Republicans in the Kentucky State Senate has remained the same before and after the election.

This meant that there was no shift in the number of Democrats or Republicans at the Kentucky State Senate before or after the November 8 elections, but there will be a few newly elected officials voting on the Cannabis Compassion Act in 2017.

On the other hand, Kentucky might need to worry about Republicans voting against marijuana legalization because many members of the GOP are not as anti-marijuana legalization as they were in the recent past.

For example, Atlantic quoted Bill Bennett, former Education Secretary under George W. Bush, at a panel discussion at the Conservative Political Action Conference, titled “Rocky Mountain High: Does Legalized Pot Mean Society’s Going Up In Smoke?” During the panel discussion in 2014, Bill Bennett said there “used to be a strong conservative coalition opposed to drugs.”

However, in 2014, it was clear to Bill Bennett and other GOP members that the conservative anti-marijuana legalization viewpoint was dissipating in the face of mounting public support for legalization. Bennett concluded with the sentiment that Republicans are “fighting against the tide” on the legal marijuana issue.

In the past, the issues with marijuana legalization in Kentucky in 2016 centered on behind-closed-doors meetings about the proposed law.

Two Kentucky state senators that were commonly quoted as being unsure about passing a marijuana legalization law in the state were John Schickel and Jimmy Higdon. Both of these senators are still in elected positions, and this means they will have another chance to vote on marijuana legalization in January, 2017.

For example, the last update about the 2016 marijuana legalization law in Kentucky was around September, according to WFPL. At that time, it was determined that the 2016 Cannabis Freedom Act was “assigned to a committee but never received a hearing.”

Kentucky state senator Jimmy Higdon was quoted at that time saying that he was not sure how the bill would manifest, and also said marijuana legalization might only be implemented for “end-of-life situations.”

Although Senator Jimmy Higdon’s remarks stand out, an attempt to push the 2017 Cannabis Compassion Act may not be futile despite it being denied in the past. For instance, it appears the Kentucky State Senate was expecting there to be another marijuana legalization bill to vote on in 2017.

In July, North Kentucky Tribune spoke with Kentucky state senator John Schickel, and he was paraphrased as saying that while the Cannabis Freedom Act “never made it to the Senate floor for a vote,” the issue is still considered relevant and “legislators want to further research the issue prior to the start of next year’s session in January [2017].”

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, other pre-filed bills for Kentucky to vote on in 2017 include increasing penalties related to narcotics.

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Health care refugees: Medical marijuana and new hope


By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent
Video produced by John Bonifield, CNN

Updated 12:16 PM ET, Mon November 28, 2016

Paramedics transport Abby Muszynski to the air ambulance that will fly her from Florida to Colorado.

 

This is the second part of a series on health care refugees. Read the first part here.

(CNN)Rich and Kim Muszynski know when their 5-year-old daughter, Abby, is about to have a grand mal seizure because her pupils enlarge, and she’ll seem to fixate at something in the distance that only she can see.

Then it starts. Abby’s extremities shake. She gasps for air.

By the time she turned 3, Abby had tried about eight different anti-seizure medications. None of them worked very well. Panicked to see their daughter getting worse and worse, the Muszynskis drove three hours to Orlando to see Dr. Ngoc Minh Le, a board certified pediatric neurologist and epileptologist.

Le told them that chances of another anti-seizure drug working on Abby were tiny. He recommended medical marijuana. The timing was right: Just months before, Gov. Rick Scott had legalized the use of a type of non-euphoric cannabis called Charlotte’s Web.

The formulation had been a miracle for a little girl with epilepsy named Charlotte Figi. The Muszynskis had seen her story on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary “Weed.”

Charlotte’s Web did help Abby, but not as much as it had helped Charlotte. She still was having about two grand mal seizures a week, each lasting about eight to 10 minutes.

Le explained to Kim and Rich that Charlotte’s Web has only tiny amounts of THC, one of the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. Medical marijuana with higher levels of THC was Abby’s best hope, he told them.

But at this point, in 2015, high-THC marijuana wasn’t legal in Florida for Abby. To get it, the Muszynskis would have to move, leaving behind their friends and family, including two older children.

    Kim thought about Colorado, where Charlotte Figi lived. She’d checked with parents of disabled children there, and they told her the state had a fair and efficient Medicaid program.

    Getting to Colorado would be a challenge: Abby’s doctors said it wasn’t safe for her to fly on a commercial plane or to take a long car ride across the country.

    The Muszynskis began their final fight with Florida Medicaid — one that would leave Kim and Abby homeless for several days.

    Kim says that in mid-August, she started talking to Medicaid officials about getting an air ambulance to Colorado. On September 19, Rich drove the family car out to Colorado. They planned for Kim to attend the closing on their house in Boynton Beach on September 23 and leave on the air ambulance with Abby that afternoon.

    Kim had emailed and spoken with various Florida officials, and it seemed to her that everything was in order. “Please give a call today so we can finalize travel arrangements!” Mary Joyce, a senior registered nurse supervisor at Children’s Medical Services at the Florida Department of Health, wrote in an email to Kim on September 20.

    But then several days passed, and there was still no final approval for the transport.

    Their house sold, Kim and Abby were homeless. They moved in with Kim’s best friend and her husband. All of Abby’s equipment, like her bed with guardrails, was with Rich on their way to Colorado. Kim slept with Abby on the floor.

    Abby’s cries at night kept Kim’s friends awake. Kim wrote emails begging Florida officials for help. But for the first time, she added someone not previously included on the email: this CNN reporter.

    Three days later, she learned that the transport had been approved.

      A spokeswoman for Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration gave this statement:

      In this case relocation services are not covered by Medicaid, per federal Medicaid guidelines. However, thanks to Safety Net funds made available by Governor Scott and the Legislature, the state supported this family by covering the costs to provide relocation services via the air ambulance of the mother’s choice. Working with the family, the state arranged transport as quickly as possible,” wrote the spokeswoman, Mallory McManus.

      CONTINUE READING STORY HERE!

      Pets on Pot: The Newest Customer Base for Medical Marijuana


      When Lisa Mastramico needed relief for her ailing tabby, Little Kitty, she turned to an unlikely source: marijuana.

      At 12 years old, the cat had arthritis. For a long while she spent her days hiding in a closet, where Ms. Mastramico had built her a bed of plush blankets. After trying various supplements that proved ineffectual, she went to a meeting for Women Grow, an industry group for cannabis entrepreneurs.

      She was not sold on the idea right away. “My concern was that it’s not my place to get my cat high,” said Ms. Mastramico, the director of a public access television network in Long Beach, Calif.

      But with Little Kitty becoming increasingly isolated, it was time to give it a try. She got a medical marijuana card and purchased two edible oils made for pets and derived from cannabis that she squirts into her pet’s mouth.

      Continue reading the main story

      Little Kitty doesn’t hide anymore. In fact, she’s more like her old self: sunbathing on the living room carpet, playing with Ms. Mastramico’s other cat, Valentina. “When I’ve given it to her, she’s never acted high: falling face-first into her food bowl, chowing down,” Ms. Mastramico said. “She comes out and socializes, wants to be in your lap, wants to be petted. It’s a very noticeable difference.”

      Other animal lovers who have turned to cannabis-based products to alleviate a host of pet maladies, including seizures, inflammation, anxiety and pain, are reporting similar results. Although they have not been approved by regulators, marijuana-based treatments are being used not only for cats and dogs, but for pigs, horses and domesticated wild animals.

      Maria Ellis Perez, 55, a mold inspector from Pompano Beach, Fla., gives Treatibles chews made from hemp to one of her pets, a domesticated female skunk named Ricochet. At age 12, Ricochet limps and has cataracts. At one point, she had grown so withdrawn that she refused to eat. “We thought it was her time,” Ms. Ellis Perez said.

      But after a few days of nibbling hemp, Ricochet seemed more content. “She was turning her head and looking up with the good eye,” Ms. Ellis Perez said. “She showed up for breakfast.”

      The Food and Drug Administration has not approved cannabis for pets, in part because there is little research showing its effectiveness. Veterinarians are not allowed to write prescriptions for the products and, in states where marijuana is illegal, are wary of discussing the idea. Last year, a proposed state law was defeated in Nevada that would have made it possible for veterinarians to prescribe cannabis to pets with chronic illnesses. Still, users swear by the products.

      Cate Norton, 36, who lives in Springfield, Vt., and works at an animal rescue center, said she drives her two Rottweilers, Ruby and Leia, to a veterinarian in Hanover, N.H., where medical marijuana is permitted. “My vet would like to do it but can’t legally touch it,” she said.

      Ms. Norton gives 3-year-old Leia a hemp-based product called Canna-Pet for seizures and anxiety. In the eight months of treatment, she said, “there has been a great reduction in the severity of her seizures.”

      To understand the effect of cannabis on animals, it helps to know a little of the science. The cannabis plant contains dozens of cannabinoids, among them THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC has the psychoactive properties that make people feel high but are toxic to animals.

      CBD, on the other hand, offers the benefits without the buzz. Industrial hemp, used to make textiles and paper, is used in pet products, too, because its THC levels are negligible.

      “Dogs are very sensitive to the effects of THC,” said Steve Blauvelt, a veterinarian in Bend, Ore. With the recent legalization of marijuana in some states, more pets have ended up in veterinary hospitals panting and in distress after digging into their owners’ stashes or pilfering a pot-laced cookie from the counter.

      “Most pet owners who end up bringing their animal in are in denial,” Dr. Blauvelt said. But eventually, he said, “they come clean and say their dog ate one of their brownies.”

      Pallas Weber, 53, a video editor in Los Angeles, was skeptical about giving cannabis to Emmett, a 12-year-old chow-shepherd mix who got a diagnosis of bone cancer in 2012, resulting in an amputated front left leg. But the painkiller her veterinarian prescribed left him too woozy to support his 75-pound frame on his other legs.

      So last June, Ms. Weber bought Emmett a cannabis-based tincture called VETCBD, which is sold at California dispensaries. Four months later, she has reduced the painkillers, and Emmett moves with some of his old swagger. She uses it for Emmett’s anxiety, too, giving him an extra dose on the Fourth of July to keep him from diving headfirst into the closet. “Fireworks really freak him out,” she said.

      Stephen Katz, the New York State assemblyman who is also a veterinarian, has teamed up with the University of Pennsylvania’s school of veterinary medicine to conduct clinical trials of Therabis, a trio of hemp-based powders he created for anxiety, mobility and itching.

      “I had a lot of clients who did a lot of flying,” he said. “They wanted tranquilizers so they could carry their dogs in their lap.” He worried, though, about the harsh effect of sedatives on the dogs’ cardiovascular and respiratory systems and thought his clients’ animals would benefit from hemp.

      At his practice in the Bronx, he said, he treats a number of pit bulls suffering from allergies and separation anxiety. “Those dogs scratch an itch down to the bone,” he said. The products’ cost is on par with prescription drugs, he said: about $20 to $40 a month.

      Pet owners in California, where medical marijuana has been legal for two decades, are at the forefront of the trend. Rachel Martin, 32, a dog trainer, uses VETCBD for a variety of her dogs’ ailments. “All of them have very complex and detailed medical issues,” she said. A Jack Russell terrier named Shadow has had multiple surgeries; Sophie, a rat terrier, had a diagnosis of cancer; and Petri, a Chihuahua-mix, suffers from fear-based anxiety.

      Ms. Weber had to get a medical marijuana card to buy products for her dog Emmett. That led her to an awkward conversation with a physician who solely prescribes medical marijuana for people.

      “I went to the weed doctor and said, ‘I need a card so I can get it for my dog who had cancer,’” said Ms. Weber, who said she doesn’t smoke pot or drink. “He said, ‘I don’t have a solution for that.’ So I told him I had insomnia.”

      Maureen McCormick, 54, lives in Newport Beach, Calif., and was persuaded of marijuana’s benefits after relatives used cannabis products for their own aches and pains. She thought they would benefit her 14-year-old cat, Bart, who has arthritis in his front legs. “I told the doctor I had a knee that aches, and my shoulder, too,” she said. “I also said I want to use it for my cat.” She got the card in July.

      Ms. McCormick is using a tincture by Treatwell, a California company that also makes edibles for humans. So far, though, she said she has not seen much progress in Bart. “It’s frustrating, because cats are more challenging than dogs,” Ms. McCormick said. She has adjusted the dose three times, working with Melinda Hayes, 39, the founder of Sweet Leaf Shoppe, a medical cannabis delivery service based in Los Angeles.

      Ms. Hayes, who opened her dispensary in 2014, started working with pet owners and their animals last year after consulting with cannabis product makers. “It’s a lot of going back and forth,” she said.

      She said she now aids 40 animals, and about half of her calls these days are about pet care. “I go as often as I can to meet the pet,” Ms, Hayes said. “Owners look at their loved ones through rose-colored glasses. People can verbalize their reactions. Animals cannot.”

      She also gives cannabis products to her own pets: her boxer-terrier mix, Diva, who tore a ligament in her right knee; Snoop, her pitbull-Shih Tzu mix, who has allergies and anxiety; and Tug, a box turtle who suffers from disorders of the shell and the bones. Ultimately, Ms. Hayes wants to have a full-service storefront where people can take their pets for consultations and care.

      “This way,” she said, “I can combine my two favorite things: dogs and pot.”

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