We the undersigned, Americans who join the millions of our fellow citizens who responsibly use the botanical plant kratom…

CONTINUE OUR VIRTUAL
MARCH ON WASHINGTON
DAY TWO
PLEASE CO-SIGN OUR
OPEN LETTER TO ROBERT W. PATTERSON

ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION

Please Sign Letter Here

Dear Administrator Patterson,
We the undersigned, Americans who join the millions of our fellow citizens who responsibly use the botanical plant kratom as a part of our health and well-being regimens, join the American Kratom Association (AKA) in strongly urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to conduct a thorough and independent 8-Factor Analysis on kratom to test the credibility of the scheduling recommendation submitted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In its enactment of the Controlled Substances Act, Congress has wisely required the DEA to do its own independent review on scheduling recommendations submitted by the FDA to provide a 2nd opinion on important substance scheduling issues.  That 2nd opinion is desperately needed in the evaluation of kratom because the science directly refutes the FDA claims.
Specifically, we respectfully ask the DEA to carefully examine the following issues in its own 8-Factor Analysis on kratom:

  • Kratom is a safe botanical that does not kill people.  The deaths the FDA claims are caused by kratom are actually fatalities associated with underlying health issues of the decedent, or caused by the use of other toxic doses of substances that are co-administered or mixed with kratom. Kratom has a long history of safe use over centuries when responsibly consumed, and the FDA claims are simply unsupportable based on the science.
  • If kratom is banned, opioid deaths will increase.  The opioid crisis in America kills more than 90 people every day.  Credible studies show that many people manage pain using kratom as an alternative to dangerously addictive and potentially deadly prescription opioids.  If it is banned, those people will be forced to opioid use, or to the black market for products that are contaminated or adulterated, and therefore very dangerous.  The perverse public health outcome from any ban on kratom will result in more deaths.
  • Kratom is an alternative to opioids, not a gateway to opioid abuse.  Kratom does not produce a high like opioids; kratom does not suppress the respiratory system like opioids; and kratom does not produce opioid-like effects.  Kratom is safely and responsibly used by millions of Americans, including some for alleviating pain. Without kratom, many will be forced to opioid use to alleviate pain.
  • The AKA, and we agree, strongly supports appropriate FDA regulations to protect consumers.  Protecting consumers from adulterated and contaminated kratom products; assuring children cannot purchase or consume kratom; imposing good manufacturing standards to ensure product purity; product packaging standards to prevent tampering; and clear labeling and health claims restrictions similar to other dietary supplement products, are important roles for the FDA to have in protecting consumer safety, and we welcome such restrictions to ensure continued safe and responsible use of kratom products by consumers.

The DEA has received an independent 8-Factor Analysis on kratom authored by one of the leading experts on addiction and substance safety, Jack Henningfield, Ph.D., and we believe that data will be critically important to the DEA’s own analysis of kratom.  In addition, there are four other key studies on kratom use that the DEA should consider that clearly demonstrate the harm that will be done by any scheduling order on kratom.
Respectfully submitted,

Please Sign Letter Here

We the undersigned, Americans who join the millions of our fellow citizens who responsibly use the botanical plant kratom…

CONTINUE OUR VIRTUAL
MARCH ON WASHINGTON
DAY TWO
PLEASE CO-SIGN OUR
OPEN LETTER TO ROBERT W. PATTERSON

ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION

Please Sign Letter Here

Dear Administrator Patterson,
We the undersigned, Americans who join the millions of our fellow citizens who responsibly use the botanical plant kratom as a part of our health and well-being regimens, join the American Kratom Association (AKA) in strongly urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to conduct a thorough and independent 8-Factor Analysis on kratom to test the credibility of the scheduling recommendation submitted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In its enactment of the Controlled Substances Act, Congress has wisely required the DEA to do its own independent review on scheduling recommendations submitted by the FDA to provide a 2nd opinion on important substance scheduling issues.  That 2nd opinion is desperately needed in the evaluation of kratom because the science directly refutes the FDA claims.
Specifically, we respectfully ask the DEA to carefully examine the following issues in its own 8-Factor Analysis on kratom:

  • Kratom is a safe botanical that does not kill people.  The deaths the FDA claims are caused by kratom are actually fatalities associated with underlying health issues of the decedent, or caused by the use of other toxic doses of substances that are co-administered or mixed with kratom. Kratom has a long history of safe use over centuries when responsibly consumed, and the FDA claims are simply unsupportable based on the science.
  • If kratom is banned, opioid deaths will increase.  The opioid crisis in America kills more than 90 people every day.  Credible studies show that many people manage pain using kratom as an alternative to dangerously addictive and potentially deadly prescription opioids.  If it is banned, those people will be forced to opioid use, or to the black market for products that are contaminated or adulterated, and therefore very dangerous.  The perverse public health outcome from any ban on kratom will result in more deaths.
  • Kratom is an alternative to opioids, not a gateway to opioid abuse.  Kratom does not produce a high like opioids; kratom does not suppress the respiratory system like opioids; and kratom does not produce opioid-like effects.  Kratom is safely and responsibly used by millions of Americans, including some for alleviating pain. Without kratom, many will be forced to opioid use to alleviate pain.
  • The AKA, and we agree, strongly supports appropriate FDA regulations to protect consumers.  Protecting consumers from adulterated and contaminated kratom products; assuring children cannot purchase or consume kratom; imposing good manufacturing standards to ensure product purity; product packaging standards to prevent tampering; and clear labeling and health claims restrictions similar to other dietary supplement products, are important roles for the FDA to have in protecting consumer safety, and we welcome such restrictions to ensure continued safe and responsible use of kratom products by consumers.

The DEA has received an independent 8-Factor Analysis on kratom authored by one of the leading experts on addiction and substance safety, Jack Henningfield, Ph.D., and we believe that data will be critically important to the DEA’s own analysis of kratom.  In addition, there are four other key studies on kratom use that the DEA should consider that clearly demonstrate the harm that will be done by any scheduling order on kratom.
Respectfully submitted,

Please Sign Letter Here

(KY) Magistrates voice support for legalizing medical cannabis

cannabis-sativa-plant-1404978607akl

By Laura Harvey Lead Reporter [email protected]

Nearly two weeks after Kentucky’s secretary of state announced convening a special task force to propose the legalization of medical cannabis, two Hopkins County magistrates have voiced their support for the action.

Currently, 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow their citizens to use marijuana in some form — whether for recreation or medicinal purposes. The majority, including Illinois and Ohio, have legalized cannabis for medical purposes only.

On Nov. 15, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes announced that she had created a task force to focus on a similar legislative proposal. The group includes members of the state’s medical community, law enforcement, medical marijuana advocates and military veterans.

State Rep. John Sims, of Flemingsburg is currently drafting medical marijuana legislation for the 2018 session. On Tuesday, two members of the Hopkins County Fiscal Court voiced their support for the proposal during a regular meeting.

“I am not talking about the ‘average joe’ smoking pot,” said District One Magistrate Karol Welch. “I am talking about people, medical cannabis and the immediate need for laws in Kentucky to allow true, sick and disabled people to legally use cannabis as an option in treating their illness.”

Welch said 12,000 people in Kentucky, including a relative of hers, live with Parkinson’s disease. The incurable disorder, which affects the central nervous system and movement, progressively causes trembling and stiffening of the extremities while affecting balance and coordination.

Welch said some studies have suggested that medical cannabis can significantly improve Parkinson’s symptoms.

“It reduces muscle spasms and stiffness … and improves sleeping, anxiety and eating,” she said. “It also calms your mind without making you crazy. There are numerous studies that support the medical uses of cannabis.

“There needs to be compassionate, common-sense reform of the laws that will help the genuinely sick, diseased and disabled citizens of the Bluegrass State,” she added. “Those are the people who are going to be using it — the citizens. We need to realize that just because you don’t need it today, doesn’t mean you won’t later have an accident and be begging for it tomorrow.”

District Four Magistrate Jack Whitfield Jr. said he agreed with the proposal.

“Five years ago, I was completely against it,” he said. “But I have a twin sister with multiple sclerosis. Four years ago, we were just talking at Thanksgiving and she — my twin, my age — just fell. I mean, she hit the floor and I broke down crying.

“But now I have looked at the statistics,” he added. “(Marijuana) is here already, but I think it will be much better and safer if it were legal.”

While proposed legislation is already scheduled for discussion next year, Welch said she was confident a law governing cannabis use would be passed relatively soon.

“I think it is going to happen,” she said. “I don’t think it is going to take 20 years like some people think it will.”

CONTINUE READING…

Grimes Encourages Kentucky Cities, Counties To Endorse Medical Marijuana

Posted: Nov 29, 2017 2:59 PM CST Updated: Nov 29, 2017 2:59 PM CST

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) – Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is encouraging Kentucky cities and counties to endorse medical marijuana legislation which can help their citizens, many who are veterans fighting physical and mental illnesses, get care and relief they need.

“It’s clear momentum is building for medical cannabis in Kentucky. I challenge our local officials in cities and counties across the Commonwealth to join in the effort to bring relief to thousands of Kentuckians who suffer daily – their own citizens,” Grimes said. “This affects people in every county and corner of the state. Local officials should step up for their constituents to support medical cannabis legislation in the General Assembly in 2018. We can’t leave our people who are hurting behind.”

Maysville and Mason County have recently taken official action in support of legalization legislation.

Eric Crawford lives every single day in pain from an automobile accident he suffered as a young man,” said Grimes. “It’s because of Eric that both Maysville and Mason County, where he lives, have endorsed the effort to bring Kentuckians relief with medical cannabis. The people it can help – like Eric – are their friends and neighbors. They go to church with them every Sunday. They see them in the grocery store. This issue has a face and a name for our local officials.”

Maysville adopted a resolution last year that “encourages the Kentucky General Assembly to consider legislation for medical marijuana which provides for the care, comfort and relief” of Crawford and other Kentuckians who can benefit from medical marijuana. Mason County’s fiscal court adopted a similar resolution in 2014.

Crawford, a member of Grimes’ panel advising on medical marijuana legislation, told the group last week that medical marijuana had significantly improved his conditions. He showed the dozens of prescription pain relievers, including narcotics, he had been prescribed and have many adverse side effects. Crawford said he feels the most relief with marijuana, which is illegal in Kentucky.

Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

The Madisonville Messenger reported Wednesday that members of the Hopkins County Fiscal Court this week voiced support for legalizing medical marijuana in Kentucky.

Grimes’ panel last week also heard from other individuals, including two veterans, who attested to the way medical marijuana had greatly benefited them in dealing with physical and mental illnesses. The veterans said severe post-traumatic stress stemming from their service in Iraq had impacted their work and relationships.

Significant evidence exists showing marijuana counters side effects of a large number of illnesses and diseases, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, hepatitis C, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

CONTINUE READING…

Federal law clearly prohibits anyone who consumes cannabis—for any reason, and regardless of state legality—from purchasing a firearm

Surrender Your Guns, Police Tell Hawaiian Medical Marijuana Patients

Bruce Barcott   November 27, 2017

The Honolulu Police Department has sent letters to local medical marijuana patients ordering them to “voluntarily surrender” their firearms because of their MMJ status.

This may be the first time a law enforcement agency has sought out state-registered medical marijuana patients and ordered them to surrender their guns.

The letters, signed by Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard, inform patients that they have 30 days upon receipt of the letter to transfer ownership or turn in their firearms and ammunition to the Honolulu Police.

The existence of the notices, first reported early today by Russ Belville at The Marijuana Agenda podcast, was confirmed to Leafly News this afternoon by the Honolulu Police Department.

The startling order comes just three months after the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened in Hawaii’s capital city.

The clash between state marijuana laws and federal firearms law—which prohibits all cannabis patients and consumers from purchasing firearms—is a growing point of legal contention in the 29 states with medical marijuana laws. The Honolulu letters, however, may represent the first time a law enforcement agency has proactively sought out state-registered medical marijuana patients and ordered them to surrender their guns.

RELATED STORY

First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opening in Hawaii

Federal law clearly prohibits anyone who consumes cannabis—for any reason, and regardless of state legality—from purchasing a firearm. On the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Form 1140-0020, which must be completed by firearm purchasers, applicants are asked if they are “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”

In case it’s unclear to the applicant, the ATF includes this warning in bold type:

Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.

RELATED STORY

Can Medical Marijuana Patients Legally Own Guns?

Federal Court Upheld the Ban

Many state laws allow patients to medicate with cannabis, but the federal prohibition on cannabis consumption crosses that legality when it comes to firearms. The supremacy of federal law on this point was upheld last year by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

“It may be argued that medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative,” the federal ruling stated. “But those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

RELATED STORY

Guns or Cannabis: Which Is More Strictly Regulated?

State Law Applies

The Honolulu Police Department cites state law, not federal law, as the basis for the order. “Under the provisions of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 134-7(a), you are disqualified from firearms ownership,” says the letter.

Curiously, HRS 134-7(a) makes no specific mention of a person’s medical marijuana status. It’s a blanket statement about federal law:

134-7(a) No person who is a fugitive from justice or is a person prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law shall own, possess, or control any firearm or ammunition therefor.

Until now, the clash between firearm ownership and patient status has been largely avoided through a de facto “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Firearms purchasers are forced to either lie on the ATF form (a federal offense), or tell themselves they’re technically honest—the ATF form asks, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana,” and those who quit cannabis yesterday technically were but no longer are unlawful users of marijuana.

RELATED STORY

Do Medical Marijuana Patients Give Up Their Right to Bear Arms?

A number of states issue medical cannabis patient cards or authorizations but do not keep a searchable database of patient names. In some medical cannabis states, like Arizona, firearm purchasers are not required to register with the state.

Hawaii, though, maintains an electronic database of both firearm purchasers, who must complete both the federal ATF and a state permit application, and medical marijuana patients. That allowed the Honolulu police to cross-check and compile a list of MMJ patients in the state’s firearms registry.

CONTINUE READING…

Federal law clearly prohibits anyone who consumes cannabis—for any reason, and regardless of state legality—from purchasing a firearm

Surrender Your Guns, Police Tell Hawaiian Medical Marijuana Patients

Bruce Barcott   November 27, 2017

The Honolulu Police Department has sent letters to local medical marijuana patients ordering them to “voluntarily surrender” their firearms because of their MMJ status.

This may be the first time a law enforcement agency has sought out state-registered medical marijuana patients and ordered them to surrender their guns.

The letters, signed by Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard, inform patients that they have 30 days upon receipt of the letter to transfer ownership or turn in their firearms and ammunition to the Honolulu Police.

The existence of the notices, first reported early today by Russ Belville at The Marijuana Agenda podcast, was confirmed to Leafly News this afternoon by the Honolulu Police Department.

The startling order comes just three months after the state’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened in Hawaii’s capital city.

The clash between state marijuana laws and federal firearms law—which prohibits all cannabis patients and consumers from purchasing firearms—is a growing point of legal contention in the 29 states with medical marijuana laws. The Honolulu letters, however, may represent the first time a law enforcement agency has proactively sought out state-registered medical marijuana patients and ordered them to surrender their guns.

RELATED STORY

First Medical Cannabis Dispensary Opening in Hawaii

Federal law clearly prohibits anyone who consumes cannabis—for any reason, and regardless of state legality—from purchasing a firearm. On the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Form 1140-0020, which must be completed by firearm purchasers, applicants are asked if they are “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”

In case it’s unclear to the applicant, the ATF includes this warning in bold type:

Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.

RELATED STORY

Can Medical Marijuana Patients Legally Own Guns?

Federal Court Upheld the Ban

Many state laws allow patients to medicate with cannabis, but the federal prohibition on cannabis consumption crosses that legality when it comes to firearms. The supremacy of federal law on this point was upheld last year by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals.

“It may be argued that medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative,” the federal ruling stated. “But those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.”

RELATED STORY

Guns or Cannabis: Which Is More Strictly Regulated?

State Law Applies

The Honolulu Police Department cites state law, not federal law, as the basis for the order. “Under the provisions of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 134-7(a), you are disqualified from firearms ownership,” says the letter.

Curiously, HRS 134-7(a) makes no specific mention of a person’s medical marijuana status. It’s a blanket statement about federal law:

134-7(a) No person who is a fugitive from justice or is a person prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition under federal law shall own, possess, or control any firearm or ammunition therefor.

Until now, the clash between firearm ownership and patient status has been largely avoided through a de facto “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Firearms purchasers are forced to either lie on the ATF form (a federal offense), or tell themselves they’re technically honest—the ATF form asks, “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana,” and those who quit cannabis yesterday technically were but no longer are unlawful users of marijuana.

RELATED STORY

Do Medical Marijuana Patients Give Up Their Right to Bear Arms?

A number of states issue medical cannabis patient cards or authorizations but do not keep a searchable database of patient names. In some medical cannabis states, like Arizona, firearm purchasers are not required to register with the state.

Hawaii, though, maintains an electronic database of both firearm purchasers, who must complete both the federal ATF and a state permit application, and medical marijuana patients. That allowed the Honolulu police to cross-check and compile a list of MMJ patients in the state’s firearms registry.

CONTINUE READING…

Ready to Join Organized Marijuana Medicine?

Robert Lowes

November 20, 2017

There’s a professional society for seemingly every kind of medical specialist, even cannabis clinicians.

Or medical marijuana physicians. Or pot doctors, in street parlance.

And just as there’s a choice of what to call physicians who use the plant to treat everything from pain to multiple sclerosis, there’s a choice of three different medical associations to represent them. Their emergence over the past 15 years coincides with the legalization of medical marijuana in 29 states and Washington, DC, and recreational marijuana in eight states and DC.

The three associations amount to friendly rivals that strive for professional respectability, which hasn’t always attended their field. David Bearman, MD, a board member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM), castigates medical marijuana dispensaries that have hired bikini-clad young women to lure passersby inside for a quick visit with an on-site clinician.

“We wanted to marginalize those people,” Dr Bearman told Medscape Medical News about the formation of his group.

The AACM, the Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC), and the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association (AMMPA) all want to educate the public and the medical profession alike about marijuana and its therapeutic chemicals and see more research in this field. Despite strong headwinds from the federal government, one being an unsympathetic attorney general, they have high hopes for their work, which they say could become a bonafide medical specialty.

They have their own electronic medical marijuana record, for crying out loud.

Branching Out From California Roots

The SCC is the oldest of the three marijuana physician societies, formed in 2004 by the California Research Medical Group. That organization, in turn, was created by the late Tod Mikuriya, MD, who helped write the seminal 1996 ballot resolution in California that legalized medical marijuana and caught fire in other states.

Of the group’s roughly 350 members, about half are physicians in specialties as diverse as geriatrics, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and psychiatry, SCC President Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, told Medscape Medical News. Membership, which costs $150 a year, is open to any clinician, be it naturopath or nurse practitioner, who is authorized by his or her state to “recommend” medical marijuana (prescribing is reserved for legal drugs).  Membership has spread from the West Coast across the country and abroad.

The group offers, among other things, courses on medical marijuana good for continuing medical education (CME) credits, online quarterly meetings, and a collection of case reports on the group’s website (“Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, was treated with cannabis after failure of conventional therapy. Cancer disappeared after 4 years of regular cannabis use.”).

Physicians like Dr Hergenrather would argue that human beings are made for medical marijuana, given the body’s recently discovered endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids are retrograde neurotransmitters that attach to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system and help regulate pain, appetite, memory, immune response, and other bodily functions. Marijuana plants contain more than 100 biological cousins called phytocannabinoids — chief among them tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — that work like natural endocannabinoids to bring the body into balance, said Dr Hergenrather, a self-styled “cannabis consultant” in Sebastopol, California. Marijuana also contains molecules called terpenes that can reduce anxiety or control seizures, he said, but phytocannabinoids inspire the most medical interest.

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE HERE….

Ready to Join Organized Marijuana Medicine?

Robert Lowes

November 20, 2017

There’s a professional society for seemingly every kind of medical specialist, even cannabis clinicians.

Or medical marijuana physicians. Or pot doctors, in street parlance.

And just as there’s a choice of what to call physicians who use the plant to treat everything from pain to multiple sclerosis, there’s a choice of three different medical associations to represent them. Their emergence over the past 15 years coincides with the legalization of medical marijuana in 29 states and Washington, DC, and recreational marijuana in eight states and DC.

The three associations amount to friendly rivals that strive for professional respectability, which hasn’t always attended their field. David Bearman, MD, a board member of the American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM), castigates medical marijuana dispensaries that have hired bikini-clad young women to lure passersby inside for a quick visit with an on-site clinician.

“We wanted to marginalize those people,” Dr Bearman told Medscape Medical News about the formation of his group.

The AACM, the Society of Cannabis Clinicians (SCC), and the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association (AMMPA) all want to educate the public and the medical profession alike about marijuana and its therapeutic chemicals and see more research in this field. Despite strong headwinds from the federal government, one being an unsympathetic attorney general, they have high hopes for their work, which they say could become a bonafide medical specialty.

They have their own electronic medical marijuana record, for crying out loud.

Branching Out From California Roots

The SCC is the oldest of the three marijuana physician societies, formed in 2004 by the California Research Medical Group. That organization, in turn, was created by the late Tod Mikuriya, MD, who helped write the seminal 1996 ballot resolution in California that legalized medical marijuana and caught fire in other states.

Of the group’s roughly 350 members, about half are physicians in specialties as diverse as geriatrics, pediatrics, emergency medicine, and psychiatry, SCC President Jeffrey Hergenrather, MD, told Medscape Medical News. Membership, which costs $150 a year, is open to any clinician, be it naturopath or nurse practitioner, who is authorized by his or her state to “recommend” medical marijuana (prescribing is reserved for legal drugs).  Membership has spread from the West Coast across the country and abroad.

The group offers, among other things, courses on medical marijuana good for continuing medical education (CME) credits, online quarterly meetings, and a collection of case reports on the group’s website (“Neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, was treated with cannabis after failure of conventional therapy. Cancer disappeared after 4 years of regular cannabis use.”).

Physicians like Dr Hergenrather would argue that human beings are made for medical marijuana, given the body’s recently discovered endocannabinoid system. Endocannabinoids are retrograde neurotransmitters that attach to cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system and help regulate pain, appetite, memory, immune response, and other bodily functions. Marijuana plants contain more than 100 biological cousins called phytocannabinoids — chief among them tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) — that work like natural endocannabinoids to bring the body into balance, said Dr Hergenrather, a self-styled “cannabis consultant” in Sebastopol, California. Marijuana also contains molecules called terpenes that can reduce anxiety or control seizures, he said, but phytocannabinoids inspire the most medical interest.

CONTINUE READING ARTICLE HERE….

It’s (Past) Time to Clean House in KY!

By Scott Hofstra on November 18, 2017 | Comments 2 | Affiliate Disclosure

Editor’s Note: Current charges of sexual harassment in KY’s legislature take top billing. But, wait, there’s more. (All outside links and emphases were added by me.)

For many years Kentucky has been known as perhaps the most politically corrupt state in the country. In 2015, a Harvard University study ranked Steve Beshear’s administration as the most corrupt state government in the country.

Shortly after the Bevin administration took over, two of Steve Beshear’s most trusted advisors were arrested, convicted and sent to prison by the FBI for bribery in a scheme to funnel kickbacks for no bid state contracts into Andy Beshear’s campaign for Attorney General.

An audit performed shortly after governor Bevin took office showed that Greg Stumbo and others funneled something like $56 million dollars from a fund to pay cost of living raises for police officers into the general fund in order to pay for their pork barrel projects. It appeared that the long time Democrat power base had grown increasingly corrupt.

Then, Governor Bevin and the Republican majorities in the house and Senate came to power. There was a new sheriff in town and we were promised that things were going to change. Unfortunately, it appears that the stench of corruption extends even into the Republican house leadership and beyond.

Sexual Harassment Cover-Up

Over the past several weeks, we have learned that Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover and three other House Republicans settled a sexual harassment case out of court and then tried to cover it up. Governor Bevin was quick to call for the resignations of anyone involved in this scandal. The charges quickly led to Speaker Hoover stepping down from his position as House Speaker, but not from his elected office as state rep.

There are currently several investigations in the works.

  • The FBI is conducting an investigation at the request of Rep Wesley Morgan (R).
  • An eight person group made up of representatives led by Rep Phil Moffett (R) and Rep Tim Moore (R) are conducting their own investigation (albeit without the power to subpoena).
  • A House Caucus investigation is also in progress with one of the controlling members being Rep Jonathan Shell (R), who is a strong friend and ally of Jeff Hoover.
  • The House Caucus has also hired a legal firm (that they are paying for and overseeing) to look into the charges.
  • This week, Democrat Rep Jim Wayne called for an ethics investigation into who paid for the harassment settlement.

From my understanding of the KRS, if the legislators involved did not pay for the settlement out of their own pockets, it could be chargeable as a class D felony.

The LRC immediately responded that they had not paid for the settlement.

Unfortunately, the ethics complaint will be investigated by the LRC. LRC personnel were involved in the sexual harassment settlement as complainants. I’ve met David Byerman of the LRC, and I believe that he is a good man. That being said, allowing the LRC to investigate itself concerning these ethics charges is tantamount to insanity.

Rumors (and I stress ONLY rumors!) are swirling that Jeff Hoover, Jonathan Shell and Congressman James Comer had been colluding to stall or kill Governor Bevin’s pension plan in order to make the governor look bad. Their plan (according to the rumors) was to have Congressman Comer ride in on a white horse next election season as the GOP’s savior and run against Governor Bevin in the Gubernatorial Primary.

From this CNN article: “US Rep. James Comer, who lost to Bevin in the 2015 primary by just 83 votes after a former girlfriend said that he struck her while they dated in college, is a close ally of Hoover as well. He has been considering a primary challenge to Bevin.”

The FBI may be involved in the investigation of the sexual harassment settlement because rumors have been flying that Congressman Comer may have been involved in trying to convince the women involved and others at the LRC to keep quiet about the settlement.

I hold out hope that the FBI and the eight person committee investigating these allegations will be able to get to the facts and put this issue to rest.

I have absolutely no confidence that Jonathan Shell and the House Caucus investigation (or their legal team) will get to the truth.

That’s like the fox investigating itself for raiding the hen house.

In the end, Republicans excoriated the Democrats for their corruption, yet some in the GOP are actually trying to defend those involved in this scandal.

The truth MUST come out and the Republican Party MUST clean up its own house if they EVER hope to regain the confidence of the Conservative voters in this state.

If all of these allegations get swept under the rug, the GOP is going to be hard pressed to hold onto its House and Senate majorities.

Worse yet, they will have lost the confidence of the citizens and voters who put them in office in the first place.

The Republicans must clean house and they must do it quickly. They must prove to all Kentuckians that unlike the Democrats, they are above the corruption. Its time for sanity and reality to return to Kentucky politics.

I’m suggesting that the Governor’s office appoint a completely independent investigator with the power to issue subpoenas, not beholding to the House, the Senate, the Governor’s office or the LRC, to conduct a thorough investigation into all of the charges and the ethics accusations.

Should additional Republicans and/or Democrats be discovered to be involved in the corruption, then they need to be exposed and charged as well.

We must restore credibility and honesty to Kentucky government.

Without this exposure to political sunlight, Kentucky may forever be doomed to be considered the most corrupt state government in the country. We are better than this.

The only question is, do our legislators and politicians have the political backbone to do what needs to be done?

CONTINUE READING…


RELATED:

From 1986: http://www.nytimes.com/1986/03/15/us/kentucky-officials-arrested.html

Scott Hofstra

Scott Hofstra

Scott is the founder and manager of the United Kentucky Tea Party, a coalition of tea party leaders around the state.