Kentucky House Judiciary Committee advances medical cannabis bill!
Seriously ill Kentuckians have been waiting long enough — urge your state legislators to support HB 136!
Today, Kentucky’s House Judiciary Committee voted 17-1 to pass HB 136, a bill that would legalize cannabis for medical use. Next the bill will proceed to the full House, where it is expected to receive a vote soon.
Fifty-one of Kentucky’s 100 state representatives are cosponsors of HB 136, and Gov. Andy Beshear has indicated that he strongly supports medical cannabis.
However, some Senate leaders remain opposed, so the challenge for advocates will be getting a bill through both chambers of the legislature and to the governor’s desk.
It’s critical that legislators hear from their constituents who support medical cannabis. After you write your legislators, please share this message with your friends and family.
PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT HB136 IS A NON SMOKABLE NON GROWABLE BILL! IT IS STRICTLY FOR MEDICAL CONSUMPTION ONLY!
“to prohibit smoking of medicinal marijuana;”
“to establish limits on the THC content of medicinal marijuana that can be produced or sold in the state”
“to exempt certain records and information from the disclosure under the Kentucky Open Records Act;”
“to permit an employer to restrict the possession and use of medicinal marijuana by an employee;”
Sen. Perry Clark introduced SB105 on January 22, 2020 which DOES include adult use, small amounts of growing for personal use as well. Please view the Bill at this link!
“to allow for possession, growth, use, processing, purchasing, transfer, and consumption of cannabis;”
“to establish provisions for personal cultivation;”
“to establish provisions for palliative or therapeutic use of cannabis by persons under the age of 21;”
Posted: 10/24/2014 10:47 am EDT
This is the second part of a two-part series. Read part one here.
Americans spent approximately $100 billion a year on illegal drugs between 2000 and 2010, according to a 2012 report published by the RAND corporation. Part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s job, alongside several other law enforcement agencies, is to make that process more difficult at home, where harsh federal drug laws have ensured that such transactions are conducted — until recently, in some states — entirely on the black market. The DEA also works to cut off imported illicit drugs at the source, which means mounting operations around the world to tackle a global drug trade that generates $322 billion annually, according to UN estimates.
It’s a gargantuan task. Critics of the war on drugs say it’s an impossible one. Over 40 years, the U.S. has spent more than $1 trillion in the fight. Thousands of people on both sides of the battle have lost their lives. In the end, it’s led only to cheaper, higher quality drugs at home and abroad, and by most accounts, little change in the number of people using them. While the momentum may finally be shifting away from an enforcement-first national drug policy and toward prevention and treatment, aggressive enforcement of the nation’s drug laws doesn’t appear to be going anywhere just yet.
Until the nation drastically rethinks its approach on drugs, the DEA will continue to play an integral part in the war against them, and that sometimes means resorting to controversial tactics. Below, find out how domestic spying, broken promises and a 14-year-old from Detroit have all played a part in that seemingly endless struggle.
The DEA has been spying on U.S. citizens with a surveillance program more expansive than the NSA’s.
Just months after Edward Snowden unmasked the National Security Agency’s massive domestic spying program, The New York Times broke news of the Hemisphere Project, which pairs experts from telecommunications giant AT&T with federal and local anti-drug officials, including DEA agents. It gives law enforcement officials access to "every call that passes through an AT&T switch — not just those made by AT&T customers — and includes calls dating back 26 years," according to the Times report. That’s around 4 billion call records every day, each logged with information on the location of callers. The official government slideshow describing the program suggested it had been helpful in tracking drug dealers who frequently change phones, or use disposable "burner" phones.
The White House attempted to allay privacy concerns about the Hemisphere Project last year, noting that AT&T stores the collected data, unlike in the NSA’s program, in which data is turned over to the government. Federal officials can quickly access the records, however, often within an hour of a subpoena.
The ACLU criticized the apparent secrecy of the program, which had been in existence for six years before being revealed by the Times in 2013. The organization suggested that blanket surveillance and close federal involvement could represent a violation of the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable search and seizure.
"Hemisphere is deeply troubling, not only because the government is amassing detailed, comprehensive information about people who’ve done nothing wrong, but also because the government has deliberately kept Hemisphere secret, even from criminal defendants who’ve been subjected to the program," wrote ACLU attorney Linda Lye.
And the DEA instructs agents not to tell the truth about sources of key intelligence.
A Reuters report, also from 2013, detailed how the DEA’s Special Operations Division, or SOD, teaches agents to cover up vital tips that come from the department. A DEA document obtained by Reuters shows that federal agents are trained in "parallel construction," in which essential intelligence obtained SOD wiretaps, informants or other surveillance methods can be concealed by crediting it to another source.
An unnamed former federal agent who received tips from the SOD gave an example of how the process worked: "You’d be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.’ And so we’d alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it," the agent said.
If an arrest was made, agents were instructed to hide the fact that the initial tip had come from SOD, and instead use "normal investigative techniques to recreate the information." This process is sometimes used to hide case details from prosecutors and judges, as well as defense attorneys. Several lawyers told Reuters that the practice could jeopardize a defendant’s constitutional right to fair trial and cover up evidence that might otherwise be inadmissible.
DEA officials defended the technique, however, calling it a common law enforcement tool that allows the SOD to crack high-profile cases.
The DEA has confidential informants who have made it a lifetime career.
Confidential informants — sometimes referred to as "snitches" — are crucial assets in the DEA’s war on drugs. In 2005, the agency told the Justice Department it has around 4,000 of these sources actively working for it at any given time. Many of these informants are recruited after being caught for drug crimes themselves, and are offered a chance to work for the DEA as a way to earn a reduced sentence. Others have made a full-time profession out of informing, a controversial practice in itself, as some critics suggest it encourages longtime informants to go after and potentially entrap low-level dealers rather than higher profile targets.
Informants can make tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars helping the government prosecute and convict drug dealers, with payment often contingent on how much money is seized in an eventual bust. That’s how Andrew Chambers Jr. once made a name for himself as "the highest-paid snitch in DEA history," with a 16-yea
r career as a federal informant between 1984 and 2000, during which time he reportedly netted as much as $4 million in government money, nearly half of it from the DEA. A report earlier this year in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette found that Chambers was only one of the agency’s million-dollar informants.
Chambers, seen in a YouTube video from the Speakers Agency.
The "highest-paid snitch in DEA history" was also found to have lied repeatedly in testimony. Despite his reputation, he recently resumed work with the DEA.
Chambers’ work with the DEA halted in 2000, after a review of testimony revealed he’d committed perjury in at least 16 cases, when he lied on the witness stand about his credentials. Agents who’d worked closely with Chambers during the time, however — including Michele Leonhart, who became DEA administrator in 2010 — spoke highly of him despite the criticism that made him a national story. Around the time of Leonhart’s confirmation, the DEA reactivated Chambers as an informant.
While his current role with the DEA is unclear, legal professionals have expressed concerns beyond Chambers’ record of perjury. Defense attorneys told the Arizona Republic that he regularly failed to record introductory meetings, which left open the possibility that he was entrapping suspects and compromising cases.
Shortly after news broke that Chambers had resumed working with the DEA, a case in which he served as the primary informant fell apart and federal prosecutors asked for the charges to be dismissed.
Confidential informants are given so much free rein that one top DEA source actually had his own sub-network of informants.
While the DEA has released information about the general size of the program and the basic guidelines under which it operates, less is known about exactly how — and to what extent — the agency controls its informants.
The perils of this ambiguity were exposed in 2004, when it was revealed that a star DEA informant was actually paying his own sub-informants to help him set up drug deals. In one case, in which this arrangement wasn’t initially revealed to defense attorneys, a sub-informant made a number of calls to a defendant who would later be facing charges for trafficking methamphetamines. The calls weren’t recorded, however, which opened up the possibility that the alleged meth trafficker had actually been pressured to go through with the deal that led to his arrest. A judge determined that this raised the possibility of entrapment and ordered federal prosecutors to release a full list of the cases in which the informant and sub-informant had collaborated. When the government refused, the judge threw out the indictment and freed the defendant, writing that the DEA had tried to "shield itself from accountability by hiring someone outside of law enforcement who is free to violate citizens’ rights."
In a ruling explaining her decision, the judge also blasted the DEA, suggesting it was "highly unlikely" that it was unaware of the informant’s sub-contractors. In an earlier case, the informant had testified that he’d never told his DEA handlers about his network, and that they’d never asked.
The DEA allows informants to break the law, but have no records as to how often it happens.
Federal agencies came under fire in 2012 in the wake of the Fast and Furious gun-walking scandal for not adequately tracking instances in which they authorize informants to commit crimes in the line of government duty. In the case of Fast and Furious, gun dealers working with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sold 2,000 weapons to Mexican cartels, but failed to have them traced. In response to a USA Today report, both the ATF and DEA claimed they were "in compliance" with rules determining when they could advise their informants to break the law.
Both agencies also acknowledged that they didn’t track how frequently they granted such permission.
Some congressional representatives have called for more accountability among federal agencies with regard to informants. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) sponsored an unsuccessful bill in 2013 that would have required federal agencies to report to lawmakers whenever an informant commits a serious crime, with or without authorization.
One of America’s most notorious terrorists once served as a DEA informant.
In 2013, David Coleman Headley, an American of Pakistani descent, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for plotting the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which killed at least 164 people and wounded hundreds more. Government officials with knowledge of Headley’s past spoke of a man who had grown increasingly radicalized in the years leading up to the attack, but subsequent reporting also followed up on his work as a confidential informant for the DEA between 1997 and 2005, according to sources.
The DEA, which sent Headley on a number of trips to gather intelligence on heroin traffickers in Pakistan, has denied that he was working officially with the agency as late as 2005, or at any time when he was receiving training at militant camps in the region.
An Indian soldier takes cover as the Taj Mahal hotel burns during gun battle between Indian military and militants in Mumbai, India. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)
Another informant allegedly shot and killed a man who confronted him for molesting his child.
Sometimes informants get caught doing unauthorized dirty deeds while on the agency’s payroll. In Albuquerque, the DEA is facing a lawsuit claiming it was negligent in supervising an informant who allegedly shot and killed another man earlier this year. The informant has been charged in the man’s death, as well as with criminal sexual penetration of a child under 13 and a host of other charges. The victim had allegedly confronted the informant over the sexual assault of his son when he was shot. The suit is seeking $50 million in damages, alleging that the informant had prior felony convictions and a history of violence and should not have been recruited by the DEA.
The DEA strung one informant along for 20 years with the promise of citizenship. She still hasn’t received it.
Norma was just 19 years old, she became a confidential informant for the DEA. She told her story to Yolanda Gonzalez Gomez as part of a partnership between New America Media and HuffPost Voces. Norma explained how desperation and the promise of citizenship led her to sign up for a commitment she knew little about. Over the course of 20 years, Norma says she repeatedly put her life on the line for the DEA, and in return, she got paid, although she said agents sometimes refused to give her the money she was owed. Citizenship, however, never came, and now Norma fears she’ll be deported and sent back to Mexico, where she hasn’t lived since she was 5 years old. She also said she believes her life would be in danger there as a result of her work for the DEA.
Norma is an alias — she asked that her real name be withheld — but immigration attorney Jodi Goodwin knows stories like hers are not uncommon. "Federal government agencies use and abuse undocumented confidential informants for years, trample their rights with impunity, promise them permanent residency and never deliver on it," she told Gomez. "And they know they don’t have to deliver on it. But they keep pressuring them with that promise so they will keep cooperating."
The DEA has also been accused of using other exploitative means to recruit assets.
In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, a New Mexico man and former DEA informant alleged that the agency had recruited him by targeting his history of substance abuse. An attorney representing 38-year-old Aaron Romero claimed that her client had recently beaten a crack cocaine addiction in 2011, when a DEA-sponsored informant offered him the opportunity to sell drugs — provided to him by the U.S. government — and to feed the agency information on other drug dealers. His payment, Romero’s attorney alleged, came in the form of crack for personal use. Romero relapsed, his attorney said, and was eventually arrested on federal counts of distributing crack cocaine near a school, charges that were ultimately dropped after he spent a number of months in jail.
The DEA once turned a teenager into a drug kingpin so he could act as an informant.
In the 1980s, federal agents with the DEA and FBI plucked 14-year-old Richard Wershe from his Detroit high school and began crafting a new identity for him as a drug kingpin. Over the next few years, the teenage Wershe would live a double life, one as the legend who’d later be known as White Boy Rick, one of the most notorious drug lords in city, and the other as a valuable informant for the DEA and other law enforcement agencies.
"I was just a kid when the agents pulled me out of high school in the ninth grade and had me out to 3 in the morning every night," Wershe told The Fix in 2013. "They gave me a fake ID when I was 15 that said I was 21 so I could travel to Vegas and to Miami to do drug deals."
With intelligence provided by Wershe, authorities were able to make a series of high-profile arrests, disrupting Detroit’s rampant drug trade and the police corruption that had grown alongside it.
But in 1988, then 17 and no longer an informant, Wershe was pulled over and busted for work in the same drug business as the one to which the DEA had introduced him. The 17 pounds of cocaine found in his car resulted in a life sentence. He’s the only convict still behind bars in Michigan to receive a life sentence as a minor under the state’s now-repealed "650-lifer" law. Many of the targets whom Wershe helped put in jail have long since been released.
The DEA did treat one informant very nicely, giving him nearly $900,000 for information it could have gotten for free.
The Associated Press reported in August that the DEA had paid an Amtrak secretary $854,460 over nearly 20 years as an informant to pass confidential information about passenger reservations. But as the AP reported, Amtrak police are already part of an anti-drug task force that includes the DEA, and would have given the agency that information free of charge.
We live in the only country in the world where a child can be sentenced to be in prison until they die.
What’s worse is that it’s not even rare — more than 2,500 people who were sentenced as kids will spend the rest of their lives in prison.
Juwan is one of them. He was a skinny 16-year-old kid when he was arrested after he saw a companion kill a pizza deliveryman. The shooter was never convicted, but because Juwan was present and had a gun, he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Without the possibility of parole, Juwan will never have a second chance for rehabilitation.
Just one year before Juwan was sentenced, the Supreme Court decided that mandatory juvenile life without parole was unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment.
The problem is — the decision left gaping loopholes and didn’t ban the sentence outright, meaning that Juwan and other children became victims of poor timing and inadequate policy implementation. While six states have moved to ban the practice, this barbaric punishment is still perfectly legal in 44 states.
But the Department of Justice has the power to close some of these loopholes and set the standard on the federal level. By providing policy guidelines for U.S. attorneys, the DOJ can ensure that judges are empowered to use discretion and give appropriate sentences based on unique circumstances.
Attorney General Eric Holder has already endorsed proposals that limit life without parole sentences for non-violent drug offenders. If he hears from thousands of us who support criminal justice reform, he can provide the tools needed to limit juvenile life without parole sentences.
It’s time that we give kids like Juwan a second chance at life.
COLUMBUS — The Ohio Highway Patrol joined forces Sept. 27-29 with state police forces in Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Indiana in an effort to combat drug trafficking through a marijuana interdiction and eradication enforcement blitz.
This successful enforcement effort netted 32 felony and 152 misdemeanor marijuana-related drug arrests. The agencies also seized more than 94,000 grams of marijuana and a total of 14,126 marijuana plants.
"Successful multi-agency enforcement efforts, like the one this past weekend, illustrate the collective power of making our roadways and communities safer for everyone," said Col. John Born, Ohio Highway Patrol superintendent.
During one traffic stop, an Ohio Highway Patrol trooper stopped a 2012 Ford Fusion for a turn-signal violation on Interstate 75 and U.S. 68 at 2:20 a.m. Sept. 27.
Troopers observed criminal indicators and a Hancock County drug-sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. A probable-cause search revealed half a pound of hydroponic marijuana in the vehicle’s trunk, concealed inside of a light fixture box. Troopers also located drug paraphernalia and prescription pills.
This multi-agency enforcement effort is part of the Six State Trooper Project aimed at providing combined and coordinated law enforcement and security services in the areas of highway safety, criminal patrol and intelligence sharing.
The patrol continues to urge motorists to call 677 to report impaired drivers or drug activity.
By ASA, Fri, September 28, 2012
Justice Department uses prosecutorial discretion to seek decades in prison for legal Michigan cultivators
Detroit, MI — Five medical marijuana patients and caregivers will be sentenced in federal court next week, highlighting the human cost of the federal government’s intolerance for state medical marijuana laws.
Two medical marijuana caregivers from Monroe County who were convicted earlier this year in federal court will be sentenced at 3pm Monday, October 1st before U.S. District Court Judge David M. Lawson (231 W. Lafayette Blvd, Detroit). Gerald Lee Duval Jr., 52, and his son, Jeremy Duval, 30, were raided by Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents in 2011 and charged with felony cultivation, maintaining a place to cultivate marijuana, and conspiracy to distribute. In April, the Duvals were convicted at trial, the expected result of federal laws that prohibit any medical defense or reference to state law in front of juries.
"The Duvals’ case is another tragedy from President Obama’s war on medical marijuana," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group. "This type of enforcement is completely discretionary, unnecessary and far from the public health approach that medical marijuana patients deserve." The Duvals face decades in prison despite no evidence of state law violations.
Days later, three more medical marijuana patients and caregivers will be sentenced in federal court in Michigan. Around the same time federal agents were raiding the Duvals, officers with the Central Michigan Enforcement Team (CMET) and the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department raided the Austin Township home and other property of John Marcinkewciz, 42, and Shelley Waldron, 42. Marcinkewciz, Waldron and Jaycob Montague, 26, were originally charged under state law with cultivation and conspiracy to cultivate, but prosecutors soon turned their cases over to the federal Justice Department, where the three had no chance of defending themselves against federal law. Marcinkewciz, Waldron and Montague all subsequently took plea bargains in May.
Waldron and Montague are scheduled to be sentenced at 8:45am on October 4th before Judge Robert Bell in U.S. District Court at 110 Michigan Street NW, Grand Rapids. Marcinkewciz is scheduled to be sentenced at 8:45am on October 5th before the same judge. In spite of the plea bargains, the three medical marijuana providers still face decades in prison.
"The federal raids and prosecutions in Michigan are unfortunately only an example of the broader aggressive campaign by the Obama Administration to undermine state medical marijuana laws," continued Sherer. As with the Duval raid, DEA agents commonly burst onto the scene wearing full body armor and wielding machine guns in a clear attempt to intimidate. Despite claims by the president that he was "not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws," Obama’s Justice Department has conducted more than 200 SWAT-style raids and indicted well over 70 medical marijuana patients and providers since he took office.
A federal lawsuit to force the DEA to reclassify marijuana for medical use will be heard by the D.C. Circuit on October 16th. The case Americans for Safe Access v. DEA is bringing the science of medical marijuana into federal court for the first time in nearly 20 years. If marijuana were reclassified, the five people being sentenced in Michigan would be entitled to a medical defense, a right they are now denied.
The man was riding a horse.
Danny Reynolds was riding his horse on a rural road near his house about 8 miles south of Nicholasville in Jessamine County.
Sheriff’s deputies told the 55-year-old to get down from his horse. They said he staggered while dismounting the animal. Reynolds said he staggered because he was severely
diabetic and feeling light-headed.
Officials said tests showed Reynolds’ blood-alcohol level was two time over the legal limit. The arresting officer also found rolling papers and marijuana in his pockets.
Reynolds told CBS affiliate WKYT he drank a couple beers to celebrate his son’s birthday, but did not think he was drunk. He said he normally doesn’t drink.
According to the arrest report, "(Reynolds) had several beers in his saddle bag and a mason jar which he identified as moonshine."
Chief Deputy Allen Peel admitted it was a unique case, but the deputies were concerned about Reynolds’ safety.
"He could have swerved into a car, causing danger to himself and others," said Peel.
Reynolds was charged with operating a non-motor vehicle under the influence, possession of marijuana and drug possession.
"I really didn’t mean to cause any harm," Reynolds said. "I definitely learned my lesson and I hope other riders pay attention."
Similar cases have happened in Tennessee. A woman was arrested in 2009 while riding a horse in the Shelbyville Christmas parade. She was charged with public
By Alex Dobuzinskis
LOS ANGELES, Sept 7 (Reuters) – Nine former heads of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration urged Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday to take a stand against possible legalization of recreational marijuana in three western states, saying silence would convey acceptance.
The former officials said in a letter sent on Friday that legalization would pose a direct conflict with federal law, indicating there would be a clash between the states and the federal government on the issue.
Voters in Colorado, Washington state and Oregon are due to decide in November whether to legalize marijuana for recreational use and to regulate and tax its sale.
"To continue to remain silent conveys to the American public and the global community a tacit acceptance of these dangerous initiatives," they said in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters. A spokeswoman for Holder declined to comment on the letter.
The letter is similar to one they sent Holder in 2010 urging him to oppose a recreational pot legalization ballot measure in California. It was defeated with 53.5 percent of voters rejecting it.
Holder opposed the California measure before the vote, warning that U.S. officials would enforce federal laws against marijuana in California despite any state legalization.
Kevin Sabet, a former senior adviser on marijuana issues to President Barack Obama’s administration, said he would not be surprised if Holder took that same position again.
"Essentially, a state vote in favor of legalization is a moot point since federal laws would be, in (Holder’s) own words (from 2010), ‘vigorously enforced,’" Sabet said. "I can’t imagine a scenario where the Feds would sit back and do nothing."
Obama administration officials have until now said little about the upcoming ballot measures, although the federal government has cracked down on medical cannabis dispensaries in several states by raiding them and threatening legal action.
In recent years polls have shown growing national support for decriminalizing marijuana. In May, an Angus Reid survey showed 52 percent of those polled expressed support for legalizing pot. The poll of 1,017 respondents had a margin of error of 3.1 percent.
Gallup saw support hit 50 percent last year, the highest number the organization had ever measured on the question.
In the swing state of Colorado, the marijuana measure with its potential to bring out young voters is seen as potentially influencing votes for president. Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling said earlier this year that marijuana "could be a difference maker" in the state.
The nine signatories to Friday’s letter included John Bartels, who ran the DEA from 1973 to 1975, and Karen Tandy, who was in charge from 2003 to 2007.
Tom Constantine, who was in charge of the DEA from 1994 to 1999 and also signed the letter, said the former administrators hoped it would send a message to voters and alter the public debate.
He said the letter had been sent so "voters would know in all fairness that no matter what they vote on in Colorado or wherever it is, that federal law still prevails."
In response to a 2011 petition to legalize and regulate marijuana, Obama administration drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said at that time that federal officials were concerned about the drug because it was "associated with addiction, respiratory disease and cognitive impairment."
Legalization advocates say the decades-old drug war in the United States has failed, and they compare laws against marijuana to the prohibition of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933. They argue that society would be better served if marijuana could be taxed and regulated.
While no U.S. state allows recreational use of marijuana, 17 states and the District of Columbia permit its use in medicine.
"Anyone who is objective at all knows that current marijuana policy in this country is a complete disaster, with massive arrests, wasted resources, and violence in the U.S. and especially in Mexico," said Jill Harris, managing director of strategic initiatives for Drug Policy Action, which has poured money into legalization campaigns.
(Reporting By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and David Brunnstrom)