Cannabis convict Eddy Lepp free from prison

Lepp, age 64, hailed as a “marijuana martyr” by supporters

 

By Lisa M. Krieger | lkrieger@bayareanewsgroup.com

PUBLISHED: December 7, 2016 at 9:59 am | UPDATED: December 8, 2016 at 9:16 am

 

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SAN FRANCISCO — Free after eight years of federal imprisonment, one of the nation’s most celebrated cannabis convicts came home to California on Wednesday, walking off a United Airlines flight into the warm embrace of supporters — and a profoundly changed world.

Charles “Eddy” Lepp, a defiant 64-year-old Vietnam vet and ordained Rastafarian minister, was convicted on federal felony charges in 2007 for doing something that California now considers legal because of last month’s passage of Proposition 64: growing marijuana.

 

“I’m very honored. I’m very humbled. Thank you so much for caring,” Lepp told friends and family at San Francisco International Airport, tears streaming down his creased cheeks.

Then he vowed to fight for national legalization of cannabis and presidential pardons for first-time nonviolent drug offenders.

“Just because I went to federal prison doesn’t mean I got off the horse,” said Lepp, who will be on drug-monitored probation for five years. “It is still a long, long ride — and I’ll be there when it’s done.”


Read the full story and find more California cannabis news at TheCannifornian.com.

SOURCE LINK

Legalize marijuana for the state’s sake

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Editorial Board

In 1996 California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana. Since then 28 more states have approved the drug for medical use, with another eight, including California, allowing adults to use the drug recreationally. Unfortunately, Kentucky has been slow to adapt, despite the many benefits legalizing the drug would provide.

Back in the day, Kentucky used to thrive growing tobacco. That same land, rich for growing tobacco, is ideal for growing marijuana, which can also be used to produce hemp, a versatile product which can be manufactured into paper, textiles, clothing, food, plastic, and a multitude of other products. 

Marijuana would also be useful as a medical alternative for many in the state who are dependent on prescription drugs. 

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Kentucky has the highest cancer rates of any state in the country, largely due to our large dependence on the coal and mining industries, which has left countless hard-working Kentuckians with lung cancer. The U.S. National Cancer Institute has said that marijuana kills cancer cells along with alleviating the nausea and other symptoms associated with chemotherapy, which poses a much more effective alternative to prescription drugs. 

With so much of our state crippled by a dying coal industry, legalizing marijuana would be an enormous jobs creator for people looking to farm the crop and others looking to get into the business side of the industry with dispensaries. 

While stigmas still exist surrounding the drug, the issue of marijuana legalization is slowly becoming more of a bipartisan issue that draws support from both Democrats and Republicans, including Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, who has said in the past that he plans to sign a medical marijuana bill into law during his time in office.

 

It has become a trend in the mainstream media to avoid one of the most pressing issues, not …

States that have approved the drug for recreational use, such as Colorado, tax the drug, and use the money in a variety of ways, from helping the homeless, to improving infrastructure and education. In 2016 alone, Colorado is expected to bring in over $1 billion in tax revenue from marijuana. 

If a similar system of policy was applied in the Bluegrass, money could be used for better education throughout the state, a hot-button issue under Bevin’s administration due to his proposed, but unsuccessful, cuts to higher education. Revenue could also go towards helping revitalize eastern Ky. along with infrastructure, homeless, and veterans, following in the footsteps of Colorado’s successful endeavor with the green. 

According to a 2012 poll by Kentucky Health Issues, 78 percent of Kentuckians support the legalization of medical marijuana. It’s time for our lawmaker’s throughout the state to come together and enact a policy to reflect the will of the people. The longer we wait, the more potential tax revenue we miss out on that could go to benefitting Kentuckians in need. It’s time to

“Make Kentucky Green Again!”

Email opinions@kykernel.com

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Senator Reginald L. Thomas 2017 Legislative Session Questionnaire

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Dear Friend,

When the Kentucky General Assembly convenes on January 3, 2017, legislators will be making decisions about public policy that affects you and your family. As your State Senator, I value your opinion and want your input on some issues that may be addressed in the 2017 Session. Please take a few minutes to answer these questions and share your concerns. To help me prepare for the upcoming session, I would like to have your responses by Tuesday, December 27, 2016.

To answer the questionnaire by e-mail, click “reply.”  To select your answers, place an “X” next to your choice. To submit your answers, click “send.” (You may also mail or fax the completed questionnaire to the addresses located at the bottom of this questionnaire.)

Thank you.

1. During the 2016 Regular Session, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation to allow Kentuckians convicted of low-level non-violent felonies to ask the court to permanently expunge their records five years after they have completed their sentence or probation. The filing fee for an application to have records expunged was set at $500. Do you support legislation to reduce the filing fee for felony expungement from $500 to $200?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

2. Do you support creating a Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights through a constitutional amendment? The projections for crime victims would include the right to be notified of court hearings, the punishment, and the release date for the perpetrator.

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

3. Do you support bringing Kentucky drivers’ licenses and other identity cards into compliance with the federal REAL ID initiative? Without compliant IDs or an alternative ID, such as a passport or military ID, Kentuckians will have future trouble flying on commercial airlines or may face other restrictions after a federally mandated deadline passes.?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

4. Should a person be found guilty of unlawful storage of a firearm when he or she recklessly stores a firearm in a manner that allows a minor to have access to a firearm that is not secured by a trigger lock, and the minor, without legal justification, accesses the firearm?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

5. Kentucky does not require voters to show photo ID. Identification can be proven by personal acquaintance with a poll worker, a social security card, or credit card.  All voters sign the precinct list of voters. Should Kentuckians also be required to show photo ID to vote?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

6. Do you support re-establishing a program for kinship care to provide a more permanent placement with a qualified relative for a child who would otherwise be placed in foster care due to abuse, neglect, or death of both parents?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

7. Currently nurse practitioners are allowed to prescribe controlled substances but physician assistants are not. Do you support allowing physician assistants to prescribe controlled substances?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

8. Should killing a police officer be a hate crime?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

9. Currently, the State Medical Examiner is keeping records of all arrest-related deaths voluntarily but the office is not required to do so. Do you support requiring record keeping on all arrest-related deaths?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

10. Breastfeeding has many benefits to infants and families, including providing the ideal nutrients needed by infants. Should the General Assembly require employers to provide time and space for mothers to express their milk?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

11. Do you support establishing an independent panel of medical experts to review claims of medical malpractice before a lawsuit can be brought in circuit court?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

12. Do you favor requiring doctors to show a woman an ultrasound image of her fetus and explain how it is developing before performing an abortion?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

13. Should students be required to use the restroom and other facilities, such as locker rooms and shower rooms, based on their “biological sex”?

       Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

14. Should students be permitted to use the restroom and other facilities, such as locker rooms and shower rooms, based on the gender with which they identify?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

15. There has been research showing that marijuana has positive medical benefits for patients dealing with illnesses like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and AIDS. Do you support legislation that would make marijuana a Schedule II drug thus legal for doctors to prescribe?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

16. As other states legalize and realize the benefits of taxation and licensure, should Kentucky consider legalizing marijuana as a source of income?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

17. Do you support raising the state minimum wage

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

18. Do you support participation in a public school interscholastic extracurricular activity by a home school student?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

19. Despite many changes in our revenue needs and the fundamentals of our economy, our current tax system has been mostly unchanged since the 1950s. Would you support reforms to modernize our tax code if it also generated additional revenue?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

20. If tax modernization requires a change in the state’s sales or income taxes, would you support expanding the base to include services (such as dry cleaning and physician fees) rather than increasing sales or income tax rates?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

21. Should the General Assembly enact legislation amending the Kentucky Constitution to allow local governments to impose a local option sales tax?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

22. To improve access to the polls by members of our military, do you favor allowing military voters to return their completed ballots via e-mail?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

23. Do you support a statewide smoking ban in public places?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

24. Do you support drug screening or testing for public assistance applicants and/or recipients?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

25. Would you support legislation that would set a cap on the amount you could receive for non-economic damages (pain and suffering) for injuries incurred due to the negligence of a healthcare provider?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

26. Do you favor allowing the people of Kentucky to vote on a constitutional amendment concerning expanded gaming in Kentucky?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

27. Do you support legislation that would permit public money to be used for public charter schools that would be granted special permits to operate outside usual state regulations?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

28. Do you support legislation that would permit public money to be used for private and parochial charter schools?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

29. Kentucky government entities, including schools, are required to pay a “prevailing wage” for major construction projects. This usually equates to workers being paid at or near union-level wages. Opponents say it just increases costs; supporters say it guarantees both union and non-union workers a living wage. Should the General Assembly abolish the prevailing wage law?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

30. Once a majority of a group of workers votes to join a labor union, all are granted union wages and benefits.  Under “Right to Work” legislation, all members of the group continue to receive union benefits and wages, but none are required to pay dues or an agency fee for their fair representation by the union.  Should the General Assembly address “Right to Work” legislation during the upcoming legislative session?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

31. Many Kentuckians get into a debt trap by misusing payday lending services.  Do you support capping the interest rates these lenders can charge and imposing penalties for violating the caps?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

32. Do you support legislation that bans talking on a cell phone while driving?

Yes ______              No ______              Unsure ______

34. What do you feel is the most pressing issue facing the Commonwealth?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

35. How should the Kentucky General Assembly address this issue?   ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you for taking your time to complete this questionnaire. Please feel free to share a copy with other constituents in the 13th senatorial district who would like to share their thoughts. I am always grateful for input from the citizens I serve in Frankfort. If you are not already receiving my legislative updates, please share your e-mail address below so we can stay in touch.

Best Wishes, Reggie

Name: _____________________________________________________________________

Email: _____________________________________________________________________ 

To submit your answers:

Fax:      (502) 564-9536

Mail:    255 Capitol Annex Building

702 Capitol Avenue, Frankfort, KY 40601

E-mail: reginald.thomas@lrc.ky.gov

In the photo above, I am shown receiving the Citizen of the Year Award from the Kentucky Nurses Association (KNA) for my consistent effort to make it a requirement that all elementary and secondary public schools in Kentucky have a school nurse. I was especially honored to accept the award because this was the first time in several years that KNA has given the award. I appreciate the honor and thank all the nurses across Kentucky for the work that they do.

*****

First new hemp strain bred for US farmers

By: Chris Conrad

Retail Hemp field crop

A new industrial hemp cultivar has passed the THC hemp trials managed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the first hemp seed variety bred for the US to pass a Department of Agriculture hemp trial in any state.

Thomas Jefferson was a jealous hempseed breeder who allegedly brought Chinese seeds in from France in the 1790s to mix with the European strains. Later the US Department of Agriculture adopted an aggressive program to breed plants that were drought resistant and climate or soil specific for different parts of the United States and came up with some of the best hemp strains in the world. That all came to an end with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, when hemp farming was essentially banned. The national seed banks died out when the federal Drug Enforcement Agency took control in the 1970s and destroyed them in the name of the Drug War.

Act of Congress opened the way for new hemp seedlines

In February 2015, Congress passed the hemp amendment to the Farm bill and opened new avenues for cannabis hemp. Two years later, Rely™ by New West Genetics has become the first modern hemp variety bred for the U.S. to pass Colorado Department of Agriculture hemp trials. The plants have a stable THC content below 0.1 percent, compared with the federal standard of 0.3 percent or less.

“This is a landmark victory for New West Genetics, as well as hemp production in the United States overall,” said Wendy Mosher, CEO for New West Genetics. “The use of regionally bred hemp seed for production is imperative for the US hemp industry to succeed, and we hope that the results for Rely™ act as a catalyst for other U.S. hemp product makers to recognize the benefit of regionally bred varieties – better yield, disease resistance, sustainability, etc. and demand those be used for their products.”

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Kentucky Congressmen Seek Clarification on Federal Hemp Rules

By Matt Markgraf Oct 27, 2016

Three members of Kentucky’s U.S. Congressional delegation joined 16 other members of Congress in a letter Wednesday seeking clarification from federal agencies regarding industrial hemp guidelines.

Senator Rand Paul and Representatives Thomas Massie and John Yarmuth signed a letter to The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Drug Enforcement Administration and Food and Drug Administration looking to revise the ‘Statement of Principles’ issued in August.

The Congressmen say there is confusion over pilot programs approved in the 2014 Farm Bill allowing state ag departments and universities, including Murray State, to grow the plant for research. Guidance also could have a limiting effect on sales and transportation, the letter argues. Federal law prohibits farmers growing for commercial profit, but retail sales of products made with hemp are legal.

Kentucky’s Ag Commissioner Ryan Quarles sent a letter to the USDA last month objecting to the rules, saying they “could hinder industrial hemp’s economic potential.”

Read the letter sent Wednesday

 

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More executive overreach? Lawmakers say Obama hemp policy is a buzzkill for research

 

Kentucky is one of 28 states that permit the production of industrial hemp.

Kentucky is one of 28 states that permit the production of industrial hemp. Charles Bertram Lexington Herald-Leader

By Curtis Tate

ctate@mcclatchydc.com

 

You can’t get high from smoking hemp, but a bipartisan group of lawmakers says states and universities growing it for research could get busted if they cross state lines with it.

Three Kentucky lawmakers — Republican Sen. Rand Paul, Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth and Republican Rep. Thomas Massie — have asked the Obama administration to remove or revise August guidance that prohibits the shipment of hemp plants and seeds across state lines even for research.

Industrial hemp only contains a fraction of the intoxicating chemical associated with its cousin marijuana, and it is grown worldwide to produce fabrics, carpets, paper, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and even auto parts.

While federal law prohibits farmers from growing hemp for a profit, it can be grown in some states for research purposes.

 

We request that you please remove the attempted prohibition on transporting plants and seeds across state lines.

 

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and 18 other lawmakers in letter Joining 16 of their colleagues in a letter dated Thursday, the Kentucky lawmakers told the Drug Enforcement Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration that its guidance has sown seeds of confusion among state agriculture departments and universities that have hemp research programs.

Kentucky and 27 other states have authorized the production of industrial hemp. The 2014 Farm Bill enabled those states to establish pilot programs.

This year in Kentucky, 135 growers and 4,500 acres have been approved under the state’s pilot program. Kentucky had led the nation in hemp production until after the Civil War.

This year in Kentucky, 135 growers and 4,500 acres have been approved under the state’s pilot program.

The Farm Bill also says the Executive Branch may not use appropriated funds “to prohibit the transportation, processing, sale or use of industrial hemp” that is grown in accordance with the law.

The three agencies do not have the authority to issue the guidance they did in August, the lawmakers wrote.

“We request that you please remove the attempted prohibition on transporting plants and seeds across state lines,” they wrote.

 

Curtis Tate: 202-383-6018, @tatecurtis

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article110887257.html#storylink=cpy

From Growing Tobacco to Growing Hemp

Jane Harrod, a farmer in Kentucky, talks about transitioning to a different crop after the U.S. soured on cigarettes.

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Bourree Lam

Since the 1960s, the number of Americans who smoke has decreased significantly; in 1965, more than 40 percent of adults reported smoking, compared to around 17 percent in 2014. During that same period, tobacco production has dropped precipitously as well.

Still, in 2012, the U.S. produced some 800 million pounds of tobacco, and Kentucky—the state with the second-largest tobacco harvest in the U.S. (North Carolina’s comes in first)—is responsible for almost a quarter of that output. Yet even in Kentucky, tobacco farming has waned, forcing many farmers to look into other crops.

Jane Harrod runs a small farm in Kentucky. Her family used to grow tobacco, but she’s since switched over to growing hemp, a somewhat controversial plant—what with the federal ban on marijuana and medical marijuana still being illegal in Kentucky—that the state is currently testing out with pilot programs. For The Atlantic’s ongoing series of interviews with American workers, I talked to Harrod about her family farm, the recession, and why she decided to shift production to hemp. The interview that follows has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

 

We could probably be called hippies at the time. We weren’t big spenders; we grew our own food and raised our two daughters there in Owen County. There were a lot of young people that had moved into the area, because the farmland was cheap. We had an intentional-community situation where we had like-minded people set up a feed co-op and do tobacco together with other crops.

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KY: Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program now taking applications for 2017

Image result for KENTUCKY HEMP

New measures set to enable sustained growth of the program

FRANKFORT (October 11, 2016) Kentuckians interested in participating in the industrial hemp research pilot program in 2017 are invited to submit an application with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

“The pilot research program will continue to build on the successes of the previous administration by developing research data on industrial hemp production, processing, manufacturing, and marketing for Kentucky growers,” Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said. KDA’s objective is to expand and strengthen Kentucky’s research pilot program, so that if the federal government chooses to remove industrial hemp from the list of controlled substances, Kentucky’s growers and farmers will be positioned to thrive, prosper and ultimately prevail as national leaders in industrial hemp production.”

The KDA operates its program under the authority of a provision of the 2014 federal farm bill, 7 U.S.C. § 5940 that permits industrial hemp pilot programs in states where hemp production is permitted by state law. Participants planted more than 2,350 acres of hemp in 2016 compared with 922 acres in 2015 and 33 acres in 2014, the first year of the program.

Applicants should be aware of important new measures for the 2017 research program, including the following:

· To strengthen the department’s partnership with state and local law enforcement officers, KDA will provide GPS coordinates of approved industrial hemp planting sites to law enforcement agencies before any hemp is planted. GPS coordinates must be submitted on the application. Applicants must consent to allow program staff and law enforcement officers to inspect any premises where hemp or hemp products are being grown, handled, stored, or processed.

· To promote transparency and ensure a fair playing field, KDA will rely on objective criteria, outlined in the newly released 2017 Policy Guide, to evaluate applications. An applicant’s criminal background check must indicate no drug-related misdemeanor convictions, and no felony convictions of any kind, in the past 10 years. Staff with the KDA’s industrial hemp pilot project program will consider whether applicants have complied with instructions from the department, Kentucky State Police, and local law enforcement.

· As the research program continues to grow, KDA’s hemp staff needs additional resources and manpower to administer this tremendously popular program. The addition of participant fees will enable KDA Hemp Staff to handle an increasing workload without needing additional taxpayer dollars from the General Assembly. Program applicants will be required to submit a nonrefundable application fee of $50 with their applications. Successful applicants will be required to pay additional program fees.

Grower applications must be postmarked or received by the KDA marketing office no later than November 14, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. EST. Processor or handler applicants are encouraged to submit their applications by November 14, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. EST.

For more information, including the 2017 Policy Guide and a downloadable application, go to kyagr.com/hemp.

CONTINUE TO KENTUCKY DEPARTMENT OF AGRIGULTURE