Missouri May Approve Hemp Farming…Kinda

Below is an article from the Tenth Amendment Center on a bill moving through Jefferson City. I have many thoughts on it, but I don’t wish to articulate them until the thing is through the process. Hemp is a phenomenal food source and a great fiber that is also quite beneficial for the ground. If we could grow hemp without losing the farm, I would be very happy to do so because of how incredibly beneficial the plant is for living things. And even without THC in it, it is wonderfully healthy to consume.

Anyway, you are welcome to share your thoughts on this bill, but I am holding my tongue until the process is complete:

Missouri Senate Committee Passes Bill to Legalize Some Commercial Hemp Farming and Production

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Apr. 28, 2016) – Yesterday, a Missouri Senate committee passed a bill to authorize the growth and production sale of industrial hemp for commercial purposes by larger producers. Passage into law would represent a foundation to nullify the unconstitutional federal prohibition in practice.

Introduced by Rep. Paul Curtman, House Bill 2038 (HB2038) designates industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, rather than a controlled substance. It includes a licensing and monitoring program which allows larger producers to start growing the plant for commercial purposes.

The bill also includes a provision allowing farmers to retain seeds for planting the year following a harvest. In some states, seeds are extremely hard to come by when they cannot be retained year over year and farmers have to rely on the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) for their supply.

After a public hearing Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Agriculture, Food Production, and Outdoor Resources approved the measure with no amendments. The House previously passed HB2038 by a vote of 123-39.

LIMITED PROGRAM

In order to operate an industrial hemp field lawfully under the proposed law, farmers would be required to have their crops inspected by regulators to insure they do “not exceed three-tenths of one percent on a dry weight basis.” Farmers would also be required to pay “reasonable fees as determined by the department [of agriculture] for the purpose of carrying out the duties of the department.”

Due to heavy opposition from law enforcement, who claimed that industrial hemp would be indistinguishable from it’s sister plant, marijuana, the legislation also includes a provision which allows the Department of Agriculture to require an “Industrial Hemp Monitoring System,” which is defined in the bill as:

an electronic seed-to-sale tracking system that includes, but is not limited to, testing and data collection established and maintained by a grower or handler and available to the department for purposes of documenting and for monitoring agricultural hemp seed and industrial hemp plant development throughout the life cycle of an industrial hemp plant cultivated as an agricultural product from seed planting to final packaging

The bill does not include any provisions to authorize small-scale or home grown hemp for commercial purposes, which has drawn the ire of some libertarian activists.

However, a similar restriction was originally created in Oregon, where the state didn’t allow those with less than a 2.5 acre crop to grow the plant, and over time as the public’s fear of hemp subsided, an effort began to get the regulations relaxed. This year, Gov. Brown signed a bill into law removing any and all plot-size restrictions on commercial hemp. (learn more here)

BEYOND FEDERAL PERMISSION

Early in 2014, President Barack Obama signed a new farm bill into law, which included a provision allowing a handful of states to begin limited research programs growing hemp. The “hemp amendment”

…allows State Agriculture Departments, colleges and universities to grow hemp, defined as the non-drug oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, for academic or agricultural research purposes, but it applies only to states where industrial hemp farming is already legal under state law.

In short, current federal law authorizes the farming of hemp – by research institutions only, for research only. Farming for commercial purposes by individuals and businesses is still prohibited. The Missouri bill rejects this prohibition on some farmers and authorizes commercial farming and production anyway.

OTHER STATES

By rejecting any need for federal approval, HB2038 would set the stage to nullify this federal ban in practice. Passage would join Missouri with other states – including Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont – that have passed similar measures.

Farmers in SE Colorado started harvesting the plant in 2013, and farmers in Vermont began harvesting in 2014, effectively nullifying federal restrictions on such agricultural activities. Laws passed in other states in recent years authorize hemp farming to various degrees and commercial production is getting off the ground, even if slowly, as in Tennessee.

An interesting case is in Oregon, where the state also started out with

“What this gets down to is the power of the people,” said Mike Maharrey of the Tenth Amendment Center. “When enough people tell the feds to pound sand, there’s not much D.C. can do to continue their unconstitutional prohibition on this productive plant.”

HUGE MARKET FOR HEMP

According to a 2005 Congressional Research Service report, the U.S. is the only developed nation that hasn’t developed an industrial hemp crop for economic purposes.

Experts suggest that the U.S. market for hemp is around $600 million per year. They count as many as 25,000 uses for industrial hemp, including food, cosmetics, plastics and bio-fuel. The U.S. is currently the world’s #1 importer of hemp fiber for various products, with China and Canada acting as the top two exporters in the world.

During World War II, the United States military relied heavily on hemp products, which resulted in the famous campaign and government-produced film, “Hemp for Victory!”.

NEXT UP

HB2038 will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.

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DARE Removes Cannabis As A Gateway Drug

Psssst. Hey guys, guess what? The veil of fear and loathing around cannabis is getting shredded. There is just too much evidence that it is actually good for the vast majority of people coming to light. I guess I need to be more patient and remember that it took the FDA 30 years to admit that vitamin c can help fight off the common cold. Why should it be surprising that it takes almost 80 years to get any quasi-governmental acknowledgement that cannabis isn’t really a drug that drives one to prostitution and heroin?

But we still have the issue of whom we trust with our health care and decisions about what we ingest and to whom we give authority over our potential ingestion of this plant. Hemp seed alone is so amazingly beneficial it’s still a wonder that governments have gotten away with controlling it. Unfortunately, it looks like the corporate control and the “Reefer Madness” idiom we have been conditioned to accepting is still winning.

We do not need to have things that are so potentially beneficial for us (raw milk, food directly from the farmer, cannabis, sassafras) regulated and controlled by nameless faceless bureaucracies and legal systems. If we allow the powers that be to control our access to food, education, news, medicine, information(for example, the massive assault on the statement of evidenced benefits from essential oils) and the sharing of these things, then we may as well ask for permission to breathe as well. Potentially, they are already lined up for the license to breathe via the carbon tax mechanism and CO2 as a “dangerous emission”.

In my state, Missouri, we have two initiatives gathering signatures for the ballot in November. One of those (New Approach Missouri or NAM) is not changing the schedule of cannabis, thereby leaving it in the federal realm of a schedule 1 controlled substance that could cause you to lose your right to keep and bear arms should you get a prescription.  The other initiative, (Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act or MCRPA) changes that scheduling and does not allow the medical industrial complex further control over your health decisions. The problem is that the controlled and legally dangerous initiative has better organization and funding than the fully grass roots initiative. So, we are likely to get something that will only really benefit a few and keep power and money in the hands of the medical industrial complex, the state and the court system, and prevent people from helping themselves and each other.

Here is an article that pretty well reflects my opinion, and let’s us know about the issue with DARE’s policy change:

No More Pretending: D.A.R.E. Says Cannabis No Longer A Gateway Drug

I don’t smoke pot, but if I had a medical condition that warranted its use, I would use it without a doubt. I probably would not smoke it as I don’t want to inhale smoke into my lungs.  I would, however, find another way to reap all of its amazing therapeutic benefits, such as juicing, capsules, or using its potent essential oil.

I must admit that I would even risk being arrested for the sake of taking responsibility for my health. I am a mother with three children, and if using cannabis effectively allowed me to continue to be a mother… I would not refuse it.

There is far too much compounding scientific evidence  (see below) to support its therapeutic value, and besides… it is natural,  who can argue with that?

As more and more states (23 to be exact, plus DC) legalize the medicinal use of cannabis, the pressure is really on the federal government to loosen their restrictions and classification of this herb.

Humans have cultivated and used the flowering tops of the female cannabis plant, known colloquially as marijuana, since history was recorded. Archaeologists in Central Asia even found over two pounds of cannabis in a 2,700-year-old grave of a shaman. Written and pictorial evidence of cannabis use is scattered throughout numerous cultures, indicating a wide acceptance and use of the plant for thousands of years.

“The D.A.R.E. Program and Gateway Drugs”

Most recently, albeit rather quietly, the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program

(D.A.R.E.), one of the biggest organized anti-drug groups in the world, erased marijuana from their list of “gateway” drugs. There was no big fanfare, no news conference, nothing. Marijuana simply disappeared off the list on their website, which still contains tobacco and alcohol.

The gateway theory basically states that people who start using “soft” substances like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana will move on to “hard” drugs like cocaine or heroin. For years, the D.A.R.E. program has been teaching that marijuana along with alcohol and tobacco are very dangerous gateway drugs. Two outta three ain’t bad, but there has been a tremendous amount of miseducation taking place. Here is what the D.A.R.E. website had to say about marijuana in 2014:

“While the drug [marijuana] is being legalized in some states for medicinal and, in some cases, recreational purposes, there are many experts who still consider it the path to a life of ruin.”

No need to look at the past, however. I celebrate, along with many others, the fact that the program has taken this step to help end marijuana propaganda that has been going on for a very long time. I am glad that they were bold enough to get off the cannabis-bashing bandwagon and acknowledge what science supports.

Less ammunition for those against legalization 

The disappearance of cannabis from the list gives those opposed to legalization of the plant a much smaller platform upon which to stand. Sorry to disarm you Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Schultz, Democratic National Committee chair described pot as a dangerous gateway drug in an interview not too long ago. Here is what she had to say.

“I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs,” Schultz told The New York Times. “We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline. There is a huge heroin epidemic.”

But she was actually far off course, studies show that the marijuana-gateway theory is wrong, hands down. Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that most people who use cannabis don’t move on to harder or more dangerous substances. Sadly enough, The Intercept reports that Schultz has been badmouthing cannabis while accepting generous campaign donations from Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco. Now that makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? 

Drug classification remains 

Although D.A.R.E. has made a courageous and historic stand by removing cannabis from their gateway list, federal prohibitions outlawing the therapeutic and recreational use of cannabis still remain. These restrictions were first imposed by Congress with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. Later, the plant’s organic compounds (cannabinoids) were classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

This classification puts the plant in the same pool as heroin and states that cannabis possesses “a high potential for abuse… no currently accepted medical use… [and] a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug… under medical supervision.”

In contrast, cocaine and methamphetamine, which are illegal for recreational use, may be consumed under a doctor’s supervision and are classified as Schedule II drugs. Examples of Schedule III and IV drugs include anabolic steroids and Valium. Analgesics that contain codeine are defined by law as Schedule V drugs, the most lenient classification.

Therapeutic value

Federal lawmakers continue to use the dated drug classification as a means to defend criminalization of marijuana. However, there appears to be very little scientific basis for the categorization of the plant. As its prohibition has passed 75 years, researchers continue to study the therapeutic properties of cannabis.

There are over 20,000 published reviews and studies in scientific literature that pertain to the cannabis plant and its cannabinoids, almost one-third of these have been published in the last four years. A keyword search on PubMed Central (the U.S. government library of peer-reviewed scientific research) shows 2,100 studies alone since 2011.

Joycelyn Elders, MD, former U.S. Surgeon General, wrote the following in a March 26, 2004 article titled “Myths About Medical Marijuana,” published in the Providence Journal:

“The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS — or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”

Ray Cavanaugh, PhD, national director of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC), wrote the following in a 2002 article titled “The Plight of the Chronically Ill,” posted on the AAMC website:

“Many of the chronically ill have successfully sought relief with the use of medical cannabis, an age-old remedy that now shows real scientific efficacy. Hundreds of thousands of the sick have replaced disabling narcotics and other psychotropic medications with nontoxic and benign cannabis. The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. Folks with spinal injuries able to give up their walkers, AIDS patients able to gain weight and keep their medications down, cancer patients finding relief from the terrible nausea of chemotherapy, chronic pain patients once again functional with their consciousness restored from narcotic lethargy, and folks once disabled from crippling psychiatric disorders and addictions, returned to sanity and society with the assistance of a nontoxic herb with remarkable healing powers.”

The American Nurses Association (ANA) wrote the following in its March 19, 2004 “Position Statement: Providing Patients Safe Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis,” posted on the ANA website:

“The American Nurses Association (ANA) recognizes that patients should have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis. Cannabis or marijuana has been used medicinally for centuries. It has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms and conditions.”

Researchers at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research announced findings from a number of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials on the medical utility of inhaled cannabis in 2010.

The studies used the FDA “gold standard” clinical trial design and reported that marijuana should be the “first line of treatment” for patients suffering from neuropathy and other serious illnesses.

Neuropathy is a type of pain associated with diabetes, cancer, spinal cord injuries, HIV/AIDS and other debilitating conditions. The trials indicated that marijuana controlled pain as well or better than available medications.

Scientists continue to study the effectiveness of cannabinoids all over the world. In Germany there have been over 37 controlled studies, with over 2,500 subjects, assessing the safety and efficacy of marijuana since 2005. In contrast, most FDA-approved drugs go through far fewer trials with less subjects but are approved for use.

ErasesCannabisGatewayDrugList_640x359The research on cannabis has shifted from studying its ability to alleviate symptoms of disease, such as nausea associated with chemotherapy, to its potential role in modifying disease. Medical marijuana has been shown to slow the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and moderate autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Where does this leave us?

Is marijuana a gateway drug? No way. Does it have therapeutic value that we would be foolish to overlook? Most definitely. The decision of D.A.R.E. to remove marijuana from their gateway list sends a message to all engaged in the cannabis debate. As more and more forward momentum is gained and the falsities of this plant begin to fade in the light of the true evidence, there is hope for millions of people who suffer needlessly in pain when a natural and highly effective remedy exists.

Clearly, where conventional medicine has failed or needs help, alternatives such as cannabis can and are starting to fill the gap.

—Susan Patterson

Susan is the Content Director at The Alternative Daily, a Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and Master Gardener. With an extensive knowledge of whole foods and wellness, Susan has authored over 3,000 articles and numerous e-books. She presently lives in the mountains of Arizona where she enjoys hiking, biking, gardening and pursuing a healthy lifestyle with her three daughters and numerous animals.

Sources:
http://extract.suntimes.com/news/10/153/16482/dare-program-no-longer-lists-marijuana-as-gateway-drug
http://norml.org/component/zoo/category/recent-research-on-medical-marijuana
http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu
http://ireadculture.com/article-2940-convinced-of-the-cure.html

Veterans Children Taken Because of Medical Cannabis

This is why nothing less than the state being required to defend you against the federal government’s Schedule 1 classification of cannabis is going to work. This poor man put his life on the line to serve in the US military, and now, the State is destroying his family. Proud to be an American? Makes one wonder, doesn’t it? I love my country, but, as Jefferson said, I tremble when I reflect that God is just…The link to the article is in the title below:

Tensions running high between courts, family attorneys and child protective services, who are unsure where lines are drawn in a world of legalized cannabis

Raymond Schwab
Raymond Schwab with his family in undated photo. ‘People who don’t understand the medical value of cannabis are tearing my family apart,’ said the father of five. Photograph: Courtesy of Raymond Schwab

When Raymond Schwab talks about his case, his voice teeters between anger and sadness.

“People who don’t understand the medical value of cannabis are tearing my family apart,” says the Kansas father and US veteran, who has a prescription for marijuana in neighboring Colorado, where it is legal.

Nine months ago, Schwab tried to move to Colorado to grow medical marijuana for fellow veterans. While he and his wife were there preparing for the move, the state of Kansas took five of their children, ages 5 to 16, into custody on suspicion of child endangerment, ensnaring his family in interstate marijuana politics.

Cases like the Schwabs’ have become a lightning rod for marijuana activists and have left courts, family attorneys and Child Protective Services (CPS) unsure of where the lines are drawn in this brave new world of legalized cannabis.

“There’s still a stigma against parents who use medical marijuana,” says Jennifer Ani, a family law attorney who says she sees around five similar cases a month – in 95% of which she believes the child was in no reasonable danger. “As much as marijuana is a moving target throughout the nation, with Child Protective Services it’s even more so.”

She says that concerns about contact-highs or children eating raw cannabis are often cited but are not scientifically sound arguments that a child is in danger. Contact-highs have been widely discredited as a myth, and cannabis must be cooked before it can get you high.

The US Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment on the Schwab case but pointed us to their guide “Parental Drug Use As Child Abuse”, which says that “exposing children to the manufacture, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs is considered child endangerment in 11 States [including Kansas]” and “the Federal Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act requires states to have policies and procedures in place to notify child protective services agencies of substance-exposed newborns”.

A case like Schwab’s has one foot in both the legal and illegal dynamics of marijuana, since his case involves Kansas, where cannabis remains illegal, and Colorado, where it is legal for both medical and recreational sale.

Tensions have been running high between Colorado and neighboring states whose residents want to purchase cannabis. Last year, sheriffs from Nebraska, Oklahoma and Kansas filed a lawsuit against the state for its marijuana laws, citing trafficking concerns; and this month, the Kansas attorney general sent out 500 surveys to their county and district attorneys, sheriffs and chiefs of police asking how Colorado marijuana is affecting their work.

A US navy veteran who served in the Gulf war, Schwab says that he uses a homemade cannabis butter to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and chronic pain. For years, he says, his mental health issues went undiagnosed, resulting in a bout of alcoholism and substance abuse. He was prescribed a variety of sedatives, antidepressants and chronic pain medication, which he says often made him feel worse. “I got addicted to the pain medication, which led to heroin addiction.”

Schwab says that he has been sober since a stint in rehab in 2011, and that cannabis is the only medication that helps with his anxiety, depression and physical pain.

Schwab arranged in early 2015 for his job at the Department of Veterans Affairs to be transferred from Kansas to Colorado, where he could legally grow his own cannabis and work with veterans who, like him, use the plant medicinally.

While dealing with the move, he and Amelia arranged for the five children to stay with relatives. (The four youngest children were born to Raymond and his wife, Amelia; the 16-year-old and a 19-year-old who was not taken into custody are Amelia’s children from previous relationships.) After driving 60 miles away from home, the Schwabs received a call saying they needed to appear in an emergency hearing that day because their children were in state custody.

Schwab says that one of the relatives caring for his children (whom he declines to name) took them to the police station, saying their parents had abandoned them to go work on a pot farm in Colorado. That was in April last year, and Schwab says he has only seen his children three times since then.

The communications director for the Kansas department of children and families (DCF) declined to comment on the Schwab case but said that “children are not removed from the home for [parental] marijuana use alone”.

Yet Schwab says that no investigation was done of him or his home, and that the only evidence against him was the testimony of the police officer that took the children into custody. There were allegations of “emotional abuse” but a DCF report in July found those to be “unsubstantiated”.

Included in the police report was a screenshot of Schwab’s recent Facebook post, where he discusses moving to Colorado to start a marijuana business. The Schwabs have been asked to submit a urine sample that would be tested to see if they have used marijuana before they can visit their children – despite having relocated to Colorado, where he has a prescription.

The district attorney of Riley County, Kansas, where the Schwabs’ case is currently being handled, did not return requests for an interview.

Ani says that it’s not unusual to see children removed from their home for marijuana use, even in states where it’s legal. In 2014 she defended a California couple whose children were taken by CPS after a police officer smelled marijuana in the house, despite having prescriptions for the substance. The additional charge against them was that their home was in disarray.

Last year, Ani worked on the highly publicized Kansas case of Shona Banda, whose 11-year-old son was taken from her after he told his drug education program teacher that his mother used cannabis.

For cases like Schwab’s, the legal spiderweb of cannabis law becomes compounded by his PTSD.

Dr Sue Sisley – a psychiatrist who recently received a $2m grant to study the effects of cannabis in treating PTSD, the first study of its kind – says that for vets like Schwab, “they need their medicine in order to be a good parent”.

“A lot of these vets, they can’t function without their meds. And they have to live in fear of a positive drug test, and losing their kids to Child Protective Services. So they live this crazy, covert lifestyle where they’re afraid to be open to the people around them, for fear that they’ll call CPS.”

Last month, Schwab testified before a Kansas state senate committee and, with tears in his eyes, pleaded for the state to “give me back my children”.

The committee was considering a bill that aimed to lower criminal penalties for marijuana possession and allow hemp oil to be used medicinally – moves that he criticized for not going far enough.

Schwab says that once he regains custody of his children he plans to sue the state of Kansas for violation of his constitutional rights. “They’re holding my kids hostage and threatening to terminate my rights if I don’t seek cannabis-abuse therapy in a state that’s legal. They’re threatening other people with jail time or losing their kids if they speak out, but I will not submit. I’ll take this to the supreme court if I have to.”

  • The article was amended on 1 February 2016 to clarify that the Schwabs have six children; the oldest is 19 years old.

Cannabis Oligopoly-Missouri

If you aren’t aware, we have three initiatives up for the 2016 ballot in Missouri relating to cannabis, hemp, marijuana. One is the subject of the following article, and the points are definitely salient. Another is the Show Me Cannabis/NORML complex medical cannabis initiative which would allow medical cannabis after a massive amount of hoops in the medical industrial complex are deftly jumped through. That one is “New Approach” Missouri’s initiative…backed by many attorneys and many. many pages long, And then there is the Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act initiative (MCRPA). That one is viewed as “radical” because it puts the people in the power of cannabis growth and usage and the legislature would need to make laws about age limits and things like that. Despite the opposition’s oft touted statement that driving under the influence of cannabis would be protected under the MCRPA initiative, it doesn’t provide for that. A simple fact is that the MCRPA wouldn’t make lawyers and bureaucrats wealthy, and since the objective for that ilk is to profit on people’s suffering is their bread and butter, they are against it. Those are the three initiatives (in a very, very small nutshell) that Missourians have the opportunity to support or oppose.

The article below is from the opponent of Brad Bradshaw, lawyer, surgeon and candidate for the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of Missouri. He makes some very good points on Bradshaw’s (on it’s face) populist initiative. (Link to the source is in the title below)

The Missouri Legislature Must Not Let Brad Bradshaw Hijack Medical Cannabis to Create Constitutional Oligopolies and Grow Government

By Missouri State Rep. Tommie Pierson (D-North St. Louis County)

As a contender for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor and a sitting State Representative, I’ve got a unique perspective on an issue that is of increasing importance in this political cycle: medical cannabis. That’s because my primary opponent, Springfield attorney/physician Brad Bradshaw, is running electoral and initiative campaigns advancing a dangerous agenda attempting to hijack the overwhelming positive sympathy of Missourians in support of medical cannabis for the purpose of expanding the powers of the office of the Lieutenant Governor, creating a new state agency with new tax revenues and eminent domain powers, and establishing Constitutional oligopolies on cannabis commerce.

Pierson

Pierson

Various polls show that as many as 80% of Missourians support the notion that the government should not interfere in the doctor-patient relationship with respect to medically necessary cannabis therapeutics. Indeed, it now seems inevitable that this popular sentiment will soon be expressed in law — the only question is who will do it and how.

And it’s here where my wealthy self-funding opponent has seized the opportunity to package a set of dangerous ideas in an initiative petition nominally about legalizing medical cannabis. Bradshaw’s initiative petition 2016-128 would create a new state agency, the “Research and Drug Development Institute” to “find cures for presently incurable diseases”. This Institute would operate “under the direction of the Lieutenant Governor” and the Lieutenant Governor would appoint the Research Board governing the day-to-day operations of the Institute. The Research Board’s powers are wide and varied, and include the ability to sell revenue bonds to finance the operation of the Institute. The Research Board would also license and regulate the medical marijuana industry and derive revenues from license fees associated with commercial marijuana operations (such fees are $50000 for the first year and may be increased each successive year). The legislation also prioritizes license applications from pharmacists and health care providers, creating a Constitutionally unequal playing field for ordinary entrepreneurs (and ensuring there will be virtually no minority access to this industry). Additionally, the legislation allows for the Research Board to seize private property for the physical building housing the Institute through eminent domain in as many as 5 unique sites after having put such a question to the voters of the counties where such land may be located. Finally, the Research Board may enter into partnerships and revenue-sharing agreements with other private or public organizations.

In short:

  • This legislation threatens private property owners by creating a Constitutional regime for eminent domain takings
  • This legislation would create a Constitutional oligopoly where ordinary Missourians would find it virtually impossible to start businesses, deploy capital investments, or enter the cannabis industry
  • This legislation creates a new state agency with a dedicated revenue stream controlled by the office of the Lieutenant Governor and without any accountability from any other branch of government
  • This legislation taxes medical cannabis at 85%

Instead of allowing this travesty to proceed unimpeded, the Missouri Legislature should follow the recommendation of Jackson County Sheriff and incoming Missouri Sheriffs Association President Mike Sharp, who says:

“If a licensed medical doctor sees a need for the use of medical cannabis to improve the quality of life, that should be up to the doctor and the individual,” he says, adding that his nephew deserved at least a chance to try the treatment. “If this could help him have one good day, why wouldn’t I support that?”

With Bradshaw funding a multi-million dollar coordinated electoral and initiative campaigns to grow government and increase economic inequality, it’s time for the Missouri General Assembly to show leadership and bring together the diverse stakeholders necessary to implement medical cannabis in this state properly.

Cannabis is Food

Recently, the author of the only grass roots effort to legalize cannabis in Missouri, Mark Pedersen, put up a video on YouTube about some of the reasons he wrote the act. The video is about 25 minutes long, and the one criticism I have is that Mark doesn’t draw enough focus onto the myriad of issues concerning the medical only access to cannabis. I’ll be writing an article regarding these problems fairly soon. However, I can’t resist doing a mini diatribe on it right now! So if you want to skip the next paragraph and get straight to the video, you just need to scroll down a bit.

If you think that tightly controlled medical cannabis is the only way to go, then it follows that you have inherent faith in the medical industrial complex. While I will say that if I have a trauma, like a bad car wreck, or if I fall out of tree and break many bones, I want to go the hospital! However, if I have a chronic condition, like arthritis, or cancer, or irritable bowel, or Chron’s Disease, or PTSD, or migraines, or fibromyalgia, or psoriasis, or epilepsy, or about 60 other conditions, I want to take my health issues into my own hands and use supplementation, diet and-if I deem it necessary- cannabis. And I don’t need a doctor to give me pharmaceutical chemicals that have a myriad of side effects to deal with my health. Most doctors only get one class for one semester on nutrition. Yet Hippocrates said, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”

Here is the video I mentioned at the outset:

Ohio Rejects Issue 3- Monopoly Marijuana

Yesterday, “Responsible Ohio” had their hat handed to them by Ohio voters. The main stream media is pushing that Ohio is against legalizing cannabis, but what they actually rejected was a cartel ensconced in their constitution that would only allow the ten entities funding the bill to grow cannabis for retail. This proposal was extremely flawed, and as someone who cherishes liberty, I am extremely happy that Ohio rejected this!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might find it funny that a wonk for Issue 3 called me a communist for speaking against this proposal because of the oligopoly it would enshrine in the state’s constitution. They said I was “crazy hippy communist” for thinking that there should be a level playing field and allowing for economic freedom for those that wanted to put their own money up to jump into the ring and grow and sell cannabis for retail.

Here are a couple of article links about the big happy fail:

Ohioans Reject Legalizing Cannabis

Ohio voters vote no against legal and medicinal marijuana!

Ohio Issue 3- Cartel Cannabis- On Ballot Now

The attorney responsible for pushing the “Responsible Ohio” legalization effort for cannabis isn’t openly admitting that he is an oligopolist, or a fascist, but I’ll say that he is. If he takes umbrage with it, he is welcome to call me and we can argue semantics and right and wrong in person. The people paying for it because they will be the ten entities allowed to grow it there are the same. If it bothers them, oh well. In effect, they are entering into a realm of not being protected from public comments putting their character into question because they are attempting to ensconce a cartel into a state’s constitution. Nothing about it indicates any respect for the idea of a level playing field or free market economics.

Here is an article on this issue. If my spidey-sense is serving me right, this is likely to be similar to what Show Me Cannabis might offer up in 2020 if we fail to get the Missouri Cannabis Restoration Act (2016-013) through in 2016…Hopefully, we won’t have to go down that path:

On Ballot, Ohio Grapples With Specter of Marijuana Monopoly

Don Wirtshafter, an Ohio lawyer who has long fought to make marijuana legal, nonetheless said he opposed Issue 3, a legalization amendment, seeing it as “opportunists seeking monopolistic gains.” Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, a collector of antique marijuana apothecary jars, the founder of an industrial hemp business and “a pot smoker consistently for 47 years,” Don Wirtshafter, an Ohio lawyer, has fought for decades to make marijuana legal, calling it “my life’s work.”

But when Ohio voters go to the polls Tuesday to consider a constitutional amendment to allow marijuana for both medical and personal use, Mr. Wirtshafter will vote against it.

Issue 3, as the proposed amendment is known, is bankrolled by wealthy investors spending nearly $25 million to put it on the ballot and sell it to voters. If it passes, they will have exclusive rights to growing commercial marijuana in Ohio. The proposal has a strange bedfellows coalition of opponents: law enforcement officers worried about crime, doctors worried about children’s health, state lawmakers and others who warn that it would enshrine a monopoly in the Ohio Constitution.

A selection from Don Wirtshafter’s collection of antique marijuana apothecary jars. Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

The result has been one of the nation’s oddest legalization campaigns. It pits a new generation of corporate investors against grass-roots advocates like Mr. Wirtshafter, who deplores “opportunists seeking monopolistic gains” and laments that America would have been much better off “if they would have just let the hippies have their weed.”

A recent poll by the University of Akron shows voters evenly split, but if the proposal passes, Ohio will be the first state to approve marijuana for personal use without first legalizing medical marijuana. That would put Ohio, a swing state, at the forefront of the national movement to overhaul marijuana laws — just in time for the 2016 presidential campaign. Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio, a Republican candidate for president, opposes Issue 3.

“If Ohio wins, it will be a significant step forward for the broader movement — nothing will excite attention like that,” said Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which has helped lead the national drive for legalization. But his group is remaining neutral rather than endorsing Issue 3, he said, “because of the problematic oligopoly provision.”

To complicate matters, the Ohio General Assembly has put a competing initiative, Issue 2, on the ballot; known as the antimonopoly amendment, it would block Issue 3 by prohibiting the granting of special rights through the State Constitution. There is certain to be a protracted legal battle if both measures pass.

The story of how Issue 3 got onto the ballot begins here in Columbus, the capital, with Ian James, a political consultant whose company, the Strategy Network, specializes in gathering signatures for ballot initiatives. In 2009, his firm helped legalize casino gambling in Ohio through a measure that amended the State Constitution and specified where casinos could be located.

Jan Lefebre, a ResponsibleOhio staff member canvassing in Columbus, Ohio, met Shannon Lakanen, left, who supported Issue 3, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow marijuana for both medical and personal use. Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

Mr. James said he had “taken that premise and applied it to marijuana.” In early 2014, he said, he began meeting with lawyers and a potential investor, James Gould, a Cincinnati sports agent, to talk about a “tightly regulated system” to make marijuana available in Ohio. An organization called the Ohio Rights Group, then represented by Mr. Wirtshafter, was already gathering signatures for an initiative to make medical marijuana legal.

But Mr. James had a more ambitious plan.

With help from Mr. Gould, he found 10 investment groups willing to put up a minimum of $2 million each to finance a campaign to pass an amendment that would legalize marijuana for medical use and personal use in small amounts; set up a commission to regulate it; and designate 10 parcels of land — each owned or optioned by funders of the initiative — where marijuana could be legally grown and cultivated for commercial use.

Adults 21 and older would also be allowed to grow small amounts of marijuana — up to four flowering plants — for themselves. The state commission would license retailers, who would be required to win elections in local precincts.

The backers call themselves ResponsibleOhio. Among the investors: the former professional basketball player Oscar Robertson, the fashion designer Nanette Lepore, Mr. Gould and two great-great-grand-nephews of President William Howard Taft. Each investment group has committed as much as $40 million to build facilities if Issue 3 passes.
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Ian James, a political strategist, has worked extensively with ResponsibleOhio, the pro-legalization group led by wealthy investors. If Issue 3 passes, they would have exclusive rights to growing commercial marijuana in Ohio. Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

Mr. James, whose detractors note that his firm is earning more than $5 million to run ResponsibleOhio, makes no bones about what critics call “the corporatization” of the marijuana business. He said the sale of marijuana would, beginning in 2020, generate $554 million a year in tax revenue for Ohio; 85 percent would go toward safety services and infrastructure repair.

“We have clearly taken this from the tie-dye to the suit-and-tie approach, there is no question about that,” Mr. James said. “Right, wrong or indifferent, this is the way legalization is moving in this country now.”

National advocates are split: The Marijuana Policy Project, like the Drug Policy Alliance, is neutral on Issue 3, while the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or Norml, gave it an uneasy endorsement. Some legalization proponents say Mr. James has created a new model.

“If he is successful with this, a bunch of very rich people will be interested in hiring him to try it in other places,” said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who has advised ResponsibleOhio.

Mr. James says he has no plans for other states, though at least five — including California and Nevada — are expected to have ballot initiatives in 2016.
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Buddie is the mascot for ResponsibleOhio, a pro-legalization group led by wealthy investors. Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

Outraged lawmakers in Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature, unwilling to cede control over drug policy, responded with Issue 2, which passed the House with bipartisan backing and the Senate along party lines. State Representative Michael F. Curtin, a Democrat and former editor of The Columbus Dispatch, helped draft the measure, and is a driving force behind Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies, the opponents’ coalition.

He calls Issue 3 “a prostitution of the initiative process.”

ResponsibleOhio is making its case to voters on the airwaves (Mr. James said his group would spend as much as $9 million on radio and television ads); with celebrity endorsements (Montel Williams, the talk show host who touts medicinal marijuana as treatment for his multiple sclerosis, was here last week); and with paid canvassers who, Mr. James said, will have knocked on one million doors by Election Day.

But perhaps the group’s most contentious marketing effort has been Buddie, an anthropomorphic marijuana bud who looks a bit like a spear of asparagus wearing green cowboy boots and a blue cape, and who has been turning up on college campuses around the state. Critics liken him to Joe Camel, the cartoon character accused of marketing Camel cigarettes to children.

On the campus of the University of Cincinnati on Thursday, Buddie posed for photos and found no shortage of fans among students; most eagerly accepted free T-shirts (with messages like “O-High-O”). Many who stopped were passionate about legalization. Others said it mattered little to them. One, Lee Idoine, told campaign workers who accompanied Buddie that he “worried about the big businesses getting an edge on the market right away.”

Mr. Wirtshafter, who practices law in Athens, Ohio, but resigned as the lawyer for the Ohio Rights Group after it endorsed Issue 3, said Buddie proved “how little the organizers of Issue 3 knew about cannabis, its politics and its users.” Mr. Wirtshafter is now active with a new group, Legalize Ohio 2016, which plans its own ballot initiative next year.

On Saturday, he planned to attend a Halloween celebration with a mascot of his own: Monopoly Man.

 

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