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State legislative panel hears testimony about economic, health benefits of medical marijuana


A state legislative committee met Friday to discuss liberalizing marijuana laws for medical purposes.

“We have been literally overwhelmed with correspondence and people wanting to testify before this committee today,” said Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, who chaired the meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations.

He said he asked that the subject of medical marijuana be placed on the agenda after several bills concerning marijuana were assigned to the Senate Standing Committee on Licensing, Occupations and Administrative Regulations during the final weeks of the 2016 General Assembly.

(Left to Right) Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, discusses future legislation on medical marijuana as Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, listens during the July 8th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations (LRC Public Information Photo)

(Left to Right) Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, discusses future legislation on medical marijuana as Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, listens during the July 8th meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Licensing and Occupations (LRC Public Information Photo)

“At that time I made a commitment to the people both supporting and opposed to the legislation that we would have extensive hearings during the interim to learn more,” Schickel said. “It is really relevant legislation for our times. We have states all around us that are dealing with it also.”

Sen. Perry B. Clark, D-Louisville, testified about last session’s Senate Bill 263, which would have legalized medical cannabis.

“Where they’ve passed medical cannabis laws none of the cataclysmic predictions have materialized in any form,” he said.

Clark was followed by testimony from Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, who introduced Senate Bill 304 last session. SB 304 sought to legalize medical marijuana for palliative or hospice care.

“If you have eight months to live and something makes you comfortable … why wouldn’t we allow it?” he said. “We prescribe morphine and fentanyl to these same patients – literally drugs that are killing people in Kentucky.”

Dr. Gregory Barnes of the University of Louisville testified about his research into the effectiveness of cannabidiol, known as CBD, in epilepsy.

“It might not only represent a compound that is anti-seizer in character but also a compound that improves behaviors and cognition,” said Barnes. “I think that is a very important point for the committee to understand.”

Jaime Montalvo, founder of Kentuckians for Medical Marijuana, spoke about using cannabis to treat his multiple sclerosis.

“We believe conservatively that this can help over 100,000 Kentucky patients,” he said. “It would create economic growth, and it would potentially get rid of the black market we have today.”

Dr. Danesh Mazloomdoost, a Lexington pain management specialist, cautioned legislators about the dangers of hastily passing medical marijuana legislation.

“We can sensationalize the failures of conventional medicines as a rationale for legalization,” he said, adding marijuana isn’t a fix for these failures.

He said while some, like Montalvo, might find relief from marijuana their stories are not representative of the average medical marijuana recipient.

Kentucky Narcotic Officers’ Association (KNOA) President Micky Hatmaker said 25 other states have expanded access to cannabis for medical purposes either by ballot referendum or legislative intent.

“That is contrary to the process by which all other drugs have been tested and approved,” he said. “All drugs intended for human consumption are required to have been tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.”

Hatmaker said the concept of cannabis as medicine began in California in 1996 when they allowed access to cannabis, either smoked or ingested, to treat terminally ill patients and those who suffered from debilitating diseases.

“In spite of the best intentions of these 25 states, raw marijuana either smoked or ingested is not medicine and has never been passed through the rigorous DA approval process to ensure the health and safety of patients,” he said. “The KNOA believes that medications, including marijuana-based drugs, should go through the scientific process, and should be accessed through legitimate physicians.”

From LRC Public Information


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3 Comments

  1. Charles V. Waller says:

    “That is contrary to the process by which all other drugs have been tested and approved,” he (KNOA Pres. Micky Hatmaker) said. “All drugs intended for human consumption are required to have been tested and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.”

    Mr. Hatmaker fails to mention that despite the 1972 recommendation by the Nixon appointed National Commission on Marihuana & Drug Abuse in their report “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding” for decriminalization, and the ruling of DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young in 1988 during the internal DEA petition process ordering removal from Schedule 1 classification ( a ruling which then DEA Head John Lawn illegally ignored), the DEA has steadfastly refused to do so. The necessary research to receive FDA approval for cannabis in any form has been deliberately prevented, unnecessarily complicated and repressed by the NIDA, ONDCP and DEA despite an overwhelming body of evidence demonstrating the medically therapeutic benefits of cannabis consumption in raw form by juicing (see Dr. Wm. Courtney), inhalation of combusted or vaporized byproducts, ingestion of whole plant extract oil (cannabinoid content is found primarily in the trichome resin glands) and essentially any other form of cannabis consumption. The US DHHS has held patent #6630507 Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants since 2003, and exclusively licensed same through NIH-OTT in 2012 KannaLife Sciences, INC. Furthermore, the medicinal properties of cannabis extract oil (then known as cannabis extractum) have been well documented for “western medicine” since Dr. Wm. O’Shaughnessy presented his first paper to the Medical and Physical Society of Calcutta in 1839. After he returned to Great Britain from India in 1841 he continued his research. As Dr. Lester Grinspoon noted in Marihuana Reconsidered (1971:15), “Between 1839 and 1900 more than one hundred articles appeared in scientific journals describing the medicinal properties of the plant.”

    “Hatmaker said the concept of cannabis as medicine began in California in 1996 when they allowed access to cannabis, either smoked or ingested, to treat terminally ill patients and those who suffered from debilitating diseases.”

    This statement demonstrates Hatmaker’s complete lack of knowledge on the subject. Prior to the onset of states’ regulation and prohibition of cannabis preparations in 1911 (Massachusetts) and 1913 (California) over 2 decades before the hyperbolically titled federal “Marihuana Tax Act (which was essentially prohibition by fiat disguised as legislation), cannabis extractum was a widely prescribed and dispensed medicinal compound, as well as dried cannabis foliage administered by both vaporization in braziers and by inhalation of combusted byproducts. Dr. Donald Tashkin (UCLA) is an informative source of information on the effects of smoking cannabis on pulmonary health.

    “In spite of the best intentions of these 25 states, raw marijuana either smoked or ingested is not medicine and has never been passed through the rigorous DA (sic – FDA) approval process to ensure the health and safety of patients,” he (KNOA Pres. Micky Hatmaker) said. “The KNOA believes that medications, including marijuana-based drugs, should go through the scientific process, and should be accessed through legitimate physicians.”

    Perpetuation of prohibition and retention in Schedule 1 classification is exactly what prevents this occurring on a national level. Mr. Hatmaker is being disingenuous and duplicitous by repeating prohibitionist propaganda which has thoroughly debunked and discredited by reputable, credible research scientists around the world – including the esteemed Dr. Raphael Mechoulam of Israel who first identified the D9THC molecule in 1964 and has spent a lifetime researching the medicinal properties of cannabis.

    GW Pharmaceuticals’ products Sativex and Epidiolex are excellent examples of the unleashed potential of phytocannabinoids and derivative products, examples which disprove the false claims repeated by opponents in the article.

    Readers may choose to believe the irrational and unscientific propaganda surrounding cannabis, or they may choose to use the internet to research the hard, indisputable scientific facts regarding a safe, non-toxic, beneficial plant used by humans for thousands of years without a single human death attributed solely or directly to consumption in any manner.

    Prohibition is the problem, and cannabis is the solution. If nothing else, think of the enormous number of patients – including pediatric patients with chronic, debilitating, life threatening conditions such as intractable pediatric seizure disorders and leukemia – who are suffering and dying due to lack of access to medicinal quality cannabis and cannabis byproducts.

    What would you do if your child was suffering uncontrolled seizure activity for which available prescription pharmaceutical compounds not only offer no relief, but include horrific adverse side effects such as delayed cognitive development, kidney & liver damage, and the very real potential for fatal overdose? Cannabis carries none of those risk factor, and provides a wide range of therapeutic benefits beyond symptom relief.

    What would you do if it were your loved one dying and suffering excruciating pain, for which cannabis has a proven track record of providing enormous relief?

    You’re either part of the problem, or part of the solution. I know which side I stand on.

  2. Charles V. Waller says:

    Delivery has failed to these recipients or groups:

    davidbyerman@lrc.ky.gov (davidbyerman@lrc.ky.gov)
    The e-mail address you entered couldn’t be found. Please check the recipient’s e-mail address and try to resend the message. If the problem continues, please contact your helpdesk.

    Email address from the ky.gov website. Sent a copy of the commentary above, and it was bounced back.

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