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Kentucky NORML

  • by Matthew Bratcher, Executive Director, KY NORML February 5, 2019

    The Kentucky chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (KY NORML) is assisting Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana (KY4MM) in its lobbying efforts Feb. 5 with constituents from across the state seeking cannabis reform.

    “There are several meetings made for constituents to meet with their legislators on both days. KY4MM has been extremely important in helping to get all of our supporters to come together. It’s vital that we speak as one voice for a medical program.” said Matthew Bratcher, KY NORML executive director.

    Patrick Dunegan, Executive Director for Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition (KCFC), “We should not be prisoners of an imaginary border for our health”, referring to Missouri, Ohio, and Illinois becoming emerging medical cannabis markets.

    There are four bills pertaining to the legalization of cannabis during the 2019 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

    State Rep. Jason Nemes, R-33, is sponsoring a medical cannabis bill (HB 136) that allows doctors to recommend cannabis therapy as part of patients’ treatment regimens. “It is time to allow doctors to have this option for their patients,” Nemes said Jan. 9 during a news conference.

    Fairdale Republican state Sen. Dan Seum, R-38, has proposed SB80, which would allow responsible adult use of cannabis. Seum recently told lawmakers he “smoked a joint” instead of using potentially addictive opioids during colon cancer treatment. “And guess what? No nausea,”; Seum said last month.

    Other cannabis bills on the 2019 legislative agenda include a Cannabis Possession Decriminalization bill (SB 82) sponsored by State Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, which would decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use; and Democratic state Sen. Perry Clark’s “Shauna’s Law”; (SB83) which provides workplace protections for public employees who fail a drug test related to use of a legal industrial product, such as CBD.

    Missouri, Ohio and West Virginia are among states bordering Kentucky that have approved legislation pertaining to medicinal marijuana.

    Following Tuesday’s lobbying session, KY NORML is hosting a Cannabis Community Forum at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at The Plantory, 501 W. Sixth St., Suite 250, Lexington, on the second floor of the West Sixth Complex. The forum includes an educational seminar on cannabis, a review of House Bill 136 (HB136) and an expert question and answer session.

    The following day, KY NORML returns to the capitol with KY4MM, and Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition (KCFC) to continue lobbying efforts, culminating with a Rally from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda. Scheduled speakers include Rep. Jason Nemes (R-33), Rep. Diane St. Onge (R-63), Sen. Dan Seum (R-38) among others.

    For more information regarding the Feb. 5 and 6 lobbying sessions or Tuesday’s Lexington forum, contact Matthew Bratcher at matthew.bratcher@kynorml.com or Jaime Montalvo at ky4mm2014@gmail.com

    KY NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to influence legislators for the expansion of our hemp industry, implementation of medicinal cannabis, and laying the foundation for responsible adult use.

    To support KY NORML you can DONATE HERE or purchase some of our apparel below! Your donations help pay the bills and allow us to function and continue to make a difference in our state! Can you kick in $5, $10 or $20 to help us keep going

    Looking to help in a more direct way? We are always looking for people to help out with any number of tasks! CONTACT US and tell us about yourself and what your talents are!

  • by Matthew Bratcher, Executive Director, KY NORML January 28, 2019

    A medical cannabis bill has been filed in the Kentucky General Assembly every year since 2013. In that time around a dozen other states have passed medical bills, eight more have joined Colorado and Washington in full legalization. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump have voiced support for state governments deciding their own policies.

    Nearly 80 percent of Kentuckians support medical marijuana., according to a 2012 study issued by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. So, in seven years why hasn’t Kentucky moved forward?

    Cannabis reform has stalled recently because of opposition from Kentucky’s Senate leadership. Their opposition shouldn’t be the final word. Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, says more research is needed, while state Rep. Danny Bentley, R-Russell, erroneously compared cannabis to “snake oil remedies of the 1800s,” according to a WDRB-TV report.

    It’s understandable lawmakers want reliable data before making a decision. The good news for Kentucky legislators is the data already is available. The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more than 26,000 published studies/reviews across 24 databases regarding cannabis available to read online. The National Center for Biotechnology Information has summarized a group of FDA approved randomized clinical trials, finding evidence for cannabis as medicine. The organization concluded marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I substance is an obstacle to further research.

    Kentucky’s Senate leader has taken a contradictory stance. Stivers has requested studies from the American Medical Association or Johns Hopkins University, but he should know he is asking for research prohibited by cannabis’s Schedule I classification under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

    This should bring advocates and opponents alike together on the issue. We can all agree on objective scientific data.

    I invite Stivers, Bentley, and others asking for more research to join their voices with ongoing bipartisan efforts to reschedule cannabis.  If the state Senate won’t get behind rescheduling cannabis, they are effectively asking to see research that can’t be conducted under federal law.

    Sadly, it seems Stivers already has an answer for would-be medical cannabis patients.

    “Have a bourbon,” he told the Courier-Journal.

    Are we going to see the studies proving bourbon can provide the same relief cannabis can?

    Stivers’ tasteless quip – or even more tasteless sales pitch -reveals a flippant disregard for the issue. A 2016 study publishedin the Journal of School Health concluded alcohol use should be a target of school abuse prevention programs. The study cited alcohol as a more likely gateway to hard drug use. The negative effects of alcohol abuse, both on the user and their loved ones, are well documented, so it’s odd Stivers and the Kentucky Senate lack the same concern for data and safety when it comes to alcohol.

    A January 2017 review of trials by the National Academy of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering found conclusive evidence supporting cannabis use for the treatment of chronic pain. The Journal of Clinical Oncology in a 2018 study found medical cannabis use provided a 41 percent reduction in opioid use, which signals a potential solution for our Kentucky’s opioid crisis that desperately needs to be addressed before more Kentuckians die at the hands of these powerful drugs that often are legally prescribed. Are there studies showing the same potential in bourbon?

    This isn’t a call to shift discussion towards prohibiting alcohol. We long ago rightly decided to allow adults to make a free decision to imbibe or not. Kentucky’s Senate is steadfastly hesitant to allow a similar decision regarding medical cannabis even among doctors and their patients who could benefit from this medicine.

    The best rebuttals some of our Senate has to voice in response to Kentucky’s seventh medical cannabis bill are juvenile attempts at humor and dismissals of the data at hand. The discussion must progress beyond verbal jabs and dismissiveness.

    It can if more Kentuckians rally behind two pieces of Republican-sponsored legislation in the 2019 session of Kentucky General Assembly that kicked off Jan. 8 – state Rep. Jason Nemes’ Let Doctors Decide medical marijuana bill (HB 136), Sen. Dan Seum’s Responsible Adult-Use Bill (SB 80), Sen. Jimmy Higdon’s Cannabis Decriminalization (SB 82), and Sen. Perry Clark’s “Shauna’s Laws, which provides workplace protections (SB 83).

    Seven years have passed and 33 states now have medical cannabis systems in place. It is time for Kentucky to join the discussion and catch up with the rest of America.

    Call 800-372-7181 and tell your legislators to support cannabis reform this session and join us on February 6th at the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort from 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm EST for a Rally for Reform!

    KY NORML’s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to influence legislators for the expansion of our hemp industry, implementation of medicinal cannabis, and laying the foundation for responsible adult use.
    To support KY NORML you can DONATE HERE or purchase some of our apparel below! Your donations help pay the bills and allow us to function and continue to make a difference in our state! Can you kick in $5, $10 or $20 to help us keep going

    Looking to help in a more direct way? We are always looking for people to help out with any number of tasks! CONTACT US and tell us about yourself and what your talents are!

  • by Matthew Bratcher, Executive Director, KY NORML September 14, 2018

    State News:

    On Sept. 7th, 2018, the Interim Joint Judiciary Committee held a meeting to discuss medical marijuana and the bill being proposed by Rep. Nemes (R-), Rep. St. Onge (R-), Rep. Hart (R-) and Rep Sims (D-). They discussed their bill and invited Louisville resident Cassie Everett and her family to speak at the event. Link to article Link

    Kentucky Farmers Find Hemp More Profitable Than Tobacco. Link to article

    McLean Businessman Among State-Approved Cannabis Growers Link to article

    Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, presents information on proposed legislation on medical marijuana for the 2019 Regular Session of the General Assembly during the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing, Occupations, and Administrative Regulations. Link to article

    National News:

    A Rare Moment of Bi-Partisan Agreement is Underway for Sen. McConnell Sponsored “Hemp Farming Act” (Link to article).

    Upcoming Events:

    September 14th – Licensing, Occupations, & Administrative Regulations – 10 am – The Capitol, Frankfort, KY

    September 18th – KY NORML General Meeting –  One Love Hemp Dispensary, 1908 Bardstown Rd., Louisville, KY 40205. Meeting from 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM.Ice Cream Social Put on by Cozmic Gardens from 5 PM – 6:30 PM. 20% of all sales at One Love Hemp Dispensary from 5PM-Close (8 PM) go to benefit KY NORML.

    October 5th – Commemorating the Victims of Prohibition – On October 2nd, 1937, the United States enacted the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act which effectively outlawed cannabis. Three days later, on October 5th, the FBI and the Denver police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell and Moses Baca. Caldwell and Bacca are recognized as the first citizens convicted of selling and possessing cannabis. Both men served the entirety of their sentences, with Caldwell dying shortly after his release from four years of hard labor.

    October 18th – Economic Development and Workforce Transportation – 10 AM, Lexington, KY (more info to come)

    October 25th – Appropriations and Revenue Committee Meeting – 1 PM, Northern Kentucky (more info to come)

    KY NORML‘s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to influence legislators for the expansion of our hemp industry, implementation of medicinal cannabis, and laying the foundation for responsible adult use.

    To support KY NORML you can DONATE HERE or purchase some of our apparel below! Your donations help pay the bills and allow us to function and continue to make a difference in our state! Can you kick in $5$10 or $20 to help us keep going?

  • by Matthew Bratcher, Executive Director, KY NORML July 26, 2018

    There will be an educational forum on the benefits that medicinal cannabis has to offer to Kentucky and its citizens. Featuring support from state cannabis activists including members from Kentucky Cannabis Freedom Coalition (KCFC), Kentucky affiliate for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (KY NORML), Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana (KY4MM), the Alliance for Innovative Medicine (AIM), as well as Industry Expert, Ashly Taylor, and Matthew Daley, State Director for the Office of Secretary of State.

    This will be a good opportunity for members of the community to come out and learn more about cannabis, how cannabis affects our bodies, how a regulated industry would look like in Kentucky, and how cannabis affects our communities.

    What: Community Cannabis Educational Forum
    Where: The Preston Art Center, 2660 South Green Street, Henderson, KY 42420
    When: July 31st, 2018 7 pm – 9 pm. Doors Open at 6:30 pm

    KY NORML‘s mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to influence legislators for the expansion of our hemp industry, implementation of medicinal cannabis, and laying the foundation for responsible adult use.

    To support KY NORML you can DONATE HERE! Your donations help pay the bills and allow us to function and continue to make a difference in our state! Can you kick in $5$10 or $20 to help us keep going?