Hemp, which was Kentucky's biggest cash crop for a century before
tobacco, is poised for a comeback thanks to bipartisan legislation
introduced Thursday in Congress. It's about time.
Regular hemp cultivation in this country was banned in 1937. That's
when federal law enforcement officials, who feared the repeal of
Prohibition would leave them nothing to do, launched the first war on
With a lot of "reefer madness" hype, the government banned marijuana.
Also swept up in that ban was industrial hemp, a botanical cousin in
the cannabis family that looks similar to pot but can't make you high
no matter how much you smoke.
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FRANKFORT, Ky. -- The U.S. Senate's top leader said Monday he wants to
bring hemp production back into the mainstream by removing it from the
controlled substances list that now associates it with its cousin
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told hemp advocates in his home
state of Kentucky that he will introduce legislation to legalize the
crop as an agricultural commodity. The versatile crop has been grown
on an experimental basis in a number of states in recent years.
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FRANKFORT -- Four law enforcement officials and a doctor urged state
lawmakers Tuesday to say no to a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
For more than an hour, opponents of House Bill 166 told members of the
House Judiciary Committee the ills they see in it.
Their predictions about passage of the measure included an increase in
crime, creation of trafficking problems along the state's borders, an
enhancement of economic and social costs, temptations of children to
use marijuana and uncertain physical outcomes over long-term usage.
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FRANKFORT -- Kentucky lawmakers shelved Wednesday a controversial bill
to legalize medical marijuana, but supporters of the measure pledged to
continue their fight.
Some backers of House Bill 166 were in tears after the House Judiciary
Committee voted 14-4 to "pass over" the measure. That's a procedure to
put off voting on the bill until a later date.
The bill's sponsor, Rep. John Sims, D-Flemingsburg, said it's doubtful
the proposal will be revisited in this year's legislative session but
"anything is possible."
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For years, Kentucky veterans have approached us with a question that
has no good answer: "Why are my comrades in other states able to treat
PTSD and pain with medical cannabis while I cannot?"
Frustrated and confused, these men and women struggle daily with the
effects of post-traumatic stress triggered by the horrors of war and
chronic pain from injuries suffered in combat.
One is Eric Pollack whose PTSD became so unbearable that he nearly
became part of a depressing statistic. In Kentucky, the veteran
suicide rate is 10 percent higher than the national average.
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Lexington's city council will likely take its first vote Tuesday on a
resolution supporting state legislation that would make medical
marijuana legal in Kentucky.
The Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council began debate on the issue
during a Thursday council meeting after half a dozen people who
support making marijuana legal for those with a prescription spoke at
the meeting. The council will likely debate the issue during a Tuesday
work session and may take its first vote during a specially-called
council meeting at 5 p.m.
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Amy Stalker says she had more control over her own health when she
lived in Colorado, where marijuana can be legally prescribed as
medicine. Stalker now lives in Kentucky, where medical use of
marijuana is banned.
A judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday against Gov. Matt Bevin and
Attorney General Andy Beshear that called for the legalization of
medical marijuana in Kentucky.
In his opinion, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate wrote that the
Kentucky Supreme Court clearly established in a 2000 decision
involving actor and hemp activist Woody Harrelson that the General
Assembly has the sole discretion under the state Constitution to
regulate the use of cannabis in the state. The courts do not have the
authority to intervene, Wingate wrote.
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He was licensed to grow hemp in Kentucky. Police say they found
Kentucky officials are reviewing a case that could result in a former
sheriff being kicked out of the state's pilot program to grow
industrial hemp after he was charged with cultivating marijuana.
Former Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman is thought to the first
participant in the hemp program to be arrested for allegedly growing
marijuana, hemp's psychoactive cousin.
Peyman has been approved to grow hemp since 2015, the year after he
lost reelection and left office, according to the Kentucky Department
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Former Jackson County Sheriff Denny Peyman was involved in a
marijuana-growing operation and possessed enough anabolic steroids to
indicate he was trafficking in the drug, Kentucky State Police have
A detective for the state police Drug Enforcement/Special
Investigations unit for the eastern half of the state arrested Peyman
at his farm south of McKee Wednesday at 4:44 p.m. after serving a
search warrant, according to the citation.
The citation said the warrant was the culmination of an investigation
in which 61 marijuana plants had been found earlier growing at
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Other states allow medical marijuana. Judge asks why Kentucky
shouldn't join them.
A Franklin Circuit Court judge on Tuesday asked attorneys for the
state why Kentucky should not make medical marijuana available to
patients who believe it might help them, given that "we've pretty much
decriminalized" the drug around much of the nation and even in parts
of the state.
Judge Thomas Wingate is considering motions by Gov. Matt Bevin and
Attorney General Andy Beshear to dismiss a lawsuit filed in June by
three Kentuckians who want the legal right to use marijuana as
medicine in the state where they live. Wingate said he expects to hand
down a decision on the motion in the near future.
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As the death toll from opioid overdoses in Kentucky and the rest of
the Midwest continues to soar, it's truly disconcerting to see that
policymakers are taking steps that are not only devoid of medical and
common sense, but virtually guaranteed to make matters worse.
The recent passage of the ill-conceived House Bill 333, which imposes
a three-day limit (with certain exceptions) on opioid prescribing,
reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the reasons behind the
All this new law will accomplish is to make matters worse for both
pain patients and addicts. The former will suffer needlessly; the
latter will die in even greater numbers.
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Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear want a Frankfort
judge to dismiss a lawsuit calling for the legalization of medical
marijuana in Kentucky.
In a motion filed Monday in Franklin Circuit Court, Bevin's attorneys
said medical marijuana is a "political question" that should be
decided by the General Assembly, not a judge.
"Since at least 2014, the legislature has debated bills advocating for
the lawful use of medicinal marijuana in every legislative session,"
attorney Barry Dunn wrote for the governor's office. "The General
Assembly will consider legalizing medicinal marijuana again in the
2018 session. It is solely within the General Assembly's
constitutional powers to determine whether to make medicinal marijuana
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FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Saying its time has come, state Sen. Morgan McGarvey
on Wednesday called on the legislature to consider legalizing medical
marijuana to relieve pain and suffering of terminally ill people.
"It's 2017," McGarvey, a Louisville Democrat, told members of the
joint House-Senate Health and Welfare Committee. "I think it's time we
had a conversation about medical marijuana without
Members of the committee took no action on legislation McGarvey is
proposing for the 2018 legislative session but no one spoke against
the proposal and some committee members spoke in favor of the measure
that went nowhere in the past two legislative sessions.
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Like most of small town America, Southern Indiana was unprepared for the
That's what Sam Quinones said, who is an expert on the roots of America's
heroin and prescription drug crisis.
"It's bad all over the country, but I would say it's probably particularly
unkempt in areas such as Southern Indiana," he said.
Smaller towns "never had to deal with the issues that come along with
opiate addiction like how hard it is to kick, all the ancillary effects of
having an addict in the family, aE& the lying, the destruction of family
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One woman relied on old needles used by her friend's diabetic husband.
Another settled for whatever syringes she could find.
But for the first time since they started using drugs several years ago,
both women have access to fresh syringes. They are getting them through a
needle exchange in Frankfort.
"If you can have a new one every time, why wouldn't you?" asked the
younger of the two women, who both spoke to the CJ on condition of
anonymity for fear of being stigmatized or getting fired. "I think it's
awesome that they're doing this.
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A partnership that's working to fight drug addiction in eastern Kentucky
has received a $100,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission,
Republican Rep. Hal Rogers announced Thursday.
Operation UNITE, which operates in 32 counties in southern and eastern
Kentucky, was founded in 2003 by Rogers to deal with what was at the time
primarily an epidemic of addiction to prescription painkillers.
Kentucky's Appalachian counties have since seen a surge in overdoses from
heroin, as well as opioid painkillers. The competitive grant includes
$50,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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A year ago, I woke in the night with pain so severe I was crying before I
was fully aware what was going on. A 50-year-old cop sobbed like a child
in the dark. It was a ruptured disc and related nerve damage. Within a
couple of months, it became so severe that I could no longer walk or
stand. An MRI later, my surgeon soothingly told me it would all be OK. A
nurse practitioner handed me a prescription for painkillers -- 180
tablets, 90 each of oxycodone and hydrocodone.
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The days-old newborn shook and screamed, his tiny chest fluttering with
rapid breaths. Even his mother's arms couldn't soothe him.
Withdrawal from heroin was Jordan Barkley's first experience of the world.
His mom, Amy Kalber, shot up every day for most of her pregnancy. The
drugs coursing through her body sickened Jordan, who spent seven weeks in
neonatal intensive care, suffering from diarrhea and tremors, sucking on
morphine as he weaned off the heroin.
"It breaks my heart. It really does," said Kalber, 33, who is now in
recovery. "I just couldn't stop. With heroin, you have to do it. You have
to get it. It doesn't stop."
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Tiffany Wigginton Carnal is in the fight of her life to save her daughter.
Lyndi Carnal, 17, has Crohn's Disease, an inflammatory bowel disease that
causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive tract, which can lead
to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.
Lyndi was diagnosed when she was 14. Since that time, she and her mother
have spent three Christmases, three New Year's Days and countless other
days at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
The medications Lyndi has taken to control the Crohn's and subsequent pain
have negatively impacted her heart, kidneys and liver. Lyndi has also had
her colon and rectum removed. The medications to control the pain keep
Lyndi sedated and unable to function. One of her medications, Dilaudid, is
a strong opiate that can be addictive.
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U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say officers in Cincinnati
intercepted more than 50 pounds of methamphetamine that was concealed
inside a statue of a snail.
Authorities say the package, which came from Mexico and was labeled
"Mexican stone crafts," contained a decorative snail statue that exhibited
"interior anomalies" during an X-ray inspection on Dec. 30.
Customs officers drilled a hole into the statue and found 53 pounds of a
white crystalline powder that tested positive for meth.
Richard Gillespie, CBP's Cincinnati Port Director, says the agency's
officers excel at preventing dangerous packages from reaching innocent
The snail's intended destination was Lawrenceville, Georgia.
'It's A Mess.'
Nicholasville experienced a surge in heroin overdoses Monday and Tuesday,
said Aaron Stamper, chief of Jessamine County Emergency Services.
"It's a mess right now," Stamper said shortly before 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"We've had five overdoses in the last eight hours, and I think in the last
24 hours, we've had nine overdoses."
There was one suspected drug overdose death Saturday, but the overdoses
that happened Monday and Tuesday did not result in death, said Jessamine
County Coroner Mike Hughes.
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Backers of marijuana legalization on Monday stepped up their pressure on
the U.S. Senate to block the confirmation of Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff
Sessions as the next attorney general.
Sessions, a staunch opponent of legalization, angered proponents in April
when he called pot "dangerous" and said that "good people don't smoke
Marijuana backers want the issue aired Tuesday when the Senate Judiciary
Committee begins Sessions' confirmation hearing.
"It's a national thing: This hearing is make or break for the marijuana
folks," said Adam Eidinger, who heads a pro-legalization group in
Washington, D.C., called DCMJ.
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Growing up, Evan Blessett was as an avid soccer player and honor roll
student. He loved skateboarding and played the drums later in his teen
But one role that his dad, Doug, never thought his son would play was one
of a recovering drug addict.
"The thing that gets me is he got past us," Doug Blessett said about his
29-year-old son, who is a counselor at The Healing Place, an addiction
recovery center in Louisville. "When my son went through this, I took it
personally. You think you would see it, and I didn't."
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Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali didn't back down from a fight and also stood
up for underdogs. So it's fitting that his center will house this year's
annual event focused on battling drug addiction.
Recovery from heroin and other drug addiction can take years and many
stints in rehab, but it is possible - the central message of hope is the
theme of Recovery Rally 2016, a free event from noon-2:30 p.m., Saturday
at the Muhammad Ali Center, 144 N. 6th St.
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Dr. James Patrick Murphy, a nationally-recognized pain medicine
specialist, balances guidelines meant to lessen the risks of addiction
with a patient's need for pain relief, examines Marta D. Thomas of Old
Louisville. Thomas is a volunteer at Kosair Pediatric Convalescent Center
and receives radiofrequency lesioning (which melts the covers off nerves
so they don't transmit pain for 4-6 months.) 27 October 2016(Photo: David
R. Lutman/Special to The C)
Cattle farmer Marquis Smith is in pain, but he doesn't get sick leave.
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