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Kentucky

Hemp power-players lobby Congress to shift mind-set, legalize crop

The U.S. Hemp Roundtable, an alliance of national trade groups and businesses, seeks to hammer home message that industrial hemp should be an agricultural commodity, not a controlled substance.

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Vice Presidential Showdown Being Held in Hemp Country

biden ryan

The political world has been buzzing since last week’s presidential debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.  Most analysts and viewers felt Mr. Romney won the debate and that the President seemed distant and unmotivated.  The president has vowed to turn up the intensity next week as the polls have shifted toward Romney a bit.  However before next week’s showdown we will watch the right hand men of the two candidates go into political battle.

Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan will be in Danville Kentucky for their debate.  While this may not seem significant for some, Kentucky is hemp country both in a historical sense and in a modern sense.  Kentucky lawmakers, one of them being the widely known Rand Paul, have been fighting to reform hemp laws, which if possible, make even less sense than our marijuana laws.  Our politicians are the quickest to include American flags on their lapelle but often the slowest to remember exactly what the stars and stripes stand for.  America’s history on hemp will forever be intertwined as George Washington even required farmers to grow the plant in order to help during the revolutionary war.

Irrational and overblown fears of marijuana during the turn of the 20th century into the 1930s lead to lawmakers also outlawing hemp.  The fact that it is virtually impossible to get “stoned” from this part of the marijuana plant would not serve as a deterrent for dogmatic lawmakers.  Hemp stalks include a fraction of 1% of THC, where most strains of marijuana can range from 10-25% THC.  As more is being uncovered about hemp’s versatility, even politicians who love reminiscing in the good old days of anti science are forced to reconsider their opposition.

The two vice presidential candidates will probably stick close to the talking points of their runningmates/bosses.  Even as Joe Biden is known for abandoning the script, we do not feel he will be fielding questions on marijuana and hemp, even though much of the debate will revolve around recycled ideas as to how we get America back to work.  If only each debate required a local segment, where the issues impacting the region where the debate is being held were discussed.  If that were the case then last week we may have heard President Obama and Governor Romney articulate their position on compassion and relief while this week we would be treated to Paul Ryan and Joe Biden telling us how they would jumpstart hemp farming, create jobs, and educate Americans about the wonder fiber.

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As Convention Politics Dominate It is Important not to Lose Sight of Hemp Developments

rand paul

Rand Paul, the son of the popular marijuana legalization advocate Ron Paul, has secured a passionate following in his own right.  Rand Paul is a U.S. Senator from Kentucky, a state with an extremely rich hemp history.  This week he spoke at the Republican National Convention, of course to no one’s surprise he did not bring up hemp and marijuana reform.  We will not hold Rand Paul accountable for that as the RNC heavily vetted his speech, perhaps worried he would channel some of the ideas the Paul’s that are not in step with the GOP.  However, while August has been a highly national political month as the presidential election kicks into full gear, another issue has gained momentum.  Joining Rand Paul is Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner James Comer who is also seeking to reform outdated an ill advised laws restricting hemp farming.  The two would like to alter Kentucky law before it becomes fashionable for other states to do so.  Kentucky has traditionally been the center of hemp production in the U.S. and the feeling is that economic prosperity could return to Kentucky if they act now.


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Love is A Complicated Matter

love is complicated

Last week marijuana.net ran a story about President Obama and his roller coaster relationship with cannabis in an article titled “Can Hemp Repair Fractured Relationship Between Obama and Marijuana?”.  In it we detailed a classic American love story that is currently fractured and in pieces.  The president’s re-election campaign was selling scarves made of hemp, so we started to wonder if this was the first step to the president and marijuana getting on speaking terms again.

Similar to most all romantic problems, the issue can get very complex.  Normally marijuana.net does not get into the “she said/he said” but we cannot resist here.  Last week the move appeared to be an attempt to mend the fences but we have found out a new twist.  Critics were upset with President Obama because the hemp used for the scarves has to be imported from China.  Americans are still not allowed to grow industrial hemp despite all of its known uses and quality.  The president has the ability to push to legalize hemp, instead, he choose to keep it in the dark.  This move hurts desperate American farmers who could benefit tremendously from a newly legal hemp market.

The president and other elected officials often say “what kind of message does this send to our children” when describing hemp, medical marijuana, or cannabis legalization.  However we must ask what kind of message does it send to our children that a benign wonder fiber that could jump start the economy has been criminalized?  Even further what kind of message do we send when we say it is ok for China to produce and export hemp to us, but it is not appropriate for the United States to create their own hemp.  What kind of message does it send to ignore our rich hemp history, (which includes an order by none other than General George Washington to grow hemp fiber for the Revolutionary War) especially in Kentucky.  It always seems that the American government looks to other nations when they need their dirty work done.

The White House had to or should have been well aware of the critical reaction to this story.  How could they think they would get away with acknowledging hemp’s usefulness and diverting the profits toward a re-election campaign but keeping it illegal on U.S. soil?  The only theory we have is that the president was trying to antagonize his former love marijuana.  Instead of granting her legal status he decided to take her cousin out on a date.  Being a gentleman is not a prerequisite for the United States presidency, but the leader of the free world should know better.

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Canadian Government Decides to Invest in Hemp

canadaThe criminalization of marijuana has caused some head scratching for decades.  Why exactly are naturally growing buds with few side effects (certainly far less than many FDA approve drugs”) and a wealth of medical potential illegal?  Lobbyists?  Political stubbornness?  Lack of Compassion?  Well if we cannot these questions about why our government has outlawed marijuana …continue reading

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Hemp’s Rich Legacy May be Showcased Soon in Kentucky Museum

hemp museum pic

As cannabis buds continue to impress the medical field as an all purpose medicine, it is important that we do not forget that the entire plant has so many benefits.  Hemp is the all purpose fiber and it is no surprise that another part of the cannabis plant would offer as much variety as the medicine.  Here at marijuana.net we have spoken about how hemp can be used in rope, building materials, paper, jewelry, clothing, fuel, medicine and food (this list can go on for quite a bit).  With many historians believing that hemp has been cultivated since approximately 8000 B.C., we have had a long time to appreciate and learn more about this natural wonder (with new uses constantly being discovered).

In an effort to bring awareness to the varied uses and long history of hemp, Katie Moyer plans on opening the Kentucky Hemp Museum.  She has amassed a collection of items that include agricultural equipment and historic memorabilia.  The collection is currently in Lexington but Ms. Moyer would like to transport it to its new home in Hopkinsville, where the museum is planned.

Kentucky has a long history with hemp and at one point produced 96% of the nations supply before it was outlawed.  Katie said recently about hemp that “ It’s as much a part of our history as horses, or bluegrass, or anything and we don’t realize it. And the goal of having the museum is to educate people about Kentucky’s history.” We at marijuana.net agree and would love to see a resurgence in the hemp industry.  Kentucky could certainly use the economic boost as they, like most states, have been hit hard with the bleak economy over the past few years.  Also embracing the state’s history could help people to see this plant is not evil and would remind people of all of it’s benefits.

The moral objection to hemp is confusing at best.  Hemp cannot produce any of the psychedelic  effects associated with smoked cannabis and in an age where we can use cost efficient but quality solutions, hemp can re-emerge at the perfect time.  In this digital age, it would be great to remind people how much we can accomplish with traditional farming.  Keep checking back with us as we will soon revisit hemp and its under represented brilliance.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News May 25, 2012

andy caffrey

Andy Caffrey Plans to Smoke Marijuana in front of U.S. Capitol if he wins election…

A marijuana patient and activist is seeking to win the congressional seat for California’s 2nd district which includes much of the northern region of the state.  Andy Caffrey has been known to light up a joint during his campaign stops.  If elected he has vowed to continue the tradition on the steps of the United States Capitol building.  The district has been occupied by long time law maker Wally Herger (R-CA) since 1987.  Earlier this year, Mr. Herger announced that he would not be seeking re-election in November.  Caffrey is hoping that he can win the soon to be vacant seat by advocating for major changes in marijuana law and voiced his frustration with both Republicans and Democrats.  The race will be interesting as many hats have been thrown into the race with almost all of them supporting legalized or medical marijuana.  Caffrey has spent previous time working with the environmental group Earth First.

 

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Appeals Court Rejects Medical Marijuana Suit by Disabled Plaintiffs…

Struggling patients were not granted the compassion they were seeking by federal courts.  A lawsuit was filed against California (Marla James vs. the City of Costa Mesa) cities for cracking down on marijuana dispensaries.  The plaintiffs claimed the actions of city municipalities were in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  The plaintiffs who are legal marijuana card holders say that other treatments have failed to reduce pain.  The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in providing public services.  The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals seemed to sympathize with the plaintiffs but felt they could not offer protection because the Americans with Disabilities Act recognizes federal law instead of state legislation.

 

For more on this story and the court’s decision click here

 

US Judge says GPS Use in Marijuana Bust Illegal…

The Drug Enforcement Agency followed Robert Dale Lee by installing a GPS device on his truck.  In September of last year, Kentucky State Troopers pulled over Lee already having vital info provided by the GPS.  Lee arrived in Kentucky with over 150 pounds of marijuana in his truck from Chicago.  A US judge is throwing out the case because the DEA failed to get a warrant before installing the GPS.  In January, the United States Supreme court ruled against the DEA having permission to use GPS locators without a warrant.

 

For more click on this link

 

 

United States Senate Officially Outlaws Synthetic Cannabis…

While the outlawing of synthetic cannabis pretty much was handled several months ago by the US Senate, it is now official.  Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) previously objected to the legislation but now the Senate is finally able to move forward.  A bill was also passed by the house toward the end of 2011.  Both bills will likely be combined and then be presented to the president for his signature.   Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) has led the federal charge against synthetic cannabis.  Synthetic marijuana products such as “K2” and “Spice” have come under fire as they have been linked with serious side effects and emergency room visits, especially by teenagers.

 

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Moving to Legalize Domestic Hemp

GW sow hemp

As the movement for the legalization of marijuana marches on people often forget about the Mary’s sister plant, industrial Hemp.  Both plants are members of the cannabis genus and both are illegal to grow or possess under Federal law.  They are two genetically distinct species with different properties.  Marijuana contains as much as 27% THC in its buds, leaves and trichomes.  Whereas hemp generally contains 0.3% or less THC (although some places do allow for it to contain 1% and remain classified as industrial hemp).  Furthermore the two plants are unsuited to be used interchangeably.  Marijuana is unsuited for industrial purposes such as paper, clothing and building goods due to the nature of growth of the plant fibers.  Similarly, industrial hemp will not get have the effects of smoked marijuana. It is very similar to the way that poppy seeds can make a person test positive for opium, but would produce get them “doped up”.

Since 1937 it has been illegal to cultivate both marijuana and hemp plants, aside from a special dispensation in WW2 (see “Hemp for Victory“).  Today many states have passed laws allowing for compassionate use of medical marijuana, but it is still illegal to domestically grow and distribute industrial hemp products.  This continues despite growing demands for hempen clothing, building supplies, fossil fuel substitutes, and food products.  However, it is legally allowed to import foreign hemp products.  To meet this demand, American companies must purchase goods from Canada, China and a few European countries.  This is a farce.  America (from the time of the colonies) was built on money provided by Hemp cash crops.  At this time we are relegated to sending hard-earned American dollars overseas (OK, Canada is not overseas) to buy raw seed and fiber and end-products that could easily be made here, at an economic benefit for Americans.  This market has nowhere to go except upward, especially as more Americans become aware of the many benefits (nutritional, agricultural, industrial, economical) presented by Hemp.

Currently, eighteen states have recent laws (within the last 20 years), bills, or amendments on the books or pending legislation seeking to allow for domestic cultivation of Industrial Hemp.  Many of those states have only first stage laws that require studies by state boards looking into economic and agricultural benefits.  Many of these studies are underway, but none have been completed.  Part of this is due to the political insecurity that arises from dabbling in marijuana laws.  Although attitudes have shifted greatly in the last several years, many politicians are still wary of endorsing anything marijuana-related.  Regardless of those studies, every bill has language reflecting the worries about Federal prosecution.  The caveats in the bills all mention that Federal statutes must either be overturned, rewritten, or researchers and farmers will require permits or dispensations from the DEA, DOJ or even IRS in order to grow hemp crops and be in compliance of state and federal laws.

The most recent states to challenge this Federal ban include Kentucky, Vermont, North Dakota, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, and Montana.  Members of Congress have also sought to change the laws.  In 2007, 2009, and 2011 they have introduced “The Industrial Hemp Farming Act” so that low potency cannabis crops would be exempted from the Federal ban.  The current measure, House Bill 1831 has numerous co-sponsors but has not received a Congressional hearing.  If passed, states would have the power to approve and regulate hemp cultivation and trade.  Last year, Hemp imports were valued at over four hundred million dollars.  This number is expected to increase this year and more in the future.  Hemp production could soon be valued at over $1 billion.  Taxed revenues from this business would do well to help offset American debt and trade deficits, if it was a domestic product.  Not only is this an incredibly useful plant, it is hardy and grows in poor soils that are unsuited for other crash crops.  Additionally, rotating hemp through poor soils helps to lock nutrients back into the earth so that other crops can grow better.  It also is a prime source for photosynthesis and carbon sequestration, helping to mitigate the problems posed by increased amounts of CO2 and other greenhouse chemicals present in the atmosphere.

As more information comes to light about hemp it seems that the cultivation of this plant is a win-win situation for the environment, the economy, and the people of our country.  Unfortunately, the same special interests (tobacco lobby, Big Pharma, Alcohol, fossil fuels) who secured the ban over seventy years ago still have enormous political clout.  Combined with the inordinate amount of false information and prejudice against the cannabis plant, those in favor of legalization face a stiff uphill battle.  More than ever it is incumbent upon us, we the people, to take an active role in our nation’s future and declare that this plant should not be denied to us.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News Update April 6, 2012

farm

Hemp Comeback Could Be in the Works for Kentucky Farmers…

 

In an age that is increasingly tough on America’s agricultural industry, some good news may be ahead for Kentucky farmers.  Kentucky used to be one of the largest hemp producers before legal changes made its production illegal.  Hemp is now often imported from Canada and lawmakers may seek to bring the industry and its economic benefits back home.  Hemp is known for its versatility and has a wide range of uses including bio-fuels, clothing, paper, lotions, building and composite materials, anti inflammatory medicines, omega-3 supplements, and many other products.  Building support for hemp reform has taken years but state Sen. Joey Pendleton sees a brighter future.  He recently said “We’ve come a long way” and “The first year I had this, it was lonely.”  Many others in the Kentucky legislature have now shown their support and Senator Pendleton said he believed that 2013 would be the year where new laws permitting hemp production will be passed.

 

For more click here

 

 

Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Lake Elsinore Raided…

 

Federal authorities targeting medical marijuana dispensaries had a busy week in California.  Oaksterdam University was raided and now the Drug Enforcement Administration has moved on to force Compassionate Patients Association to close its doors, at least for the time being.  Agents also searched the home of Ernest Cruz Acosta, who runs the collective.  The attorney for the collective said that Compassionate Patients Association has followed all state laws.  No arrests have been made as of yet.

 

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Billboard in Colorado Tries to Cultivate Different Image of Marijuana Supporters…

 

The push for marijuana reform seems to have been slowed, for years, by the negative stereotypes associated with users.  Advocates have fought long and hard to change that perception.  The group from Colorado, Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol have placed their message on a billboard.  The billboard depicts an ordinary woman who says “For many reasons I prefer marijuana over alcohol.  Does that make me a bad person?”  The group has been very active and even organized a successful ballot initiative to place marijuana legalization in the hands of voters.  The billboard is not the first of its kind as Florida has also seen advocates getting their message out this way.


For more click here

 

 

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Proposed Kentucky Medical Marijuana Law Shows Change in Midwest Politics

blue vs. red

The traditional ideas of red and blue state politics may no longer apply.  Many Southern and Midwest states are seriously considering medical marijuana, a political issue that would have surely had little chance of passage only several years ago.

With Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Alabama among states that either permit medical marijuana or have pending legislation that could legalize it, the political map has changed drastically.  Medical marijuana is becoming a consensus issue, and Kentucky is the newest state to join the mix.  Kentucky state senator Perry B. Clark (D-Louisville) has sponsored Senate Bill 129, which would move marijuana from a schedule I to a schedule II substance and allow physicians to prescribe marijuana.  The bill is also being titled the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act, after the high profile attorney who advocated for marijuana reform.  Unfortunately, Louis Gatewood Galbraith passed away last month.

Senator Clark cited a poll conducted by the Marijuana Policy Project which indicated that over 81% of Americans feel doctors should be able to prescribe marijuana to patients who are in need of relief.  Under the new bill patients would be allowed to have up to 5 ounces of marijuana per month. He also said “Marijuana has positive medical benefits for patients dealing with illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS, to name a few, I want to allow this as another treatment option for those individuals.”

This proposed legislation comes from a state where many may be surprised to see considering medical marijuana.  As mentioned above, predictable politics is no longer a sure business.  Technology connects us at speeds only limited by our high speed internet connections.  As patients continue to share their stories, it will not matter what state one resides in, health and relief are desired in both red and blue states alike.

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