“Any displays, sale or solicitation of CBD oil is illegal and individuals involved are subject to federal investigation and prosecution.”

CBD oil, sold in stores throughout Ohio, is illegal and can carry a felony charge

CBD oil, sold in stores throughout Ohio, is illegal and can carry a felony charge

By Shannon Houser | October 9, 2018 at 9:49 PM EST – Updated October 10 at 11:26 AM

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) – CBD oil is available online, in every state and is commonly found on store shelves across Northeast Ohio; however, it’s illegal and can result in a felony charge.

So, why the big confusion over the chemical compound?

“I got pulled over in a traffic stop and long story short, they found CBD oil,” said Robert Faulkner.

It was July of last year when Faulkner was arrested in Richland County.

“I tried it for my anxiety. It didn’t work for me at that particular time and I just threw it in the back on my truck,” he said.

Faulkner said he bought it from a store in Columbus. He said the oil was made and manufactured from a hemp store in Cincinnati.

“I never went to the store and thought I was buying something that would potentially put me in prison,” he said.

Faulkner was slapped with two counts of aggravated possession of drugs. He’s awaiting a grand jury trial for the felony charges.

Here in Ohio, you cannot possess CBD oil. The laws aren’t stopping people from buying it and it’s not stopping stores from selling it.

Faulkner believes the reason is there is so much confusion about the law.

“I didn’t knowingly obtain everything illegal. I went to a store to try to help me with an issue I have,” said Faulkner.

THC is the chemical compound responsible for the high in marijuana. The DEA says they’ve learned through science, that CBD will always contain some amount of THC, even trace amounts that won’t get you high.

But given the presence of THC, the over-the-counter oil is illegal.

Cleveland 19 found two local stores with shelves full of CBD oil.

According to the DEA:

“Any displays, sale or solicitation of CBD oil is illegal and individuals involved are subject to federal investigation and prosecution.”

We found in some states, like in Texas, police are raiding stores who are selling CBD oil.

So why isn’t that happening here if it’s illegal?

The DEA wouldn’t say, but did say stores selling it aren’t immune from federal investigation.

Faulkner says he hopes officials and lawmakers can help make the laws more clear so this doesn’t happen to someone else.

“I have an ankle monitor on right now. I have to go check in with probation. I spent four days in jail. This is impacting my life seriously, for something I bought in at the store to just try to help my anxiety.”

CBD is covered by Ohio’s medical marijuana law–and will be available to those with a medical marijuana card.

The FDA recently approved a CBD oil medication that is used to help treat epilepsy.

It can only be prescribed by licensed doctors.

CONTINUE READING…

RELATED:

Why we must repeal prohibition

(KY) GOV. MATT BEVIN AND AG ANDY BESHEAR GET SUED OVER MEDICAL MARIJUANA!

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.

ky mj lawsuit

ABOVE:  LINK TO PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO ON WLKY

FACEBOOK – WLKY PRESS CONFERENCE WITH COMMENTS

Mark Vanderhoff Reporter

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…

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

 

Marijuana Legalization laws hit the books in Kentucky in 2017.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONTINUE READING…

Legalize marijuana for the state’s sake

legalize-marijuana-leaf-red-white-blue-flag-300x300

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

CONTINUE READING…

Legislation to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana is unlikely to be addressed during this legislative session in Kentucky

 

https://i2.wp.com/static.lakana.com/nxsglobal/tristatehomepage/photo/2016/01/27/5bdff8866c6a426bad10f0c8540e3323_6711047_ver1.0.jpg

 

Legislation to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana is unlikely to be addressed during this legislative session in Kentucky.

That’s according to the committee’s chairman who’s handling the proposal. So what about the state’s hemp pilot program?

Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles was in Owensboro Wednesday. He says he expects 200 farmers to plant more than 4,000 acres this year.

That’s 4 times as much as in 2015.
Former Agriculture Commissioner James Comer started the program last year.  Quarles says officials are encouraging more local companies to use hemp grown in the Commonwealth –

“There are car manufacturers in Kentucky who use plant products similar to industrial hemp, but we’re hoping to pitch them on the idea of using Kentucky grown industrial hemp, not just for the manufacturing industry, but also other manufacturers across the state as well.”

More than 100 farmers participated last year and twice as many are expected this year.  Kentucky is one of several states with a hemp pilot program.

CONTINUE READING…

Lawson Spann, Quarles spar on medical marijuana, GMOs at Ky. Farm Bureau forum

10/06/2015 04:20 PM

Candidates vying to become Kentucky’s next agriculture commissioner differed on the controversial subject of medical marijuana Tuesday during a forum hosted by Kentucky Farm Bureau.

Democrat Jean-Marie Lawson Spann, in her opening statement at KFB’s “Measure the Candidates” forum, voiced her support for medicinal cannabis, saying Kentuckians suffering from ailments like glaucoma, epilepsy and cancer shouldn’t have to seek relief in other states that allow the illicit drug’s prescription.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana since 1996, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“A doctor-patient relationship should guide the decision on whether someone is prescribed medical marijuana for a very specific illness,” Lawson Spann said.

Republican Rep. Ryan Quarles, however, said legalizing medical marijuana would imperil the state’s young industrial hemp industry and Kentucky’s status as a “clean atmosphere” for hemp growers.

“If you talk to hemp producers, the ones who are already investing in our state, they do not want to be co-mingled with its cousin, and in fact folks in Colorado right now who are wanting to invest in Kentucky are moving from Colorado to Kentucky because it’s a clean atmosphere and they’re not co-mingled with its cousin,” Quarles said at the forum. “So it’s important that if we do support an alternative crop, we listen to the industry needs.”

Medical marijuana has been a nonstarter in recent legislative sessions despite the General Assembly taking steps at cannabis legalization with industrial hemp and cannabidiol.

Lawson Spann would likely find opposition to medical marijuana from law enforcement entities, as Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer voiced his opposition to the legalization of industrial hemp during the 2013 legislative session.

She brushed aside a question on whether she has had any conversations with law enforcement on her proposal for medical cannabis. The issue, she said, “is about our families” and “our struggling Kentuckians that are suffering from cancer, glaucoma and the epileptic seizures,” particularly children.

Younger patients dealing with chronic seizures provided the impetus for lawmakers to approve cannabidiol treatment in 2014.

“As a new mom, I can’t imagine what those families are going through, and why should we tell our Kentuckians that are going through those hard times that they should have to travel to one of the other 21 states that this is offered?” Lawson-Spann said.

“I believe we should have legalized medical marijuana here in Kentucky, and I believe it should be between the doctor and the patient.”

The candidates also offered opposing stances on whether food products containing genetically-modified organisms should be labelled and a statewide indoor smoking ban.

Lawson Spann said she would like to see GMO products labelled on grocery shelves while Quarles said such a measure would unnecessarily confuse consumers.

Differentiating between GMO and non-GMO products is “a passion” of hers, Lawson Spann said. She mentioned the matter as one of her priorities in opening remarks.

“I’m a mom,” she said in response to a question on the subject. “I want to know what is in the food that I’m feeding my son. Kentucky consumers deserve to know if the food has been genetically modified, but … I also know that we’ve got farmers who grow both GMO and non-GMO, and I’m open for free trade.”

Quarles countered that science hasn’t shown that GMO foods make consumers sick. Mandatory GMO labeling “would cause confusion” as well, he said.

“It would make it harder for consumers to understand what the difference is between products which are perfectly safe, and there’s been no study that says GMO foods have made anyone sick, and if we want to feed the world with a growing population, we’ve got to embrace science.”

A statewide indoor smoking ban has been proposed in the legislature for the past five sessions, with House Bill 145 earning the cause’s first vote in the state House during this year’s session. The measure passed 51-46 but did not receive a committee hearing in the Senate.

Such proposals have been staunchly opposed by tobacco companies, which have spent heavily in lobbying efforts against the bills.

Quarles, who voted against HB 145, said he believes the matter should be left to local governments.

“The local option is working in Kentucky,” he said. “My district is primarily rural, but the majority of the population operates underneath an anti-smoking ban because they did it at the local level. It’s also important that we respect the property rights of business owners to make that sort of conclusion on their own.

“And I think it’s important that we support our tobacco industry, but I do realize this is a controversial issue in Kentucky.”

Lawson Spann said she backs Kentucky’s tobacco industry, but she added that she doesn’t “want smoking to be a part of what my son breathes.”

“I support our tobacco farmers,” she said. “I support folks that decide that they want to smoke, but do I want my child to have to breathe the smoke in an indoor, closed place? No.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@twcable.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

CONTINUE READING AND TO VIEW VIDEO…

Mitch McConnell supports cannabis farming in Kentucky

Beth Ethier of the Slatest released an article on March 3, 2015 titled Mitch McConnell Wants Hemp in a Farm Near You. Hemp is a member of the cannabis family along with its cousin marijuana. Hemp generally has a minimal amount to THC, which is the active ingredient in medical and recreational marijuana.

Mitch McConnell with a happy face

 

McConnell is not pressing for marijuana legalization. He is trying to allow cultivation of hemp in Kentucky under federal laws. The legal status of medical marijuana usage in Kentucky will be discussed below.

The federal government does not differentiate when it classifies all three major cannabis strains as prohibited substances. Cannabis is classified under Schedule I of the Controlled Substance Act, which also includes heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Schedule I is the most stringent drug classification. There is a federal provision to allow prescribing marijuana components in pill form for medical use.

Hemp is used to make rope, clothes, and many industrial products. Marijuana is used for recreational purposes, as a mood altering alternative to alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical drugs. Its medical uses include treatment for depression, PTSD, and other psychological disorders. Medical marijuana has also been used to prevent epileptic seizures in children. Wikipedia provides some background information on categories of cannabis and its uses.

Ethier’s article points out that McConnell is trying to get the DEA to separate hemp from marijuana under federal laws. With the decline in tobacco cultivation in Kentucky, hemp cultivation could replace the high value tobacco cultivation that has been lost. There are many legitimate uses for hemp that are much more environmentally friendly than the products being replaced.

Because the federal government continues to maintain the dangers of marijuana, the production of hemp is being hampered. North Dakota was the first state to legalize hemp production, but DEA interference in the courts has made it impossible to achieve large scale production of hemp. McConnell’s focus on legalizing hemp production has allowed a test plot of hemp to be planted in Kentucky over DEA legal objections.

Several states and the District of Columbia have totally decriminalized marijuana for all uses. More states have passed laws allowing medicinal use of marijuana. Other states, including Ohio, have decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana. Growing or selling marijuana is still a felony in Ohio and most other states. Ohio does not provide for the legal use of medical marijuana.

Michigan allows medical marijuana. Indiana is introducing legislation to allow medical marijuana. According to NORML, Kentucky currently has bills introduced in both houses of state government to provide for medical medical marijuana. The provisions include possession of 15 ounces of marijuana and permits growing six mature plants and six immature plants for patients that are certified for treatment with medical marijuana.

As in the case of same-gender marriages, cannabis legislation has languished in Congress and the federal court system. States are taking the lead in key areas where Congress and the courts have failed to act. If Kentucky moves forward on hemp production, with or without DEA approval, it is another step in legalization of marijuana. The Kentucky medical marijuana provisions are among the most liberal if they are passed.

For the Libertarians and Conservatives that want to get government out of the lives of private citizens, legalization of marijuana and same-gender marriages are two areas that can be justified. Having Senator McConnell trying to get the federal statutes changed for hemp will result in speeding up the legalization of all species of cannabis.

God works in mysterious ways.

CONTINUE READING…

Rand Paul’s Quiet Weed Overture

He’s carving out marijuana policy as an area of leadership, and that has some activists very, very excited.

By Lucia Graves

 

If he runs for president, Sen. Rand Paul will not be your typical Republican candidate. On Thursday the Kentucky senator filed yet another amendment protecting the states that have implemented medical-marijuana laws—as well as the patients and doctors acting in accordance with them—from federal prosecution.

The amendment, attached to the “Bring Jobs Home Act,” would allow states to “enact and implement laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of marijuana for medical use” without threat of federal interference. The measure would also protect patients in places where medical marijuana is legal (23 states and the District of Columbia) from prosecution for violating federal marijuana laws.

Paul, who is widely believed to be eyeing the presidency, introduced a separate measure in June to stop the Drug Enforcement Administration from using federal funds to go after medical-marijuana operations that are legal under state law. A similar version of the amendment introduced by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Sam Farr easily passed the lower chamber in May, underscoring marijuana’s growing national acceptance.

Paul’s press person has said that the new amendment, if enacted, would go beyond the Farr-Rohrabacher legislation by providing a more formal framework for protecting states that have enacted medical-marijuana laws.

While passage of the amendment is unlikely—it’s not even expected to come up for a vote—the news of its introduction was excitedly written up by a host of advocacy sites, including Hemp News, Stop the Drug War and Ladybud, where advocates encouraged readers to contact their senator in support of Amendment 3630. “When calling or writing, remember that you catch more flies with sugar than honey,” advises one post, presumably meaning you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. “Reframing the medical cannabis issue as a human-rights issue, not a partisan one, will also help.”

Paul also has been outspoken in his support for industrial hemp, working with his fellow senator from Kentucky, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, to pass a measure earlier this year allowing states to grow industrial hemp for research. The legislation is a boon to farmers in Eastern Kentucky, and while it may seem like little more than a pet project for Kentuckians, marijuana activists have been quietly cheering ever since they first got wind of Paul’s plan.

Republicans’ views on medical marijuana have been shifting over the past few years and the Farr-Rohrabacher vote in the House is only the most recent proof. Recent polling by the Pew Research Center found most Americans think pot should be legal, in contrast to a decade ago when voters opposed it by a 2-to-1 ratio, and that there’s broad agreement that government enforcement of marijuana laws is not worth the cost. One poll from 2013 found that 78 percent of independents and 67 percent of Republicans think government enforcement efforts cost more than they’re worth. Younger Americans are even more likely to think so.

A recent story in the Los Angeles Times details why Republicans are slowly embracing marijuana, arguing that the rise of the tea party has given an unforeseen boost to legalization. The story notes tea partiers see the federal government’s position on marijuana as an example of government overreach, and quotes Dan Riffle, then a lobbyist with the Marijunana Policy Project, saying Igor Birman, a tea-party candidate looking to knock out Democrat Ami Berra in a congressional swing district in California, is among a growing number of pro-reform Republicans.

“To many political observers, it looks like Rand Paul is already eyeing a run for the GOP nomination for president in 2016,” marijuana activist Joe Klare wrote in The 420 Times at the time. “Someone in the White House that supports industrial hemp—and drug-policy reform in general—would be a huge boost to the prospects of actual reform on a federal level.”

Marijuana has been called “the sleeper issue of 2016” and something that’s only going to get bigger. As a libertarian senator, Paul has long been in favor of decriminalization and is quite clearly the most pro-reform Republican 2016 contender on the issue of marijuana. (While other likely contenders, such as Florida’s Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, haven’t weighed in on medical marijuana, others, like New Jersey’s Chris Christie have come out against it.) Paul has been considered a leader on the issue in Congress, and even sided with President Obama in noting that minorities are unfairly burdened by drug laws. And as Slate‘s Dave Weigel noted earlier this year, conservatives have stayed with him on the issue, especially as Paul assured them his interest was not in legalizing hard drugs but in reducing minimum sentences. (In 2013 he alienated some activists by claiming the drug was “not healthy“).

For now, Paul is not backing away from those marijuana-reform bona fides, and the fact that he’s been so outspoken on the issue this summer should encourage activists. Indeed on other issues, such as his position on relations with Israel, he’s been massaging his approach ahead of an expected run.

“It’s pretty clear that Rand Paul is working hard to appeal to diverse constituencies as he weighs throwing his hat into the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination,” Tom Angell, a spokesman for the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority, said in an email. “With polls showing supermajority support for medical marijuana across virtually every demographic group, it makes sense Sen. Paul would want to be at the forefront of efforts to modernize these outdated federal laws. And with five U.S. House floor votes in a row coming out favorably for cannabis-policy reformers over the past few months, we expect to see more senators realizing that getting onto the winning side of this issue is a smart move.”

It certainly might expand the pool of people who’d consider voting for a Republican.

CONTINUE READING…

"There is no correlation between Morgan & Morgan and the medical marijuana," Stumbo spokesman Brian Wilkerson said.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo pitching personal-injury law firm in TV commercials

By John Cheves — jcheves@herald-leader.com

 

 

 

House Speaker Greg Stumbo has accepted a position as partner at Morgan & Morgan, a Florida-based personal-injury law firm whose founder, John Morgan, is a major financial backer of the movement to legalize medical marijuana.

In September, Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, announced that he wants a debate in Kentucky about legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

“I am open and leaning toward supporting the use of medical marijuana as I read more and more research,” Stumbo said on Sept. 24.

Through a spokesman, Stumbo this week said he came to his stand on medical marijuana after speaking to Floyd County constituents who support it.

“There is no correlation between Morgan & Morgan and the medical marijuana,” Stumbo spokesman Brian Wilkerson said.

John Morgan, a Lexington native who moved to Orlando, Fla., in 1971, gave $250,000 over the summer to People United For Medical Marijuana and produced several commercials to support the effort. He expects to give several million dollars more, he said this week.

On his firm’s website, Morgan wrote that medical marijuana helped his father while he was dying from cancer and emphysema.

“Medical marijuana has been proven to give our loved ones relief they need, helping with pain, appetite, seizures and spasms,” Morgan says in a radio commercial he recently produced in Florida. “Unfortunately, Tallahassee politicians refused to vote on the issue last session. They wouldn’t even hear testimony from patients and their families.”

In an interview, Morgan said he’s glad to hear about Stumbo’s public comments on medical marijuana, but he’s not the impetus.

“Greg and I have never talked about it, but I’m spending a boatload of money to get it on the ballot in Florida this fall,” Morgan said. “Now that I know he feels this way, maybe we can do something in Kentucky, too.”

Steve Robertson, chairman of the Kentucky Republican Party, was ready to draw the opposite conclusion.

“We at least now know that Stumbo bases his public positions on his private finances,” Robertson said. “After standing in opposition to the hemp bill, it’s mind-boggling that he’d suddenly turn around and advocate for medical marijuana based on his new job.”

During the 2013 legislative session, Stumbo criticized and worked against — though he ultimately voted for — a bill that established a licensing system for Kentucky hemp farmers if the federal government decriminalizes that plant, a close relative to marijuana. Stumbo said he agreed with police officers who argued that hemp and marijuana crops could be confused, making their jobs more difficult.

Later this year, Stumbo went to work for Morgan & Morgan. He recently began starring in television commercials for the firm, which employs 240 lawyers in a half-dozen states, including former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

“I’m Greg Stumbo of Morgan & Morgan,” Stumbo says in a 30-second spot currently airing on Lexington stations. “As attorney general of Kentucky, I was honored to be your personal attorney.”

Stumbo, who was attorney general from 2003 to 2007, goes on to tell viewers: “The insurance company doesn’t have your family’s best interest at heart. We do. Call us.”

Speaking Wednesday, Morgan explained the hire: “Stumbo is a consumer advocate. That’s what he’s done both professionally and politically. He knows his way around Kentucky and he’s obviously well-known among his peers.”

John Cheves: (859) 231-3266. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/10/17/2881362/house-speaker-greg-stumbo-pitching.html#storylink=cpy