Legislation filed by Senator Perry Clark of Louisville, SB 57, seeks to establish a statewide, comprehensive medical marijuana program.
Senate Bill 57, The Cannabis Compassion Act, establishes regulations overseeing the establishment of state-licensed dispensaries to provide medical marijuana to qualified patients. It also permits patients to home cultivate their own supply of medical cannabis.
Senator Clark said: “Too many Kentuckians have had their lives stymied with criminal records as a result of nonviolent marijuana convictions. That is wrong. It is time to stop making criminals out of citizens due to outdated and ridiculous laws concerning cannabis.”
Under present state law, the possession of any amount of cannabis is classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to 45 days in jail, a fine, and a criminal record.
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted statewide provisions allowing patients access to cannabis therapy. Data from other states finds that the enactment of medical marijuana access is associated with lower rates of opioid abuse and mortality, and does not negatively impact workplace safety, teen use, or motor vehicle safety.
Kentucky patients deserve these same protections.
Click here to contact your Senator and urge their support for this measure.
Additionally, Senator Clark has introduced Senate Bill 76, to legalize the possession and use of limited amounts of marijuana for those over the age of 21.
SB 76, the Cannabis Freedom Act, allows adults to possess up to one ounce of cannabis, to cultivate up to five cannabis plants, to store excess cannabis lawfully grown for personal use at the location where it was cultivated; and to transfer up to one ounce of cannabis to another person age 21 or older without remuneration.
Eight states, encompassing some 20 percent of the US population, have enacted similar adult use regulations.
Click here contact your Senator and urge their support piece of legislation as well.
Thanks for all you do,
The NORML Team
P.S. Our work is supported by thousands of people throughout the country as we work to advance marijuana reform in all 50 states and the federal level. Can you kick in $10 or $25 a month to help us keep going?
NORML and the NORML Foundation: 1100 H Street NW, Suite 830, Washington DC, 20005
Tel: (202) 483-5500 • Fax: (202) 483-0057 • Email: [email protected]
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April 17, 2016
The Kentucky General Assembly’s 2016 regular session ended on Friday, April 15 and once again the people’s requests were ignored.
There were a total of five Cannabis and Hemp Bills introduced into this Legislature and not one of them made it.
Here is the short list of them:
March 2, 2016 –
Senate Bill 262 is AN ACT relating to industrial hemp. Sen. Perry Clark
Friday, March 4, 2016 – to Agriculture (S), Wednesday, March 2, 2016 – introduced in Senate
Senate Bill 263 is AN ACT relating to medical cannabis. Sen. Perry Clark
Friday, March 4, 2016 – to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S), Wednesday, March 2, 2016 – introduced in Senate
March 1, 2016 –
HB 584(BR-1994) by Representative Denver Butler, “medical marijuana” .
Mar 01, 2016 – introduced in House, Mar 02, 2016 – to Health & Welfare (H)
February 25, 2016
HR 173 A “Resolution” to the FDA to “study medical marijuana”, the Sponsors are David Osborne, Lynn Bechler, and Brad Montell.
Monday, February 29, 2016 – to Health & Welfare (H), Thursday, February 25, 2016 – introduced in House
January 6, 2016 – introduced in Senate by Sen. Perry Clark – This was the “Cannabis Freedom Bill” (This Bill was “pre-filed” in December of 2015)!
Jan 06, 2016 – introduced in Senate, Jan 07, 2016 – to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S)
As early as January 28th they were already reporting that Legislation to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana is unlikely to be addressed during this legislative session in Kentucky,
so they KNEW beyond a doubt that they would not take any action on the Cannabis Bills as early as January!
At least Hundreds, maybe thousands of concerned Kentuckians made their way to the Capitol of Frankfort, Kentucky this year to attempt to
impress upon our Legislators just how important the “Cannabis” Bills were, yet I can count on one hand the number of Representatives
in Kentucky that stepped up.
Louisville, KY’s Sen. Perry Clark is a “stand up” Legislator for the People and he definitely did his homework correctly. I cannot see one thing
that he could have done differently to persuade a different outcome. Please send him a note of THANKS for everything he has done this year!
Not only could the Representatives not find time to take up the Cannabis issue, but they MADE TIME to take up the issue of moving “Kratom”,
which is another herbal plant, not a “spice” type of drug, to Schedule I in Kentucky taking yet another plant away from the people via “legislation”.
THIS Bill was introduced by W. Westerfield. Be sure to send him a note and let him know how much we appreciate him stealing our plants!
Kentucky is a corrupt State. That’s it and that’s that.
Once again, Kentucky will remain last on the list, at least for now. But it is not for lack of trying to climb up and out of this corruption, by the people who have stood up and asked to be counted! It is,
as usual, the Kentucky Government as it exists today and has existed for many years.
There is always next year, and there will be a new President in the White House by that time. As well, there will be new Legislators in Kentucky.
All we can do is to set our sites on next year, and say a prayer.
WE THE PEOPLE OF KENTUCKY WILL NOT BE SILENCED ANYMORE!
The Legislators can expect to have a LARGER crowd in Frankfort in 2017, expecting them to stand up and do the RIGHT thing!
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Opinions: “Pot should stay illegal in Kentucky”
From: Rev. Mary L. Thomas-Spears, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101
Dear “Pot should stay illegal in Kentucky”,
That was all like a bad scene straight out of Reefer Madness, or the equivalent of BS propaganda. Yet all very well said for a pot dealer???!
I couldn’t help but notice you did not bother to take the time to sign your name or to take any credit for that medieval excrement – Your opinion which you felt so valuable. It would cut into your profit margin if you had to suddenly become legitimate, wouldn’t it?
If Marijuana/Pot/Cannabis Prohibition was repealed in Kentucky and/or the U.S. it would put the pot dealer in the Black Market out of business and you wouldn’t be working for the FDA’s DEA anymore.
After all, Congress was only given authority over Currency, Foreign War and the market place, which is why they created “Prohibition”, to control and divide the market place, in order to maximize their profit margins, through supply and demand, and the Black Market they claim to be fighting against while in essence owning it. So you work for them, right?
Opinions like yours are in fact, proof, that “opinions are like a$$holes… They are undeniable evidence of the disgusting amount of (or level of) illiteracy and mis-education, or as Dr. Gupta put it, “brainwashing”, on the highest levels, within and outside of the Commonwealth, in my opinion.
We can thank William Randolf Hearst and his desire to print the news on wooden paper, as he owned millions of acres of trees for creating the propaganda and printing it on to begin with, and all these years later, despite all the published facts, research, science and truth to the contrary of this Marijuana Madness propaganda, we can thank you for attempting to continue the BS.
After all, up until then all of our news was printed on Hemp (= Cannabis Sativa L = Marijuana).
I am sure if my friend, colleague, mentor and Attorney, Gatewood Galbraith were here today in the flesh he would agree with me on everything I have said or will say. While adding a few colorful comments or opinions of his own, of course, like,
“I wish all you would stop getting high long enough to read my book!” “I’d even give you a free copy so that you might educate yourselves on the fact that Marijuana is already legal, as I explained to Greg Stumbo!”
It all comes down to understanding the words and their legal meanings, the Constitution and your Rights and Freedoms along with precedence of Rulings handed down by the Supreme Court like Leary vs. The United States, as I explained in “Last Free Man in America meets the synthetic subversions”.
In his book he also explains that ending Marijuana Prohibition in Kentucky would save the Commonwealth approximately $500 Million Dollars and year, just in healthcare and related costs alone.
The actual figures coming in from other States who have already passed similar laws are in fact very favorable as well as being in support of Gatewood’s estimate or prediction.
Gatewood Galbraith also explains in his book that Marijuana, like Ibogaine (which is also prohibited in the U.S.), is known to, in fact, break addiction. Evidence that Y(our) Government is not against addiction or are not fighting addiction as them claim they are.
After all, the market place functions on supply and demand and addiction fuels or increases the demand, therefore increasing the profits. This is why they have prohibited both of these plants in the U.S. As former President Bush said without a flinch “We are a Nation addicted to gasoline”. So why haven’t they prohibited possession of gasoline? After all, how many have died throughout the last year alone huffing it or consuming it? Or as a result of crashes?
Yet, it is a controlled substance like Marijuana, controlled through taxation, which recognizes the substance as legal and through the Tax with which it is controlled under (= 1937 Marijuana Tax Act), did just that (legalize), despite it having been repealed by Leary v. United States, in the Supreme Court, on the Federal level, in a ruling that agreed that He (= We, have a divine, inalienable, sovereign, natural right and freedom to utilize Marijuana), (Marijuana = Cannabis Sativa L “untaxed”).
The Commonwealth of Kentucky has passed its own Marijuana Tax Stamp Laws – Legalizing thru taxation.
WHY??? Why would people of any State pass a law, or vote in a law to pay the State or a Commonwealth to tax them for a right or freedom that has already been granted to them by not only Divine authority but by the highest Court in the land on the highest level? While basically declaring themselves as Federal informants to a Government who has already abused it’s power and authority by passing not one, but two illegal and unconstitutional Acts of Congress (= the CSA or Controlled Substance Act).
All of this is a part of the “Synthetic Subversion” or war on plants and nature (not just Marijuana), as Corporations like Monsanto and Dupont scramble to own ALL OF THE SEED through Patents and GMO’s (genetically modified organism).
For all of those who still believe that Marijuana (= Cannabis Sativa L) was only prohibited because they couldn’t Patent the plant – Your wrong! You have forgotten about the Corn, Soy Beans, and Wheat as well as all the farm’s and Farmer’s who have been lost to Lawsuits and suicides connected to “who is growing who’s seed in who’s fields throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The main reason for prohibition is all the legal lies (= Legalization)which openly mandates and sanctions their authority to prohibit in the first place, allowing them to Patent and own all the rights, while controlling the market place, which they now own, or rule, therefore controlling all of the profits while also allowing them to control the nature of the plant.
Keep in mind, THC is the active part of the plant that causes a plant to be labeled as Marijuana, which is also the natural sunscreen of any Cannabis Sativa L plant.
HEMP, which starts out as Cannabis Sativa L in the wild, has now been legally defined by the amount of THC it contains (or doesn’t contain). This seed can now be controlled with a THC stopper gene, via GMO and we can promise that an entire crop growing in any field, no matter how much sunlight it receives, will, for that season, remain HEMP in the field, no matter where the field is, thus, controlling the harvest. (In nature, the amount of Sunlight a plant receives determines the amount of THC in any given Cannabis Sativa L plant).
Keep in mind, Cannabis Sativa L., blows in the wind like corn when it pollinates.
By moving all of the Marijuana grows indoors, these same chemical Companies and Corporations that have prohibited Cannabis/Marijuana in the first place through the lobby of Congress, are the same ones that supply big Pharma, are the same ones that make chemical weapons for war, are the same ones controlling our crops and food supply, and can NOW not only control all the seed, they can sell you chemical fertilizers and growing equipment for medical Cannabis, for just long enough to gain all the information they need to take over the medical use of Cannabis.
Look at Canada. Where medical patients have lost all their growing rights, while waiting in lines and waiting for “approval” for medicine that they cannot afford to buy from the Corporate growers!
First: Cannabis is already legal, as I have pointed out,
Second: Prohibition is the problem,
Thirdly: REPEAL is the only legal answer to end prohibition of Cannabis that is morally correct.
Fourth: the gateway drug theory is a lie and has been disproven and has been dispelled by the National Academy of Science over a decade ago in the 1999 report published by the National Academy Press, “Marijuana: Assessing the Science Base“, which stated plainly when examining this question or theory that, if there are any gateway drugs leading to addiction they would be sugar, nicotine and alcohol. Notice that Marijuana is not at the top of their list of gateway drugs for addiction, and that sugar is not on the Controlled Substance list despite all the disease, illness, and death it causes, not including the addiction.
There has never been a death caused by Marijuana consumption or overdose unless it was a result of it being prohibited (= being shot by a Cop)… Please find me ONE, I challenge you!
Cannabis Sativa L. (= Marijuana Cannabis/Hemp) is a FOOD first. It has been proven that we are all Endocannabinoid based life forms, and that Endocannabinoids are passed from Mother to Child in the Breast Milk.
However, this food has been prohibited from our gardens since basically 1937, while disease and illness caused by malnutrition grows out of control. Yet, the FDA wants YOU to believe that this food is a DRUG.
Well, so is bottled water, so do you want to see a Doctor for a prescription to buy bottled water?
I hear that my friend, Senator Perry Clark, has introduced a new bill that will repeal prohibition of Marijuana in Kentucky. I have not read the Kentucky “Cannabis Freedom Act” Bill thoroughly yet. If Sen. Perry Clark has asked to repeal Cannabis prohibition in Kentucky then he deserves our full support! Our State Representatives need to step up and do what we have paid them to do and additionally introduce KCHHI (Kentucky Cannabis Hemp Health Initiative) as a companion Bill alongside Sen. Perry Clark’s Bill and PROTECT the People of this State!
Both would REPEAL Cannabis prohibition in Kentucky.
Wake up! Educate yourselves on the entire truth of how it all does affect you, no matter who you are or what you think you know or believe. This is the twenty-first Century, the “Information Age”!
Rev. Mary Thomas-Spears
Please be advised that Rev. Mary Thomas-Spears hand delivered a written copy of this letter to the office of the Bowling Green Daily News on 1/5/2016. To date, it has NOT been published on their website.
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SB13/CI/LM (BR161) – P. Clark
AN ACT relating to the regulation of cannabis and making an appropriation therefor.
Establish KRS Chapter 245 to regulate the cultivation, testing, processing, taxing, and sale of marijuana to persons aged twenty-one years and older; amend various sections to conform; repeal KRS 218A.1421, KRS 218A.1422, and KRS 218A.1423.
Jan 06, 2016 – introduced in Senate
Jan 07, 2016 – to Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations (S)
PLEASE CONTINUE TO CALL, FAX, MAIL, EMAIL AND VISIT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES AND URGE THEM TO SUPPORT SEN. PERRY B. CLARK’s “CANNABIS FREEDOM ACT” !
THIS IS THE ONLY WAY TO MORALLY REPEAL CANNABIS PROHIBITION AND RETURN THIS PLANT TO IT’s PEOPLE!
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Left: Link to USMjParty Kentucky
Above: Link to Facebook Page of the “Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition”
Because of the “Origination Clause” in the U.S. Constitution there must be a Representative to submit a “Companion Bill” in order for it to move forward because this clause says that all bills for raising revenue must start in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as in the case of other bills.
(From Wikipedia) The Origination Clause, also known as the Revenue Clause, is as follows:
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.
COMPANION BILL – A bill which is identical to a bill having been introduced in the opposite house.
What we need to do right now is to find a Representative who is willing to back up Sen. Perry B. Clark’s BR 161 with a “COMPANION BILL” in order to be in coordination with the “Constitution”.
Please write your Representative an email or letter asking them to get behind Sen. Perry B. Clark’s BR 161 and provide a “Companion Bill” as soon as possible because the Legislative Session (calendar link here) starts on January 5th, 2016 and January 8th, is the deadline for prefiled House Bills.
The LINKS you will need are listed here (just click on picture):
LINK to KY BR 161
LINK to KY Legislator’s Email Addresses: (Please note that some of the Representatives/Senators have direct email links, and some of them can be copied/pasted into your email program).
Also, of note, this is a little more time consuming, but worth it, I believe — When I wrote my “Email” I sent it to my individual Representative, who is Johnny Bell – in Glasgow, KY, but I also copied the email to ALL of the Kentucky Senators as well as the Representatives, so that THEY ALL would be able to see the letter I had written.
Here is the LINK to the 2016 Legislative Calendar:
As well, anyone who may have a printer, and postage money available should ideally send individual letters through the U.S. Postal Service to the Representatives given addresses. The more “paper” we can send them, the better they will hear us speaking!
PHONE CALL’s as well will be a great help! Please back up your letter or email with a phone call to your Representative to reiterate the issue of BR 161 !!!
PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS BILL DIE! KEEP IT GOING WITH AN EMAIL AND A PHONE CALL TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY!
Greetings Well the bill has been submitted and now it’s our turn. Senator Perry Clark submitted SB11 to the judiciary committee last week. http://www.mpp.org/states/kentucky/ It is one of the most aggressive legalization bills to date and we are asking all supporters to get on board to help us push this bill through. You can see a summary of the bill here: http://kentuckyveteransformedicalmarijua.blogspot.com/2012/09/gatewood-galbraith-memorial-medical.html
In the coming days I will be sending out information on what needs to be done. We will also be sending out another petition so be sure to sign it as we will be using it to further the legislation along. This is a short session folks but I know that working together we can get this done. I would like to hear from any veterans we might have, specially if you belong to the VFW. There is big news concerning the VA.
Folks I am excited about our chances. I’m hearing more and more positive feedback from legislators everyday. We are getting closer to making this bill a reality. If you have any questions you may contact me here at [email protected] United We Stand! Ron Moore Kentucky Veterans for Medical Marijuana www.kentuckyveteransformedicalmarijuana.net Find your legislator at this link: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/whoswho/email.htm
or Call the Toll-Free Legislative Message Line at 1-800-372-7181 to leave a message.
by Chelsea Rabideau
Posted on July 5, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Updated Friday, Jul 6 at 10:52 AM
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A Kentucky state senator from Louisville is pitching a bill in Frankfort that would legalize medical marijuana. It’s named in honor of one of medical marijuana’s long-standing supporters, Gatewood Galbraith, who died in January. But, one of the senator’s long-time friends says the bill is self-serving.
David Toborowsky says he’s been friends with democratic senator Perry Clark for 15 years. He’s also a supporter of Clark’s opponent Chris Thieneman. When Clark introduced the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medical Marijuana Act of 2013 Thursday, Toborowsky says he was bothered.
“You know, being an elected official is leadership and as a constituent, I would hope for a little more from that. Like I said, there’s more important issues out there,” Toborowsky said.
But, there’s a little more to it.
Toborowsky said he faced an uncomfortable situation during the last legislative session. He claimed he went to Clark’s house to talk politics and the senator was smoking pot.
“They handed it to me, I’m not a pot smoker, it’s not my thing,” Toborowsky said. “I don’t judge anybody, what people do in their personal lives is their business. I didn’t think anything of it and it didn’t bother me until the bill was filed…and I thought, you know, that’s kind of self-serving.”
Senator Clark freely admitted to using the drug.
“I have chronic back pain. I’ve been known to smoke weed. People know that about me somewhat. I’m not a chronic smoker. I’m a 70’s child, child of the 70’s, I’m a veteran,” Clark said. “They put me in not the greatest places in the Orient. We were sailors so, you know what we were doing and we weren’t behaving totally. But, I have been recommended marijuana for my back.”
Again, Toborowsky said he’s been friends with Clark for 15 years. But, he’s also contributed money to republican Chris Thieneman’s campaign in the past. He also caused his own stir when he listed the same address as Thieneman when he filed to run for the Jefferson County School Board in 2010.
Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, spoke during a rally opposing SB 6, a proposal to crack down on illegal immigrants, held on the steps of the State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Tuesday, February 8, 2011. Senate Bill 6 would make it a state crime Ñ a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances Ñ for illegal immigrants to enter Kentucky, or for anyone to harbor or transport them or encourage their residency in the state. The measure has cleared the Senate but faces long odds in the House Local Government Committee. Charles Bertram | Staff
Senator Perry B. Clark (D)
Senate District 37
5716 New Cut Rd
Louisville KY 40214
702 Capitol Ave
Annex Room 255
Frankfort KY 40601
Home: (502) 366-1247
Annex: (502) 564-8100 Ext. 715
Annex: click here
House 1995 – 06; Senate 2006 – Present
Born September 30, 1957. Quality Training. Christian. US Navy. Boy Scouts of America, Vol Merit Badge Counselor, District Chair. Community vol.
Health & Welfare (S); Judiciary (S); Veterans, Military Affairs, & Public Protection (S)
Program Review and Investigations Comm.
FRANKFORT — A proposal to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in Kentucky will carry the name of Lexington attorney and perennial political candidate Gatewood Galbraith, who died of complications from pneumonia in January.
State Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, said he knows the measure has slim chances in the 2013 legislative session, but he encouraged dozens of supporters who gathered at a news conference Thursday to call their state lawmakers.
"No, we do not have the votes," said Clark, who acknowledged he has smoked marijuana and would likely qualify for a medical prescription because of chronic back pain. "It’s going to be very, very difficult."
Clark filed the Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act shortly after Galbraith’s death during the 2012 legislative session, but the bill never received a hearing. Clark said he plans to refile the bill for the 2013 session, which begins in January.
The proposal would make marijuana a schedule II drug. It would allow people who have a prescription for marijuana to get up to 5 ounces of the drug per month and to cultivate up to five marijuana plants at a time.
Clark was joined by members of Galbraith’s family at the news conference, including daughters Molly and Abby. Both urged people to support the cause that their father pushed for decades.
Galbraith gained notoriety as Kentucky’s most vocal advocate for the legalization of marijuana. He ran unsuccessfully for governor five times and sought several other public offices through the years.
The news conference began with a 1991 video of Galbraith extolling the benefits of marijuana and criticizing law enforcement during a stump speech.
Clark cited multiple studies that cite the beneficial use of marijuana for an assortment of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, cancer, multiple sclerosis and other chronic degenerative diseases.
"The concept of the prohibition of a medicine is opposed to the very freedoms that this country was once about," Clark said. "It’s anathema to freedom … this is a liberty issue."
Clark, who faces Republican Chris Thieneman in the November general election, said he is not worried that his controversial stance on marijuana will hurt his re-election chances. Clark was first elected to the Senate in 2006 and had previously served in the Kentucky House.
"I’m pretty bold," Clark said. "I’m not afraid … I’ve never really cared about being elected or not being elected."
Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of marijuana. California was the first state to pass such a law in 1996. Michigan is the closest state to Kentucky that has legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Robin Waller, who attended Thursday’s news conference, is a resident of both California and Kentucky. Waller showed her prescriptions for medical marijuana, which she has used since 2005 and credits with easing her multiple sclerosis symptoms.
"I’m doing a lot better than people who have had MS for as long as I have," Waller said.
Others who spoke in favor of the proposal included cancer patients, those with chronic pain and degenerative diseases and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jacob Jones said police shot his father, Gary Earl Shepherd, who Jones said was growing pot at the time of his death. Jones said his father was a disabled Vietnam War veteran and suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jones, who was only 4 at the time of his father’s 1993 death, said he backs medical marijuana laws because he, too, has suffered from post-traumatic stress after witnessing his father’s death.
"Cannabis is medicine," Jones said.
Kentucky State Police are among the leading opponents of the proposal.
"The legalization of marijuana, whether for medicinal use or hemp growth, presents serious challenges to Kentucky’s law enforcement," said Capt. David Jude. "To distinguish what would be grown and/or possessed for ‘legal use’ versus ‘illegal use’ would prove to be difficult, making our enforcement efforts less efficient and possibly less effective. I feel confident that our legislators will consider the impact that legalizing a drug like marijuana will have on all of our communities as well as law enforcement."
Jude said state police troopers will continue to "aggressively enforce" current marijuana laws, "and if those laws are changed, our enforcement efforts will adapt accordingly."
The conservative Family Foundation of Kentucky also opposes the bill, saying the use of Galbraith’s name is "an opportunistic gimmick."
"In states where medical marijuana laws are on the books, ‘jet lag’ and ‘stress’ become qualifying ailments that allow for medical marijuana," said Andrew Walker, an analyst with the foundation. "Over and over, spurious claims show that medicinal marijuana laws become subject to blatant and rampant abuse."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.Beth Musgrave: (502) 875-3793. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A Louisville lawmaker unveiled long-shot legislation Thursday to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in Kentucky, a state where police mount huge campaigns each year to cut and burn clandestine pot crops.
Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, said he wanted to get an early start promoting the legislation to make marijuana available by prescription to cancer patients and others who would benefit from the "miracle plant."
The legislature isn’t scheduled to reconvene until January.
Clark called for other Kentucky lawmakers to help him "end this folly" of barring people who are suffering from being able to use a drug that could help them.
"The concept of prohibition of a medicine that you grow with a seed that you put in a garden is an anathema to freedom," he told supporters who gathered Thursday afternoon in the Capitol Annex. "I say it’s time we get brave. We educate. This is a liberty issue to me."
Clark will dub the bill the "Gatewood Galbraith Medical Marijuana Memorial Act" in honor of the late Lexington attorney who was the state’s leading proponent of marijuana legalization.
A similar measure by the same name failed in a legislative session earlier this year in Kentucky, one of the nation’s top marijuana-producing states. Kentucky has a near-perfect climate for growing marijuana, and was once a major producer of industrial hemp before the federal government banned it. Even so, the idea of legalizing marijuana for medical use, which has already been done in 17 other states, is frowned on by most Kentucky lawmakers and has little chance of passing.
Galbraith, a perennial candidate for governor who was known for his fiery stump speeches, also was an advocate of lifting federal restrictions to allow Kentucky farmers to grow industrial hemp. That idea has gained momentum among Kentucky political leaders in recent years, with most of the state’s candidates for agriculture commissioner last year favoring it.
Galbraith’s daughter, Molly Galbraith, said passing the medical marijuana bill would be a fitting tribute to her father, who died in January.
"For the better part of 40 years, he has been talking about the benefits of medical marijuana," she said. "And right now there are hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who are suffering and they need and deserve access to this plant that our grandfathers and our great grandfathers grew by the thousands of acres. In our opinion, there’s no better way to honor our father’s work and his legacy than to see this bill passed."
Kentucky State Police are among the leading opponents.
"The legalization of marijuana, whether for medicinal use or hemp growth, presents serious challenges to Kentucky’s law enforcement," said Capt. David Jude. "To distinguish what would be grown and or possessed for ‘legal use’ versus ‘illegal use’ would prove to be difficult, making our enforcement efforts less efficient and possibly less effective. I feel confident that our legislators will consider the impact that legalizing a drug like marijuana will have on all of our communities as well as law enforcement.
Jude said state police troopers will continue to "aggressively enforce" current marijuana laws, "and if those laws are changed, our enforcement efforts will adapt accordingly."