Hemp pilot projects finding fertile ground in Kentucky

Posted on March 26, 2015
by Dan Dickson

 

Image result for hemp fields in kentucky

 

 

Cynthiana farmer Brian Furnish has a successful tobacco and cattle operation but wants to make life better for his family and many other Kentucky farmers who once depended on tobacco for their living.

“I’ve seen what’s happened with the decline of tobacco,” said Furnish. “Central and eastern Kentucky need a new crop. If we can build an industry around hemp here, it’ll be beneficial to growers.”

Furnish is also the chair of the Kentucky Hemp Industry Council, a 16-member group from around the state and nation that represents various stakeholder in hemp’s future, from farmers and crop processors to industries and retailers that want to process and sell hemp products. Hemp’s fiber and oil can be used in a multitude of goods, including food, paper, building materials, beauty products and much more.

Kentucky is entering its second year of industrial hemp pilot projects. The first round in 2014 produced a wealth of data about production methods, seed varieties, harvesting, processing techniques and uses for harvested hemp.

“We’re looking to conduct a wide scope of pilot projects in 2015,” said Agriculture Commissioner James Comer, a strong advocate for hemp and a Republican candidate for governor.

“There are more agriculture processors in Kentucky today making an investment in the state, signing contracts and hiring people. This is something we’ll be able to look back at and say ‘This was a good decision,’” said Comer.

Comer says one company that showed an early interest in developing the state’s hemp industry is Dr. Bonner’s Magic Soaps, a company selling hemp formulated soaps, organic bars, lip balm and body care products, according to its website. The company donated $50,000 to aid the hemp council’s work in promoting a future for hemp in Kentucky.

Comer says hundreds of others have applied for permits to participate in this year’s hemp pilot program. “There’s no shortage of farmers who want to grow hemp,” he said.

Lexington attorney Jonathan Miller is legal advisor for the hemp council.

“We would like to resume our leading role as the industrial hemp capital of the globe,” he said.

Miller and others have lobbied Congress and President Barack Obama’s administration to try to regain full legalization of hemp, which was banned 75 years ago, along with its intoxicating plant cousin, marijuana.

In the last year, no hemp has been commercialized in Kentucky. It remains in the experimental stage.

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One person from Kentucky on President Obama’s Pardon list…

Image result for no jail for pot

  • Francis Darrell Hayden (Loretto, Kentucky). Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants or 1,000 or more kilograms of marijuana; manufacture of 1,000 or more marijuana plants.

    I want to personally congratulate #9 known as Francis Darrell Hayden, of Loretto Kentucky for being the ONLY ONE on President Obama’s “Pardon list” that had been convicted on Marijuana charges.

    MSNBC broke the story today that Obama had pardoned 22 “drug offenders” serving federal time for various offenses. 

    “To further this progress, the President has established a clemency initiative to encourage individuals who were sentenced under outdated laws and policies to petition for commutation,” White House counsel Neil Eggleston wrote shortly after the president’s commutations were announced.

    Each of the sentences commuted on Tuesday will expire on July 28, 2015.

    The rest of the individuals pardoned where doing their time for other drug offenses which include cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.,

    “I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around,” Obama wrote. “Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity.”

    Although I am glad to see any non-violent drug offender released from prison, it is somewhat bittersweet that only one of those who were pardoned was convicted for Marijuana and that person just happened to live in Kentucky.  I would like to see President Obama release ALL Marijuana non-violent offenders from the prison system as well.  Not only is it clearly a mistake that they were convicted of a victimless crime in the first place it is equally as bad to continue to keep them confined. 

    The entire list can be seen here.

    Continue Reading…

  • One person from Kentucky on President Obama’s Pardon list…

    Image result for no jail for pot

  • Francis Darrell Hayden (Loretto, Kentucky). Offense: Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 1,000 or more marijuana plants or 1,000 or more kilograms of marijuana; manufacture of 1,000 or more marijuana plants.
  • I want to personally congratulate #9 known as Francis Darrell Hayden, of Loretto Kentucky for being the ONLY ONE on President Obama’s “Pardon list” that had been convicted on Marijuana charges.

    MSNBC broke the story today that Obama had pardoned 22 “drug offenders” serving federal time for various offenses. 

    “To further this progress, the President has established a clemency initiative to encourage individuals who were sentenced under outdated laws and policies to petition for commutation,” White House counsel Neil Eggleston wrote shortly after the president’s commutations were announced.

    Each of the sentences commuted on Tuesday will expire on July 28, 2015.

    The rest of the individuals pardoned where doing their time for other drug offenses which include cocaine, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.,

    “I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around,” Obama wrote. “Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity.”

    Although I am glad to see any non-violent drug offender released from prison, it is somewhat bittersweet that only one of those who were pardoned was convicted for Marijuana and that person just happened to live in Kentucky.  I would like to see President Obama release ALL Marijuana non-violent offenders from the prison system as well.  Not only is it clearly a mistake that they were convicted of a victimless crime in the first place it is equally as bad to continue to keep them confined. 

    The entire list can be seen here.

    Continue Reading…

    Whoops: Indiana’s anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ act opens the door for the First Church of Cannabis

    Tom Boggioni

    Tom Boggioni
    29 Mar 2015 at 20:55 ET

    Rastafarian businessman (Shutterstock)

    Rastafarian businessman (Shutterstock)

    Don’t miss stories. Follow Raw Story!

    In a classic case of “unintended consequences,” the recently signed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Indiana may have opened the door for the establishment of the First Church of Cannabis in the Hoosier State.

    While Governor Mike Pence (R) was holding a signing ceremony for the bill allowing businesses and individuals to deny services to gays on religious grounds or values, paperwork for the First Church of Cannabis Inc. was being filed with the Secretary of State’s office, reports RTV6.

    Church founder Bill Levin announced on his Facebook page that the church’s registration has been approved, writing, “Status: Approved by Secretary of State of Indiana – “Congratulations your registration has been approved!” Now we begin to accomplish our goals of Love, Understanding, and Good Health.”

    Levin is currently seeking $4.20 donations towards his non-profit church.

    According to Indiana attorney and political commentator Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, Indiana legislators, in their haste to protect the religious values and practices of their constituents, may have unwittingly put the state in an awkward position with those who profess to smoke pot as a religious sacrament.

    Shabazz pointed out that it is still illegal to smoke pot in Indiana, but wrote, “I would argue that under RFRA, as long as you can show that reefer is part of your religious practices, you got a pretty good shot of getting off scot-free.”

    Noting that RFRA supporters say the bill “only spells out a test as to whether a government mandate would unduly burden a person’s faith and the government has to articulate a compelling interest for that rule and how it would be carried out in the least restrictive manner,” Shabazz contends the law may tie the state’s hands.

    “So, with that said, what ‘compelling interest’ would the state of Indiana have to prohibit me from using marijuana as part of my religious practice?” he asked. ” I would argue marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and wine used in religious ceremonies. Marijuana isn’t any more ‘addictive’ than alcohol and wine is used in some religious ceremonies. And marijuana isn’t any more of a ‘gateway’ drug than the wine used in a religious ceremony will make you go out and buy hard liquor. (At least not on Sunday.)”

    Shabazz concluded, “I want a front row seat at the trial that we all know is going to happen when all this goes down.”

    CONTINUE READING…

    Whoops: Indiana’s anti-gay ‘religious freedom’ act opens the door for the First Church of Cannabis

    Tom Boggioni

    Tom Boggioni
    29 Mar 2015 at 20:55 ET

    Rastafarian businessman (Shutterstock)

    Rastafarian businessman (Shutterstock)

    Don’t miss stories. Follow Raw Story!

    In a classic case of “unintended consequences,” the recently signed Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Indiana may have opened the door for the establishment of the First Church of Cannabis in the Hoosier State.

    While Governor Mike Pence (R) was holding a signing ceremony for the bill allowing businesses and individuals to deny services to gays on religious grounds or values, paperwork for the First Church of Cannabis Inc. was being filed with the Secretary of State’s office, reports RTV6.

    Church founder Bill Levin announced on his Facebook page that the church’s registration has been approved, writing, “Status: Approved by Secretary of State of Indiana – “Congratulations your registration has been approved!” Now we begin to accomplish our goals of Love, Understanding, and Good Health.”

    Levin is currently seeking $4.20 donations towards his non-profit church.

    According to Indiana attorney and political commentator Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, Indiana legislators, in their haste to protect the religious values and practices of their constituents, may have unwittingly put the state in an awkward position with those who profess to smoke pot as a religious sacrament.

    Shabazz pointed out that it is still illegal to smoke pot in Indiana, but wrote, “I would argue that under RFRA, as long as you can show that reefer is part of your religious practices, you got a pretty good shot of getting off scot-free.”

    Noting that RFRA supporters say the bill “only spells out a test as to whether a government mandate would unduly burden a person’s faith and the government has to articulate a compelling interest for that rule and how it would be carried out in the least restrictive manner,” Shabazz contends the law may tie the state’s hands.

    “So, with that said, what ‘compelling interest’ would the state of Indiana have to prohibit me from using marijuana as part of my religious practice?” he asked. ” I would argue marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and wine used in religious ceremonies. Marijuana isn’t any more ‘addictive’ than alcohol and wine is used in some religious ceremonies. And marijuana isn’t any more of a ‘gateway’ drug than the wine used in a religious ceremony will make you go out and buy hard liquor. (At least not on Sunday.)”

    Shabazz concluded, “I want a front row seat at the trial that we all know is going to happen when all this goes down.”

    CONTINUE READING…

    A conversation I didn't expect

    Gertie-The-OFFICIAL-KY-Marijuana-Party-Chicken.jpgWell, I just laughed my ass off.  I just signed on and checked the blogs and I saw this post.  I thought to myself, hell I do not remember what that was about and so I went to see it and LOL there was not anything there at all!

    To my defense there was a lot of interruptions yesterday, more so than usual.  But damn!  You would think I could remember the gist of what I was going to post ???
    Too much to do with not enough “up” time, and no one that can help me to keep up.
    So, I guess I’ll just have to live with the “mistakes” I make and hope everyone else understands as well.
    I never dreamed that I would have gotten into the position I am in – I did not aim for it – It just happened.
    I wanted to be the one to just post “a blog” for Kentucky.  Not, “many” blogs and websites – and to top it all off I never learned HTML/PHP which puts me at a huge disadvantage.
    I may not be the best at everything I do, but it is not for lack of trying…
    And as far as the post: “A conversation I didn’t expect”, well, I do not know what the Hell I was expecting!
    Peace and Prayers to you All!
    ShereeKrider
    pot plant

    In 1978, Soviet geologists prospecting in the wilds of Siberia discovered a family of six, lost in the taiga

    null

    null

     

    For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II

    Siberian summers do not last long. The snows linger into May, and the cold weather returns again during September, freezing the taiga into a still life awesome in its desolation: endless miles of straggly pine and birch forests scattered with sleeping bears and hungry wolves; steep-sided mountains; white-water rivers that pour in torrents through the valleys; a hundred thousand icy bogs. This forest is the last and greatest of Earth’s wildernesses. It stretches from the furthest tip of Russia’s arctic regions as far south as Mongolia, and east from the Urals to the Pacific: five million square miles of nothingness, with a population, outside a handful of towns, that amounts to only a few thousand people.

    When the warm days do arrive, though, the taiga blooms, and for a few short months it can seem almost welcoming. It is then that man can see most clearly into this hidden world–not on land, for the taiga can swallow whole armies of explorers, but from the air. Siberia is the source of most of Russia’s oil and mineral resources, and, over the years, even its most distant parts have been overflown by oil prospectors and surveyors on their way to backwoods camps where the work of extracting wealth is carried on.

     

    Thus it was in the remote south of the forest in the summer of 1978. A helicopter sent to find a safe spot to land a party of geologists was skimming the treeline a hundred or so miles from the Mongolian border when it dropped into the thickly wooded valley of an unnamed tributary of the Abakan, a seething ribbon of water rushing through dangerous terrain. The valley walls were narrow, with sides that were close to vertical in places, and the skinny pine and birch trees swaying in the rotors’ downdraft were so thickly clustered that there was no chance of finding a spot to set the aircraft down. But, peering intently through his windscreen in search of a landing place, the pilot saw something that should not have been there. It was a clearing, 6,000 feet up a mountainside, wedged between the pine and larch and scored with what looked like long, dark furrows. The baffled helicopter crew made several passes before reluctantly concluding that this was evidence of human habitation—a garden that, from the size and shape of the clearing, must have been there for a long time.

    It was an astounding discovery. The mountain was more than 150 miles from the nearest settlement, in a spot that had never been explored. The Soviet authorities had no records of anyone living in the district.

    Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/for-40-years-this-russian-family-was-cut-off-from-all-human-contact-unaware-of-world-war-ii-7354256/#rVebKTUpSX8mlJfW.99
    Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
    Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

    PLEASE CONTINUE READING THIS POWERFUL STORY!

    Lawyer Argues Police Have No Right To Stop You At DUI Checkpoints

    no-searches

     

    Have you ever been pulled over at a DUI police check point? Even if you were not drinking, or perhaps aren’t even a drinker, these checkpoints fill many drivers with anxiety, as police officers scour cars they pull over for anything amiss.

    Most of the tickets given out at these checkpoints are for seatbelt violations or other things not related at all to drunk driving and DUIs. If you have nothing to hide, waiting in line for these checkpoints is at best a time-consuming nuisance that might make you late for work or dinner.

    But now, a bold lawyer is arguing that these checkpoints are not only unconstitutional, but that police do not have legal grounds to do anything but tell you to drive on if you present your drivers license at the window – with the window rolled up – and a sign that tells them you do not consent to a search, that you have no comment and that you want your lawyer.

    Warren Redlich is a South Florida attorney, but he says this holds true everywhere.

    Redlich explains that his goal is not to protect drunken drivers, but to instead inform innocent people about their rights to not be presumed innocent and illegally detained without probable cause.

    Some clients, he explained, have never had a drop of alcohol, but if they rub police officers the wrong way, then they are slapped with DUI charges, because the officer claims he could “smell alcohol” on them or that their speech was “slurred.” It’s then up to them to prove their innocence in court.

    “The point of the card is, you are affirmatively asserting your rights without having to speak to the police and without opening your window,” Redlich explained.

    But Sheriff David Shoar of St. Johns County, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association says that “they wouldn’t be allowed out of that checkpoint until they talk to us. We have a legitimate right to do it. If I was out there, I wouldn’t wave them through. I want to talk to that person more now.”

    One video from December 31 at a Levy County, Florida checkpoint, shows Redlich’s associate Jeff Gray with the flyer that his attorney suggested, along with his license, registration and insurance card, all in a plastic bag dangling outside barely cracked car window. The officers examine the contents, then waive him on.

    The flyer boldly states: “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer.”

    “I’m not anti-cop. I’m anti-bad government and anti-bad cop. I support good cops,” Redlich said. “I would like if police didn’t waste their time with something like checkpoints and would focus their attention on violent crime.”

    Have you tried this at a checkpoint before? Let us know what happened.

    (Article by Reagan Ali)

    CONTINUE READING…

    Lawyer Argues Police Have No Right To Stop You At DUI Checkpoints

    no-searches

     

    Have you ever been pulled over at a DUI police check point? Even if you were not drinking, or perhaps aren’t even a drinker, these checkpoints fill many drivers with anxiety, as police officers scour cars they pull over for anything amiss.

    Most of the tickets given out at these checkpoints are for seatbelt violations or other things not related at all to drunk driving and DUIs. If you have nothing to hide, waiting in line for these checkpoints is at best a time-consuming nuisance that might make you late for work or dinner.

    But now, a bold lawyer is arguing that these checkpoints are not only unconstitutional, but that police do not have legal grounds to do anything but tell you to drive on if you present your drivers license at the window – with the window rolled up – and a sign that tells them you do not consent to a search, that you have no comment and that you want your lawyer.

    Warren Redlich is a South Florida attorney, but he says this holds true everywhere.

    Redlich explains that his goal is not to protect drunken drivers, but to instead inform innocent people about their rights to not be presumed innocent and illegally detained without probable cause.

    Some clients, he explained, have never had a drop of alcohol, but if they rub police officers the wrong way, then they are slapped with DUI charges, because the officer claims he could “smell alcohol” on them or that their speech was “slurred.” It’s then up to them to prove their innocence in court.

    “The point of the card is, you are affirmatively asserting your rights without having to speak to the police and without opening your window,” Redlich explained.

    But Sheriff David Shoar of St. Johns County, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association says that “they wouldn’t be allowed out of that checkpoint until they talk to us. We have a legitimate right to do it. If I was out there, I wouldn’t wave them through. I want to talk to that person more now.”

    One video from December 31 at a Levy County, Florida checkpoint, shows Redlich’s associate Jeff Gray with the flyer that his attorney suggested, along with his license, registration and insurance card, all in a plastic bag dangling outside barely cracked car window. The officers examine the contents, then waive him on.

    The flyer boldly states: “I remain silent. No searches. I want my lawyer.”

    “I’m not anti-cop. I’m anti-bad government and anti-bad cop. I support good cops,” Redlich said. “I would like if police didn’t waste their time with something like checkpoints and would focus their attention on violent crime.”

    Have you tried this at a checkpoint before? Let us know what happened.

    (Article by Reagan Ali)

    CONTINUE READING…

    Historic Medical Marijuana Bill Gains Momentum

    A comprehensive bill introduced in the House of Representatives Tuesday aims to deal a significant blow to the federal government’s long-running war on medical marijuana.

    The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act, introduced by Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Don Young (R-Alaska), is a House companion bill to identical Senate legislation from Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced earlier this month. Each bill seeks to drastically reduce the federal government’s ability to crack down on state-legal medical marijuana programs and aims to encourage more research into the plant.

    The historic Senate version of the bill has also gained traction with two new sponsors since its introduction: Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.).

    “The science has been in for a long time, and keeping marijuana on Schedule I — with heroin and LSD — is ludicrous," Cohen said in a statement Tuesday. "I am pleased to join with Congressman Don Young in introducing this important bill to bring the federal government in line with the science and the American people, respect states’ rights, remove the threat of federal prosecution in states with medical marijuana, and help our citizens access the treatments they need.”

    Bill Piper, national affairs director for the Drug Policy Alliance, a reform group, told The Huffington Post that the House version of the bill was introduced because "momentum is so strong" for the bipartisan CARERS Act.

    "This has become one of the few issues Democrats and Republicans can agree on," Piper told HuffPost in an email. "The tide is quickly turning against marijuana prohibition, and the war on drugs in general; it’s only a question of when, not if, reform will happen."

    The bill calls for six major policy changes. Here’s what it aims to accomplish:

    Allow patients, doctors and businesses to participate in their states’ medical marijuana programs without fear of being prosecuted by the federal government.

    Under this legislation, the Controlled Substances Act would be amended so that states could set their own medical marijuana policies. It would clarify much of the legal ambiguity that currently exists between federal guidance, congressional intent and state laws on medical marijuana — not by forcing states to legalize medical marijuana, but by protecting the states that choose to do so.

    The sale, possession, production and distribution of marijuana all remain illegal under federal law. The states that have legalized the drug in some form or another have only been able to do so because of federal guidance urging prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations.

    To date, 23 states, along with the District of Columbia, have legalized medical marijuana and 12 others have legalized the limited use of low-THC marijuana for medical purposes. All such state laws, and the people who act in compliance with them, would be protected by this bill.

    Reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous substance, moving it from Schedule I to Schedule II.

    Under the Controlled Substances Act, the U.S. has five categories for drugs and drug ingredients. Schedule I is reserved for substances that the Drug Enforcement Administration considers to have no medical value and the highest potential for abuse. Marijuana has been classified as Schedule I for decades, alongside substances like heroin and LSD.

    This legislation would reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug — a category for less dangerous drugs that have an accepted medical use. Rescheduling marijuana wouldn’t make the drug legal under federal law, but such a move would essentially mark the federal government’s first-ever acknowledgement that the plant has any medical benefits.

    Give veterans easier access to medical marijuana.

    Currently, doctors who work for the Department of Veterans Affairs are prohibited from helping patients acquire medical marijuana, even in states where it is legal.

    This legislation would lift that ban and would allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients suffering from certain conditions, where permitted by state law.

    Nearly 30 percent of veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars suffer from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a 2012 VA report. Some research has suggested that marijuana may help with PTSD symptoms, which can include anxiety, flashbacks and depression. A recent study found that PTSD symptoms in patients who used cannabis were reduced by an average of 75 percent.

    Eliminate barriers to marijuana research.

    Getting the federal government to sign off on a marijuana study is exceedingly difficult — but two of the most prohibitive federal barriers to marijuana research would be lifted under this new legislation.

    Currently, all marijuana research must go through a Public Health Service review, a process established in 1999 by the federal government after a 1998 Institute of Medicine report called for more scientific research into the medical value of marijuana. No other Schedule I substance is subject to this process. That extra step would be removed entirely under the CARERS Act.

    Secondly, federal authorities have long been accused of only funding marijuana research that focuses on the potential negative effects of the substance. The DEA has also been accused of not acting quickly enough when petitioned to reschedule marijuana and of obstructing research into the drug.

    Currently, the federal government is the only institution authorized to grow research-grade cannabis. The CARERS Act would allow for no fewer than three additional licensed growers, a move that would end the federal monopoly on marijuana research and potentially hasten the discovery of new medical applications for the plant.

    Remove low-THC strains of marijuana from the controlled substances list.

    The strength of a strain of marijuana is generally measured by its percentage of THC, the plant’s main psychoactive ingredient. There are multiple strains of marijuana that have little to no THC, but high levels of CBD, or cannabidiol, a compound that has medical value but does not produce the "high" sensation associated with THC.

    While nearly two dozen states have broad medical marijuana laws that allow for the cultivation, production and distribution of medical marijuana, another 12 states only make provisions for low-THC strains, and those only under certain circumstances. Because those states generally don’t allow for the regulated sale or cultivation of marijuana, patients are forced to seek out the plant on the black market, or from another state with more relaxed laws that allow out-of-state patients to purchase medical marijuana. Even so, transporting marijuana across state lines remains illegal, leaving patients in a bind.

    The CARERS Act would remove marijuana with less than 0.3 percent THC from the CSA’s schedules altogether, allowing states to import low-THC/high-CBD strains for patients who need it.

    Open up banking for marijuana businesses.

    The legislation would expand banking access for medical marijuana businesses, enabling them to function more or less like traditional businesses.

    Legal marijuana is already a billion-dollar industry. But because of banks’ fears of being implicated as money launderers, marijuana-related businesses are often forced to be cash-only, putting retailers’ safety at risk and creating problems with taxes and employee payroll. Despite Treasury Department guidance that supporters hoped would ease interactions, most banks are still extremely wary of working with marijuana businesses since the plant remains illegal under federal law.

    CONTINUE READING…