Chad Wilson of Cave City stands next a row of industrial hemp he is growing on his farm called the Sacred Seed Farm. He is growing hemp for the cannabidiol or CDB, which is extracted from the plant and can be used to treat certain illnesses. Gina Kinslow / Glasgow Daily Times
BY GINA KINSLOW email@example.com
CAVE CITY – Seven years ago, Chad Wilson was anti-industrial hemp, but that’s mostly because he didn’t really know what it was. He thought industrial hemp and marijuana were the same thing.
But they’re not. Industrial hemp is different from marijuana, even though they are part of the same plant family.
“All my life I was told to stay away from the Devil’s lettuce, and that’s what I did as a good southern boy,” he said. “I didn’t understand that hemp wasn’t marijuana.”
The major difference between the two is that industrial hemp contains a much lower concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, than marijuana.
THC is the hallucinogenic that is found in marijuana.
“There is no getting high off industrial hemp,” he said.
After seven years, Wilson has come a long way. He has gone from being anti-industrial hemp to being an industrial hemp farmer. He is also now a cannabis activist.
He grows hemp on land in Cave City he calls the Sacred Seed Farm, and says he got into industrial hemp farming by accident.
“I was doing organic farming on a little two acre plot in Bowling Green. I realized my son did not know how to grow his own food and seeds. At that point I was just doing traditional gardening, so I got into finding ways to teach him and stumbled across some stuff on hemp and the nutritional value,” he said.
Then he discovered that studies are showing an extract of industrial hemp can be used to aid in the treatment of certain illnesses, even epilepsy. He also learned that industrial hemp can be used to make biodiesel fuel and clothing, among other things.
Wilson planted a little more than nine acres of industrial hemp this year. He is one of two hemp farmers in Barren County, and one of many across the state.
“In order to be a hemp producer, it is a permitting process and that process is handled by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in cooperation with law enforcement so that everybody is on the same page. They know where every hemp production is,” said Chris Schalk, Barren County’s Agriculture Extension Agent. “I guess this is probably the second or third year for the permitting process.”
The federal farm bill of 2014 allowed state departments of agriculture to create industrial hemp research pilot programs.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles hosted a roundtable discussion for Barren County producers in October at the Barren County Cooperative Extension Service’s office off West Main Street, and during his talk he mentioned industrial hemp.
“Industrial hemp obviously gets a lot of publicity. We have a very strong industrial research hemp program here. We want to remind people that this may not be a silver bullet for tobacco, but it might be something that works for some farmers. It may not work for others,” he said. “My family used to grow it in World War II because the government asked them to for the U.S. Navy. For some people we believe this could be a profitable market.”
On Wilson’s Sacred Seed Farm, he grows industrial hemp for the cannabidiol or CDB, a natural plant compound with significant medical benefits.
Wilson is co-owner of a Louisville-based business called Green Remedy.
“We buy the hemp from the farmers and then we take it into our facility and we have a CO2 extraction where we extract the CDB and then we make the tinctures and the capsules and the isolets and all the different kinds of products, and it is a Kentucky Proud Product,” he said.
Wilson is also owner of another business called Modern Concepts, which is located on the Sacred Seed Farm in Cave City.
“This is about a 4-year-old business that I moved from Bowling Green because I wanted to get back to small town America. I wanted to get back to country living and back home to the country,” Wilson said. “We’re losing farm families every day across the state and my family was one of the ones who lost their farm in the early ’80s due to the economics of farming. For me, it’s personal and it’s about getting my boys back to the farm and living simpler.”
Modern Concepts is a garden supply center that will offer organic, hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponicly grown plants.
“We’re also a distributor for a “Shark Tank’ product – the Tree-T-Pee. What we’re doing is basically going out and finding the specialty product for this industry and bringing it to Cave City,” he said.
Industrial hemp farming has become an economically viable business for many producers.
“There’s not a lot crops out there right now that can bring the economic hope to the small Kentucky farm like this plant can right now,” Wilson said.
Despite all the things industrial hemp has going for it, it is considered to be a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act, along with other varieties of cannabis. But that is something U.S. Rep. James Comer, R-Tompkinsville, is hoping to change.
“I have a bill that I’m working on … that will address all of the updates that are needed with the hemp industry. And that’s the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017,” Comer said.
The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2017 will do a lot of things, but the main thing it will do is reclassify industrial hemp from a controlled substance to an agriculture crop.
“That will solve a lot of the problems right there,” he said.
Comer, a former Kentucky commissioner of agriculture, referred to industrial hemp as being “a huge success story.”
“That’s something I was glad to be a part of in a big way and that’s kind of the issue that I’m identified with. When we passed it in 2013 in Kentucky, nobody would have predicted that here we are four years later and we are the leading hemp producing state in the nation,” he said. “It’s just been a real good success story. There’s a lot of hemp being grown in Kentucky. A lot of companies that are coming into the state are making a big private investment, so I think the future looks very bright for the hemp industry in Kentucky.”
Extracting CDB from industrial hemp is not the only thing that can be done with the plant.
“It is being used as fiber in textiles. It is being used as a heavy duty fiber in a lot of the tarps that is used in the military. We’ve got companies trying to use the fiber to make components for the automotive industry for mainly the dashboards and door panels for cars in Europe,” Comer said
Industrial hemp is also being grown for livestock feed.
“Murray State University is doing a lot of research on hemp from that aspect because it yields so much more per acre than fescue hay,” he said. “And they are testing the digestibility and the nutrient content. Cattle eat it. That’s for sure.”
Comer continued that he thinks more and more uses will surface for industrial hemp because it is a plant than can be used in so many ways.
“It can be used in bioenergy. It can be used in textiles. It can be used in pharmaceuticals. It can be used in construction. There seems like for every potential use of hemp there is interest in companies to come into the state and make an investment and start processing the hemp here in Kentucky, which would be good,” he said. “It would be good for farmers. It would be good for job creation.
“I think that once we can get legislation on the federal level that deregulates hemp, I think you’ll see more private dollars flow in and more processing facilities come online and therefore more farmers will grow it.”
PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
June 19th, 2013
Glenwood Springs, CO
Lab Testing Reveals EnviroTextile’s Hemp Fabric Stops the Spread of Staph Bacteria
Hemp Marches Towards Military and Health Care Applications
Rampant staph infections continue to cost lives unnecessarily. One powerful weapon to fight this scourge is being successfully deployed by China’s military: industrial hemp. Staph is spread by direct contact and by touching items that are contaminated such as towels, sheets, privacy curtains, and clothing. As noted by the San Francisco Chronicle, “It is estimated that each year 2 million Americans become infected during hospital stays, and at least 90,000 of them die. MRSA (an antibiotic resistant strain of staph) is a leading cause of hospital-borne infections.” One of the most important recent discoveries is hemp’s ability to kill surface bacteria, while cotton, polyester, and polyethylene allow it to remain on their surfaces for up to months at a time.
Unknown to many, hemp fabrics exist in today’s market that can replace each of these transmission prone hospital items. Technological improvements for hemp textile development began in the early 90s when EnviroTextile’s lead textile engineer, Barbara Filippone, began working with hemp in China. To date, the company has over 100 hemp and hemp blended fabrics available to suit any traditional fabric application. In addition to staph resistance, other tests show hemp fabrics superior resistance to UV and infrared wavelengths, providing multiple applications for military use.
Hemp fabric was tested against two bacteria strains, Staphylococcus Aureus (staph) and Klebsiella Pneumoniae (pneumonia). The fabric tested was a hemp blend, 60% hemp and 40% rayon. The staph test sample was already 98.5% bacteria free during the first measurement of the testing, while the pneumonia fabric sample was 65.1% bacteria free. These results, even prior to the tests completion, clearly display the fabrics unique capability at killing bacteria and reducing their spread. This is especially imperative for healthcare facilities.
For infrared testing, the same hemp blend was analyzed resulting in a test result of 0.893, or nearly 90% resistant. Different blended fabrics have the potential to increase the percentage of this initial test, especially fabrics with a higher percentage of hemp. Many of hemp’s applications will benefit our military, and EnviroTextile’s hemp fabrics have recently been approved by the USDA as Federally Preferred for Procurement under their BioPreferred Program.
Thirty one states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and 19 have passed pro-hemp legislation. The potential for military and national adoption of hemp appears to be moving forward expeditiously considering a decade’s long ban. As science continues to “rediscover” the benefits of hemp for society, the solution is emerging from the fog of prohibition. Hemp is no longer an ancient fiber and it is well on its way to be the future of fabric.
EnviroTextiles is woman-owned industrial hemp and natural fiber manufacturing company with their headquarters in Glenwood Springs, CO, and is the largest manufacturer/importer of hemp and natural fiber textiles and products in the United States. EnviroTextiles proudly sells their products in the U.S. and to over 70 countries worldwide. The company presently has their presence in the US, China, and Mexico, and focuses on natural fiber resources and economic development in regions with commodity levels of various natural fibers.
- Survival of Enterococci and Staphylococci on Hospital Fabrics and Plastic – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC86187/
- San Francisco Chronicle, “HEALTH / High staph infection rates in hospitals stun public health officials / New study reports lethal drug-resistant bacteria widespread” – http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/HEALTH-High-staph-infection-rates-in-hospitals-2554708.php
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Nov, 1, 2017) – Someday, a 3-D printed medical implant made from hemp oil may save your life, or a hemp-based biofuel may power your vehicle.
Those are just the tip of the iceberg of possible outcomes of work being done at the University of Louisville’s Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research, where on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 students and staff harvested “energy crops” planted near the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.
2017 marked the second year that hemp and kenaf, an African fiber plant, were planted near Phoenix House, the Conn Center’s solar-powered administrative office building. The plants were an unusual site along the Eastern Parkway overpass, where they were sown in May and were the background of many a selfie.
The plants, both highly suitable to Kentucky’s growing conditions, are part of the Conn Center’s research into biofuels and biomass conversions. The UofL crop was one of eight at Kentucky colleges and universities grown as part of the state’s pilot program into field-scale industrial hemp, but the only one that will be used for energy research.
Industrial hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa and is of the same plant species of marijuana. However it doesn’t contain high levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical found in marijuana that causes the marijuana high. Both hemp and marijuana are classified as Schedule 1 drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, and are illegal to produce in the United States.
In Kentucky, only those who are part of a Department of Agriculture research program into field-scale industrial hemp production may grow hemp. More than 3,200 acres of industrial hemp was grown in Kentucky in 2017, the department said.
The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.
The UofL crop expanded this year to a total area of just over one tenth of an acre, said Andrew Marsh, assistant director of the Conn Center.
The Conn Center’s hemp/kenaf crops were planted near Eastern Parkway, making an unusual sight for those walking along the path to and from the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.
Marsh planted the seeds in three plantings beginning in May. He had help from groundskeepers from Physical Plant and researchers from the University of Kentucky’s industrial hemp program.
After cutting down the plants, Marsh and students bundled and transported them to the Conn Center’s Science & Innovation Garage for Manufacturing Advancement, where they will dry.
“Once dried, the Conn Center’s Biofuels & Biomass Conversion group, led by Jagannadh Satyavolu, and faculty from chemical engineering, such as Noppadon Sathitsuksanoh, will work with the biomass,” Marsh said.
Marsh said the center plans to expand the crop in 2018 and hopes to improve soil quality to ensure the plants do well in their urban environment.
“In 2016 and 2017, the tendencies of different seed types to prosper in our climate and soil conditions over those that do not have become apparent,” Marsh said. “So far, we have been growing in unconditioned ‘urban clay,’ not farm soils. This year gave a better look at the nutrient deficiencies, so 2018 will include soil-conditioning strategies. There are hemp varieties that we grew that just didn’t do very well with our mix of soil, available nutrient and water, but others did great. We’ll be diversifying our seed types next year too, looking for greater yield with minimal soil modifications. This was our first full season of growing, and the results are pretty good for both kenaf and hemp.”
The state’s hemp research program is looking into whether hemp can once again become an economic driver in the state, where it was once grown primarily for making rope.
Satyavolu, the center’s leader for biofuels and biomass conversion, along with assistant chemical engineering professor Sathitsuksanoh and students, are studying whether hurd, the innor core of the hemp plant stem, has potential for use in fuels, chemicals and polymers. Hurd is a byproduct after the outer fibers of the hemp are removed.
The Conn Center research is specifically focused on:
- Converting hemp into high value, functionalized carbons that can be used as catalyst supports and energy storage media
- Transforming hemp seed oil into biocompatible resins for 3-D printed medical implants
- Extracting sugars from hemp to convert into diesel additives and other chemicals
In collaboration with the state, UofL established the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering in 2009. The center leads research that increases homegrown energy sources to meet the national need while reducing energy consumption and dependence on foreign oil. The center promotes partnerships among Kentucky’s colleges and universities, private industries and non-profit organizations to actively pursue federally and privately funded R&D resources dedicated to renewable energy solutions.
Researchers at the Conn Center are studying advanced energy materials manufacturing; solar energy conversion; renewable energy storage; biofuels/biomass conversions; and energy efficiency and conservation.
Mahendra Sunkara is director of the center, named in honor of Henry “Hank” and Rebecca Conn, who pledged $20 million for its formation. Hank Conn is a UofL alumnus who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from the Speed School and also an MBA from the College of Business.
Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles announced today that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture (KDA) has opened the application period for Kentuckians wishing to participate in the state’s industrial hemp research pilot program for the 2018 growing season.
“I am proud to report that our program participants grew more than 3,200 acres of hemp this year, the most ever under the industrial hemp research program,” said Commissioner Quarles. “My vision is to expand and strengthen our research pilot program to put industrial hemp on a responsible path toward commercialization. Our increased production and processing is welcome news for the industry.”
Industrial hemp is one of several alternative crops, including hops and kenaf, that have made headway in Kentucky’s agricultural economy in recent years. In 2017, Kentucky’s farmers planted 3,200 acres of hemp, up from 2,350 acres in 2016, 922 acres in 2015, and 33 acres in 2014, the first year of the program. In addition to 194 grower participants, 48 hemp processors are conducting research as part of the KDA program.
Applications may be downloaded from the KDA website at kyagr.com/hemp. Grower applications must be postmarked or received by November 15, 2017, at 4:30 p.m. EST. Processor/Handler applications are preferred by November 15, 2017, with a final deadline of June 1, 2018.
Public Input on Draft Administrative Regulations
The KDA is also opening a public comment period for preliminary draft regulations governing the industrial hemp research pilot program. Earlier this year, the Kentucky General Assembly passed Senate Bill 218, tasking the KDA with promulgating administrative regulations for the program. Once the process is complete, program rules will be found in administrative regulations, as the law prescribes.
Department officials ask that interested members of the public submit their comments in writing by October 31 so that the agency can consider those comments prior to filing the regulations with the Legislative Research Commission later this year. The draft administrative regulations will be used as the policy to guide the program in 2018.
The draft regulations are available at kyagr.com/hemp. Written comments may be submitted by mail to KDA Hemp Program, 111 Corporate Drive, Frankfort, KY 40601 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Hemp Reg Comments” in the subject line.
KDA operates its industrial hemp research pilot program under the authority of state law (KRS 260.850-260.869) and a provision of the 2014 federal Farm Bill (7 U.S.C. § 5940) that authorizes state-managed hemp pilot programs.
Brent Burchett, Director
Division of Value-Added Plant Production
Office of Agricultural Marketing and Product Promotion
Kentucky Department of Agriculture
111 Corporate Drive Frankfort, KY 40601
email@example.com | Office: 502-782-4120
Kentucky judge dismisses challenge of medical marijuana ban
By adam beam, associated press
FRANKFORT, Ky. — Sep 20, 2017, 4:57 PM ET
Kentucky’s ban on medical marijuana has survived an initial test in court, with a judge ruling Wednesday that the state has a good reason to “curtail citizens’ possession of a narcotic, hallucinogenic drug.”
Twenty-nine other states have legalized marijuana in some way, the most common being for medical purposes. While Kentucky lawmakers have embraced hemp — the fibers of the plant that are used to make rope, clothing and other products — and other uses for the cannabis plant, they have failed to consider a number of proposals that would let people use marijuana as medicine.
Frustrated, three people sued the governor and the attorney general earlier this year and asked a judge to throw out the ban because “denying sick people safe medicine” is unjust.
Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate rejected that argument, ruling the state had good reason to ban the use of marijuana. He also said the state legislature has “discretion to regulate what is harmful to the public health and wellbeing.” He told the plaintiffs their only option was to persuade the state legislature to lift the ban.
“The Bevin Administration applauds Judge Wingate’s decision to follow the law and dismiss this lawsuit,” said Woody Maglinger, a spokesman for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin. “Any change to Kentucky law should go through the legislative process.”
The people who filed the lawsuit could appeal the ruling. Their attorney, Dan Canon, said they have not made a decision yet.
“We respect the court’s decision, but we strongly disagree with it,” Canon wrote in an email to The Associated Press. “Our clients have said all along that they want the government to stop intruding into the relationship between them and their physicians.”
The plaintiffs all say they use marijuana as medicine. Amy Stalker said she used marijuana with a prescription while living in Colorado and Washington state to treat irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She said she has struggled to maintain her health since moving to Kentucky to care for her mother.
Danny Belcher says he uses marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his service in the Vietnam War. And Dan Seum Jr., son of Republican state Sen. Dan Seum, said he uses marijuana to ease pain from his inoperable spinal problems.
Seum Jr. said doctors prescribed him Oxycontin, an opioid-based painkiller that is highly addictive and had led to a surge of overdose deaths in the state.
“I don’t want to be addicted to those type drugs,” Seum Jr. said. “Although cannabis, it doesn’t take (the pain) away completely; it allows me to function a little more. I can function and still not be addicted.”
By Erica Rucker
If Gov Matt Bevin really wants to avoid future state budget deficits and chip away at the pension disaster, instead of cutting services, he must work with state lawmakers from both parties to finally legalize cannabis.
Kentuckians are ready to join the growing number of states where it is legal to some degree — 29 and counting — by changing outdated laws that were based in 1930s “Reefer Madness” hysteria and racism, not research.
Allowing people in Kentucky to use cannabis for medical conditions would be the most humane step, but full legalization is the only logical, economically-sound decision.
It would offer us an option to raise money to repair the state economy and to fight the specter of opioid addiction that has gripped the state for too long. It also would give people safer recreational and medical choices for pain relief and pleasure. And it would benefit communities of color who are disproportionately arrested and prosecuted for drug crimes.
Polls have shown that Kentuckians overwhelmingly support legalization of medical marijuana, and about half support full legalization. With such wide public support across party lines, why have our legislators done nothing? Why hasn’t Bevin stepped in? He has claimed to support legal medical marijuana.
Given his hate for Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear, this seems to be an area he could really stick it to the former governor’s son and boost his public image after a contentious year. Beshear has said he won’t support legalization until federal authorities agree.
Our lawmakers are stuck in the past. Look at the struggle it was to return hemp to Kentucky, a cousin of cannabis that historically had generated a lot of revenue in our state, until it was made illegal. And even today, some Kentucky counties remain dry and are losing revenue to nearby counties or states that have alcohol sales.
Kentucky is giving money away. Regardless of the law, marijuana continues to be imported into the state, and Kentuckians are buying it.
To put it plainly, our legislators are out of step with their constituents. Though they are certainly in step with the ancient lexicon and slogans surrounding the use of marijuana, are they being honest?
I’m doubtful. They are being scared and politically stupid.
The decision to support cannabis legalization would put almost no member of the Kentucky House or Senate in political jeopardy. One key supporter of medicinal marijuana, Sen. Morgan McGarvey, said his fellow Democrats need to take a stronger stand.
“I’ve seen people criticize Democrats for being too cautious in their approach. I think you have to realize there is a difference between campaigning and legislating. I have been supportive of a position of more expansive marijuana; but we can’t get that through. There are people who are suffering and there are people for whom this could help. While you can’t get everything you want, you can help some people,” McGarvey, of Louisville, told LEO.
“Call your legislators. Email your legislators. Let it be known that you feel this way. People don’t always feel empowered but these seats don’t belong to us. They belong to the people of Kentucky. Make your voice heard,” he said.
The proof that cannabis has medicinal treatments should be without question. In 2014 Republican state Sen. Julie Denton sponsored a bill to legalize cannabis oil to treat seizure patients. This bill passed and now cannabis oil can be used in some medically-determined situations.
Why are we still wringing hands over other forms of cannabis?
Civil rights lawyer Dan Canon, who is now running in Indiana’s 9th Congressional District, recently filed a lawsuit against the state on behalf of three people who want to be able to use medical cannabis in Kentucky.
“We’re challenging the prohibition on possession of cannabis by people who have a legitimate medical need. The legislature is refusing to act in the face of overwhelming public support and overwhelming scientific evidence,” said Canon. “This is not the sort of scary monster that the ‘Reefer Madness’ crowd has tried to sell to the American public over the last 80 years.”
Yet Beshear and Bevin want this case dismissed because they feel the Legislature, not a court, should make a decision about legalization.
If the legislators won’t act on their own, then Kentucky, are you ready to catch up with the rest of the nation? If the answer is yes, and by the numbers it certainly seems to be, then it’s time to get loud and in the faces of our lawmakers. It would certainly be to the benefit of the people of our state, much more than standing outside of U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office, or writing letters that end up in a dead letter pile in Washington. Local and state political action has a direct and more immediate effect.
“We are so different than the federal government. When you call Frankfort, your message gets to us. When you email our account, it comes to us. When you come to Frankfort you get to see us. It matters more on a state level,” said McGarvey.
States including Colorado are showing legalization works.
Colorado has experienced an economic boost of $2.4 billion, according to the Marijuana Policy Group, a collaboration between the University of Colorado Boulder Business Research Division and BBC Research & Consulting in Denver. The cannabis industry has created some 18,000 jobs — imagine those jobs in Eastern Kentucky where coal mines are closing.
It is time to ask for what most of us want: the chance to choose a safer alternative for a good time and good medicine.
Bevin needs to get his Kentucky chambers together and make these changes so that those who need medicine can receive, and those who use recreationally can boost the economic power of Kentucky to compete in a nation that is quickly leaving it behind.
BECAUSE THIS STORY IS SO IMPORTANT IN KENTUCKY I HAVE INCLUDED TWO SOURCES OF INFORMATION.
PLEASE FOLLOW THE LINK TO THE VIDEO BELOW TO HEAR THE PRESS CONFERENCE WHICH WAS AIRED ON WLKY.
THE LAWSUIT WAS FILED TODAY, JUNE 14TH, 2017, IN JEFFERSON COUNTY KENTUCKY AGAINST GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR BY DANNY BELCHER OF BATH COUNTY, AMY STALKER OF JEFFERSON COUNTY, AND DAN SEUM JR OF JEFFERSON COUNTY.
ABOVE: LINK TO PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO ON WLKY
FRANKFORT, Ky. —
Three people are suing Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear over Kentucky’s marijuana laws, claiming their rights are being violated by not being able to use or possess medicinal marijuana.
The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in Jefferson Circuit Court, was filed on behalf of Danny Belcher of Bath County, Amy Stalker of Louisville and Dan Seum Jr., son of state Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale.
Seum turned to marijuana after being prescribed opioid painkillers to manage back pain.
“I don’t want to go through what I went through coming off that Oxycontin and I can’t function on it,” he said. “If I consume cannabis, I can at least function and have a little quality of life.”
The plaintiffs spoke at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Seum does not believe the state can legally justify outlawing medical marijuana while at the same time allowing doctors to prescribe powerful and highly addictive opioids, which have created a statewide and national epidemic of abuse.
That legal justification lies at the heart of the plaintiffs’ legal challenge, which claims Kentucky is violating its own constitution.
The lawsuit claims the prohibition violates section two of the Kentucky Constitution, which denies “arbitrary power,” and claims the courts have interpreted that to mean a law can’t be unreasonable.
“It’s difficult to make a comparison between medical cannabis and opioids that are routine prescribed to people all over the commonwealth, all over the country, and say that there’s some sort of rational basis for the prohibition on cannabis as medicine when we know how well it works,” said Dan Canon, who along with attorney Candace Curtis is representing the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit also claims Kentucky’s law violates the plaintiffs’ right to privacy, also guaranteed under the state constitution.
Spokespeople for Gov. Bevin and Beshear say their offices are in the process of reviewing the lawsuit.
In a February interview on NewsRadio 840 WHAS, Bevin said the following in response to a question about whether he supports medical marijuana:
“The devil’s in the details. I am not opposed to the idea medical marijuana, if prescribed like other drugs, if administered in the same way we would other pharmaceutical drugs. I think it would be appropriate in many respects. It has absolute medicinal value. Again, it’s a function of its making its way to me. I don’t do that executively. It would have to be a bill.” CONTINUE READING…
Lawsuit challenges Kentucky’s medical marijuana ban
By Bruce Schreiner | AP June 14 at 6:38 PM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s criminal ban against medical marijuana was challenged Wednesday in a lawsuit touting cannabis as a viable alternative to ease addiction woes from opioid painkillers.
The plaintiffs have used medical marijuana to ease health problems, the suit said. The three plaintiffs include Dan Seum Jr., the son of a longtime Republican state senator.
Another plaintiff, Amy Stalker, was prescribed medical marijuana while living in Colorado and Washington state to help treat symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She has struggled to maintain her health since moving back to Kentucky to be with her ailing mother.
“She comes back to her home state and she’s treated as a criminal for this same conduct,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Canon. “That’s absurd, it’s irrational and it’s unconstitutional.”
Stalker, meeting with reporters, said: “I just want to be able to talk to my doctors the same way I’m able to talk to doctors in other states, and have my medical needs heard.” CONTINUE READING…
The word “marijuana” plays a controversial role in cannabis culture. Many well-known organizations such as Oakland’s Harborside Heath Center have publicly denounced “the M word” in favor of our favorite plant’s Latinate name, cannabis. Even Salon Magazine, a major press outlet outside of the cannabis industry, published an article titled “Is the word ‘Marijuana’ racist?” last year.
As mainstream culture becomes a little more herb-friendly, the terminology used by the industry is coming to center stage. But, why exactly does the term “marijuana” cause so much debate? Even worse, why has the word gained publicity as a racist term?
To save you from reading those lengthy history books or some boring academic articles, we’ve created this brief timeline to give you the low-down on “marijuana”’s rise to popularity in the United States. Here’s what you need to know:
The Mexican Revolution
Prior to 1910, “marijuana” didn’t exist as a word in American culture. Rather, “cannabis” was used, most often in reference to medicines and remedies for common household ailments. In the early 1900s, what have now become pharmaceutical giants—Bristol-Meyer’s Squib and Eli Lilly—used to include cannabis and cannabis extracts in their medicines.
During this time, Americans (particularly elite Americans) were going through a hashish trend. Glamorized by literary celebrities such as Alexander Dumas, experimenting with cannabis products became a fad among those wealthy enough to afford imported goods.
Between the years of 1910 and 1920, over 890,000 Mexicans legally immigrated into the United States seeking refuge from the wreckage of civil war. Though cannabis had been a part of U.S. history since the country’s beginnings, the idea of smoking the plant recreationally was not as common as other forms of consumption. The idea of smoking cannabis entered mainstream American consciousness after the arrival of immigrants who brought the smoking habit with them.
The first bill criminalizing the cultivation of “locoweed” was passed in California. The bill was a major push from the Board of Pharmacy as a way to regulate opiates and psychoactive pharmaceuticals, and seemingly did not stem from the “reefer madness” or racialized understanding of “marijuana” that paved the way to full-on prohibition in the 1930s.
The Great Depression had just hit the United States, and Americans were searching for someone to blame. Due to the influx of immigrants (particularly in the South) and the rise of suggestive jazz music, many white Americans began to treat cannabis (and, arguably, the Blacks and Mexican immigrants who consumed it) as a foreign substance used to corrupt the minds and bodies of low-class individuals.
In the time just before the federal criminalization of the plant, 29 states independently banned the herb that came to be known as “marijuana.”
It would not be an overstatement to say that Harry Anslinger was one of the primary individuals responsible for creating the stigma surrounding cannabis. Hired as the first director of the recently created Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930, Anslinger launched a vigilant campaign against cannabis that would hold steady for the three decades he remained in office.
A very outspoken man, Anslinger used the recent development of the movie theater to spread messages that racialized the plant for white audiences. In one documented incident, Anslinger testified before Congress, explaining:
“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind… Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.”
In another statement, Anslinger articulated: “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
In retrospect, Anslinger’s efforts with the Bureau of Narcotics were the reason “marijuana” became a word known by Americans all over the country. When making public appearances and crafting propaganda films such as Reefer Madness, Anslinger specifically used the term “marijuana” when campaigning against the plant, adding to the development of the herb’s new “foreign” identity.
Cannabis was no longer the plant substance found in medicines and consumed unanimously by American’s all over the country.
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was the culmination of Anslinger’s work and the first step to all-out prohibition. The bill federally criminalized the cannabis plant in every U.S. state. In order to discourage the production of cannabis use, the Tax Act of 1937 placed a one dollar tax on anyone who sold or cultivated the cannabis plant.
On top of the tax itself, the bill mandated that all individuals comply with certain enforcement provisions. Violation of the provisions would result in imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
Though the word “marijuana” is the most common name for cannabis in the United States today, its history is deeply steeped in race, politics, and a complicated cultural revolution. Some argue that using the word ignores a history of oppression against Mexican immigrants and African Americans, while others insist that the term has now lost its prejudiced bite. Regardless of whether or not you decide to use the word yourself, it’s impossible to deny the magnitude and racial implications of its introduction to the American lexicon.
(Catching up on old news…It’s here because it’s important!)
As cannabis is legalized for medical and recreational use on a state-by-state basis, safety regulations regarding cannabis products are becoming increasingly important. One aspect of safety regulations involves setting maximal allowable limits on pesticides. Such regulations are particularly significant given that medical populations, including young and immunocompromised patients, are among the intended consumers of cannabis products.
The cannabis industry has a pesticide problem – actually, many problems. A number of studies have reported high levels of pesticides on cannabis samples taken from the medical markets in Washington and Colorado [Russo p66, Sullivan]. There have been cannabis product recalls in both states and in Canada because of pesticide infractions.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets pesticide standards and tolerance levels nationally. But the EPA has not approved any pesticides specifically for use on cannabis because it is a federally illegal substance. So, as of now, it’s up to each state to decide on a single “action limit” for each pesticide applied to cannabis. An action limit refers to the maximal allowable level of a pesticide. This limit is reported in units of parts per million (ppm). A 1 ppm limit on a pesticide means that up to 0.0001% of the product’s weight can be from the pesticide.
A state cannot set a pesticide action limit that is more permissive than regulations for general use on food crops established by the EPA. In some cases, the EPA’s limit for food products is adopted by state marijuana regulators. But in other cases a stricter limit is determined by the level of quantification that can be “reasonably achievable by analytical chemists” [APHL p15]. In other words, action limits are often based on the ease of detecting chemicals rather than a prioritization of their dangers.
The same limit for a particular pesticide applies whether a product is meant to be smoked, vaporized, or ingested – even though different modes of administration can dramatically change the toxicity of the pesticides. Cannabis is still consumed primarily by smoking. Yet there is next to no information on the health effects of burning pesticides. This information vacuum is likely attributable to lobbying by the tobacco industry. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the “EPA does not assess intermediate or long-term risks to smokers because of the severity of health effects linked to use of tobacco products themselves” [GAO].
In other words, because cigarette-smoking is already known to be harmful, federal officials decided that it’s not important to understand the adverse health effects of inhaling combustible pesticides. Consequently, state regulators are lacking crucial information about many pesticides. Two pesticides used in the cannabis industry, myclobutanil (generally sold as Eagle 20) and pyrethrins, underscore the inconsistency of current pesticide regulations.
Pyrethrins are a natural family of six pesticides produced by chrysanthemum. They break down quickly in sunlight or heat. They are highly toxic to aquatic life but have low toxicity to warm blooded animals, including humans. The EPA maintains that pyrethrins do not pose a chronic risk for mammals (including humans), except potentially for people who regularly spray them on crops [EPA p9]. In commercial products, pyrethrins are generally sold with piperonyl butoxide (PBO), a compound that synergizes with pyrethrins, allowing them to be effective at lower doses. Pyrethrins should not be confused with pyrethroids, synthetic chemicals that are as different from pyrethrins as THC is from synthetic “spice” or “K2” bath salts.1
The action limit for pyrethrins is 1 ppm in every state that has set pesticide regulations for marijuana. California recently released proposed regulations, setting the pyrethrin limit at 0.7 ppm for edibles and 0.5 ppm for other cannabis products.2 Hearings will be held on this proposal four times in the month of June. The regulations can be found here.
But the European Food Safety Administration (EFSA) has concluded that it is safe for humans to ingest up to 0.4 mg pyrethrins per kg bodyweight every day [EFSA]. By this estimate, an average 135 pound human consuming state-approved cannabis could ingest 55 pounds of product in a day without toxicity due to pyrethrins.3 This calculation can be inverted, and an action limit can be determined from the maximal amount of cannabis products used in a day. For example, if one assumes that no one ingests more than 1% of their body weight in cannabis products (about 1.1 pounds for an average human), then 40 ppm is a stringent enough action limit to prevent pyrethrin toxicity, according to the EFSA.
While the European Food Safety Administration’s limit for pyrethrins does not take into consideration the synergistic toxicity between pesticides, it does provide a viable starting point to base action limits on safety.
The toxicity of myclobutanil highlights the importance of considering how a cannabis product is consumed. When heated myclobutanil decomposes into hydrogen cyanide, a toxic compound that causes neurological, respiratory, cardiovascular, and thyroid problems at concentrations of 0.008 ppm [MSDS]. Smoking or vaping cannabis tainted with myclobutanil residue is a bad idea. This pesticide is now banned for use on cannabis in Oregon [Farrer p11]. However, in Nevada up to 9 ppm of myclobutanil is allowed on cannabis as of January 2017 [DPBH].
Since smoking is still the most preferred method of consuming cannabis, it is essential to know the safety of pesticides when heated. Vaporization leads to temperatures around 200˚C, while burning causes temperatures above 400˚C. Unlike myclobutanil, pyrethrins likely break down into two safer chemicals when heated without burning: chrysanthemic acid and a rethrolone. This breakdown may be reduced in the oily solution of a concentrate. When smoked it is not clear how pyrethrins will decompose and how dangerous these chemicals will be.
There’s ample reason for state officials to be cautious and to err on the side of safety with respect to pesticide regulations. But being stringent without a basis in science may have the unintended effect of pushing cannabis cultivators to use harder-to-detect pesticides that are more toxic.
It is paramount to study the effects of heating pesticides. Lacking pertinent data, regulations should at least be geared toward reducing the use of pesticides that we know burn to highly toxic compounds, and regulations should give some leeway to pesticides and growing practices that are safer. Moreover, regulations need to be malleable, so that as research provides us with a better understanding of pesticide toxicity, regulations follow suit.
Adrian Devitt-Lee is a Project CBD research associate and contributing writer.
Copyright, Project CBD. May not be reprinted without permission.
1 Pyrethroids account for 30 percent of global pesticide use, according to Chinese researchers at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. Known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals, pyrethroids have been linked to early puberty in boys, which can stunt growth and cause behavioral problems. Exposure to pyrethroids also increases the risk of testicular cancer in men and breast cancer in women.
2 California’s proposed regulations do account for some differences between ingesting and vaporizing pesticides. However, this is because compounds enter the bloodstream through the lungs much more easily than they pass through the digestive tract. They do not consider the effect of heating solvents or pesticides. Moreover, in their reference to exposure limits for solvents regulators confuse two different units. The short-term exposure limit (STEL), applicable to acute inhalation, can be measured in ppmv or mg/m3. Ppmv stands for parts per million by volume, which is sometimes written “ppm”. Limits on cannabis are given in ppm by weight, which is measured as the grams of adulterant per million grams of cannabis product, or µg (microgram) of adulterant per gram product. The relevant ppmv in the lungs is not simply the ppm contamination on cannabis. The relationship between ppmv and ppm depends on the volume of the lungs and the amount of cannabis product inhaled. The concentration (in mg/m3) of adulterant inhaled is approximately L*c/V, where L is the limit in ppm, c is the amount of cannabis used in grams, and V is the volume of the lungs in liters.
3 The relationship is as follows: Let b be the individual’s body weight in kg, L the regulatory limit in ppm, A the acceptable daily intake in mg pyrethrins/kg bodyweight, and C the maximum amount of cannabis consumed by any individual per day in grams. 1 kilogram is equal to 2.2 lbs. Safety would mean that these variables satisfy:
A * b ≥ 10-3 * L * C
Substituting b = 62 [kg], L = 1 [ppm], and A = 0.4 [mg/kg], we see that C ≤ 24,800 [g] or C ≤ 54.7 lbs.
On the other hand, if we suppose that b ≥ 0.1 C (that the individual consumes less than 1% of their bodyweight in cannabis each day), the limit must satisfy L ≤ 40 [ppm].
- Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL). “Guidance for State Medical Cannabis Testing Programs.” May 2016.
- European Food Safety Administration (EFSA). “Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment of the active substance pyrethrins.” 2013.
- Farrer, D. “Technical Report: Oregon Health Authority’s Process to Determine Which Types of Contaminants to Test for in Cannabis Products, and Levels for Action.” December 2015.
- “Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS): Myclobutanil.” 2009.
- Nevada Division of Public and Behavioral Health (DPBH) “Monitoring List for Pest Control Substances and Plant Growth Regulators.”
- Russo E. “Pesticide Contamination of Cannabis in the Legal Market.” Presented at the 2016 International Cannabinoid Research Society.
- Sullivan N, Elzinga S, Raber J. “Determination of Pesticide Residues in Cannabis Smoke.” Journal of Toxicology, volume 2013.
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Reregistration Eligibility Decision for Pyrethrins.” June 2006.
- US Government Accountability Office (GAO). “Pesticides on Tobacco: Federal Activities to Assess Risks and Monitor Residues.” March, 2003.