Medical marijuana


It’s telling that state Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, expects his crusade to legalize medicinal marijuana will become a two-time loser in the next General Assembly. A previous bill failed in this year’s session.

Clark’s latest attempt is called the Gatewood Galbraith Memorial Medicinal Marijuana Act, and would allow patients suffering from various afflictions to get prescriptions for the now-prohibited drug, said to relieve myriad ills. Galbraith, who died last year from chronic emphysema, had lots of worthy thoughts on many topics not even remotely connected to the cannabis plant but never came close to winning one of his perennial gubernatorial races. His early fixation on legalizing pot forever typecast him as a fringe contender, drawing little support except from a minority of voters who shared his core beliefs. Clark acknowledged in a discussion of his proposed legislation earlier this month that it will be “very, very difficult” to get the necessary votes to pass it. That’s undoubtedly an understatement.

The senator revealed he sometimes smokes marijuana for relief from chronic back pain and said he’ll apply for a legal permit if his measure passes.

One problem with the medicinal marijuana is that Kentuckians, already ambivalent about some of the commonwealth’s legendary consumables, probably aren’t prepared to put the seal of approval on something you can be arrested for possessing or using, medicinally or otherwise. Marijuana, subject of the cult film “Reefer Madness” in the 1950s, came into more general use during the social revolution of the following decade. To believers, it’s a relatively benign substance that makes users mellow, unlike violence-inducing alcohol.

However, perceptions of harmlessness can be misleading. When the so-called “Miami Cannibal” allegedly attacked a man and literally chewed off his face in May, some suspected the assailant was under the influence of “bath salts,” a synthetic drug, or some hard narcotic. But the Huffington Post reported tests found no such substance in his system. Instead they detected traces of marijuana. The suspect had previously been diagnosed with schizophrenia, believed to be aggravated by pot use.

If medicinal marijuana is ever approved in Kentucky, there will need to be tight restrictions to ensure users don’t exploit the law for recreational purposes, as drinkers did during the Prohibition era with prescriptions written to purchase booze from drug stores.

Smoking, the delivery method by which the typical marijuana user absorbs the leaf’s purported benefits, is problematic. Frankfort, Franklin County and many other communities in this tobacco-growing state decided after long deliberation that smoking should be prohibited in public buildings. Marijuana smoke contains some of the same compounds as tobacco smoke.

Any pharmaceutical marijuana ought to be processed into a form that’s taken by a means other than inhalation. And it should be administered under a physician’s supervision – no self-medicating.

New medicines have to pass rigorous safety testing prior to going on the market. Legalized marijuana should be subject to no less scrutiny – a long time before the first prescriptions get written.

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  • It is sad but understandable, the perpetuation of misinformation concerning marijuana.Misinformation concerning marijuana has been around for decades. First, I have never heard a proponent of marijuana say it was harmless. Compared to the legal recreational drugs available, alcohol and tobacco, it is less harmful. Prohibition did not work for alcohol and the goverment reversed itself fairly quickly. Marijuana prohibition has been in place for approx. eighty years and has been an abysmal failure.The money spent to enforce the prohibition has been wasted. Foreign criminal cartels are making close to fifty percent of theirs profits from marijauna. A good share of it grown on state and federal lands in our own country. Legalization would start to dry up their revenue streams in a very short time frame. Marijauna has been proven to have medically useful qualities. It's side affects are much less harmful than ones associated with the top ten prescribed drugs on the market today. (compare them youselves). There really hasn't been any rational and or logical reasons put forth by the anti-marijuana crowd for the continuation of our prohibition poliices. Countries who have decriminalized or who allow it's use have seen a decline in the actual numbers of users. It's time to stop wasting our precious resources on a failed policies.

  • Jonathan Caulkins claims that “The effects will be enormous" for legalizing marijuana. That is absurd. The only thing that making marijuana illegal has done was to get the criminal element involved in its production and sale. Any DEA agent will tell you that the negative externalities of the criminal element, with its associated violence and corruption, is unprecedented. It was the same thing for alcohol, a radically more toxic and dangerous drug than marijuana. Prohibition of alcohol created the Mafia, fer' THAT effect was enormous! Nobody that really wants to use marijuana for whatever reason is thwarted by the current price. Making sick people have to resort to the black market to obtain their medicine, and pay black market prices to boot, is unconscionable. Ignore the lessons of the past at your own peril.

  • From todays LA Times A panel of experts has said that the legalization of marijuana might encourage new users as prices are driven down. (Karen Tapia / Los Angeles Times ) By Ian Duncan July 17, 2012, 12:29 p.m. WASHINGTON -- Legalizing marijuana in even a single state could drive down prices dramatically across the country, encouraging more people to smoke the drug, a panel of experts said at a briefing Tuesday. Last week, Oregon became the third state that will vote this November on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana, joining Colorado and Washington. “Legalization is unprecedented – not even the Netherlands has done it – it is entirely possible it will happen this year,” said Jonathan Caulkins, co-author of "Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know." “The effects will be enormous,” said Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, during an event at the American Enterprise Institute. The Obama administration opposes legalizing marijuana and has taken action to shut down some medical marijuana dispensaries in California and Colorado. Caulkins said one of the main reasons for outlawing the drug is to make it riskier to produce and sell, driving up prices and curbing use. A price collapse following legalization in some states could undermine marijuana laws nationally, the experts warned. Caulkins said Colorado’s proposition would allow residents to obtain a grower’s license fairly easily, making the state a good home for exporters of marijuana. “They would be able to provide marijuana to New York state markets at one quarter of the current price,” he said, predicting similar price declines in other states. Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy at UCLA, said his advice to federal officials would be “to sit down with the governor of the state and say, 'Look, we can make your life completely miserable -- and we will - unless you figure out a way to avoid the exports.” One option would be to impose strict limits on how much of the drug retailers could sell to each customer. Washington’s proposal would present authorities with a different problem. The state is proposing to create a strong system of regulations with the aim of propping up prices. Caulkins said the federal government could strike down the regulations but would leave a free-for-all behind. “The federal government will face some really difficult choices where actions are like double-edged swords,” Caulkins said.

  • Marketing_Director...that response stands right up there with the author of this piece in misinformation and insulting comments with no basis in fact...It's you and those like you who are the problem...

  • I think everyone should just STOP, sit back, roll ya big fatty and CHILL MAN!!!

  • Contrary to the Marketing Director's applause lines, this political cartoon is a cheap shot at the late Mr. Galbraith, who was always much more informed and eloquent in his dissertations on the issues than any of his gubernatorial opponents, regardless of their political party affiliations. To portray him as some scatterbrain imbecile is as intellectually dishonest as it is nefarious in its intent. Shame on you, Mr. Editor. Your disjointed (pun intended) discourse above, which absurdly attempts to make some connection between medical marijuana and the deranged actions of a psychopath known as the "Miami Cannibal" (really, are you serious?), AND the even more obtuse reference to Reefer Madness (ahem, showing your age here), is irrelevant to the substantive issues at hand. Medical marijuana is not just "said to relieve myriad ills', but rather there is a body of peer reviewed scientific evidence that indicates that the substance is a possible treatment for many kinds of cancer. This includes, but is certainly not limited to the a Harvard study released on April 17, 2007, which shows that the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread! This and other scientific evidence has been vetted by 17 states and the District of Columbia during their legislative deliberations. This isn't just some urban legend being spread by stoners on the internet, as you seem to imply. Also, one word: vaporizer. If you fail to do your homework before you start editorializing about things that you obviously know little about, then your points are no more relevant than the Marketing Director's.

  • By the way as I mention so frequently,......if Medical Pot is the answer, why is California still broke? If pot was the cure,...why is Gatewood dead? He smoked more dope than Hunter S. Thompson. Oh yeah because cases of Emphysema and COPD rise by 40% with the use of Marijuana, as it has ten times the carcinogens as cigarette smoke. Cocaine comes from a plant, Heroin is derived from a plant, Hashish is concentrated from Pot.....where does it stop.

  • Outstanding article and an awesome work of art!

  • "Any pharmaceutical marijuana ought to be processed into a form that’s taken by a means other than inhalation. And it should be administered under a physician’s supervision – no self-medicating." Are you kidding? This is a plant that, among other things, is a natural pain killer and people can grow it themselves. And why restrict self-medicating? Is it so that big pharma, HMO's, the medical industry, etc. can make massive profits? NOTHING GOOD has ever come from the industrialization of nature. Or do you suppose that we shouldn't grow our own food too? Your article is a joke and you're an automaton of a journalist. Send your resume (and your above drivel) to one of the supermarket tabloids as you're more suited to that kind of writing. Better yet, just find another line of work.

  • The antiquated opinion of this newspaper doesn't surprise. The State Journal never was nor will it ever be on the cutting edge of reporting on human issues. Being bold is not in their forte. While on the subject, our KY Law Enforcement Officials have admitted many times in the past months they can not adapt to the changing times of society. They state they need a black and white world (not talking skin color) were it's makes it easy for them to distinguish right from wrong. They also openly state they can't handle it despite other state's law enforcement officials adjusting, learning and adapting. Rather than trying to become better at their jobs, they want to restrict human behavior because their not as smart as law enforcement officers in other states and the number of those states are growing yearly. My point is when it comes to the legalization of medical marijuana, I'm tired of the wining by law enforcement. They are not oncologist. Mine told me that smoking pot will help ease some of the numerous, wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy, side effects of aggressive chemo. Who are you going to trust and believe what works? Cops, self serving legislators, old time newspaper editors or a highly educated, highly trained doctor that has worked in a cancer center for years. I trusted my life with my oncologist and lived.

  • @kevin yes I saw it...

  • This article is so offensive .The writer knows nothing about medical cannabis the cartoon reminds me of so many pain killers that get forced down the throats of so many people with illnesses that cannabis would re leave .And as for senator Clark thanks for standing up for the hurting . Marijuana has never killed anyone while many have died by pain killers the dr gives us. I do not smoke weed but I think it should be available for medical proposes and the senator should be re elected .

  • @ moore_r: Did you see the stunt that David Bronner pulled in front of the white house? It will be interesting to see if they press charges. David is brave and rich enough to go to trial, which should frighten the prosecution. Also, did you know that industrial hemp research is now legal in Colorado (House Bill 12-1099) Medicinal marijuana is the smokescreen for legalizing non-drug hemp.

  • @ Steve Fry...The suppling the medical was hypothetical, but if we was able to, it would be close to that amount. Bolder Colorodo made 2.2 million dollars in taxes,just on the dispensories. Now if Ky was suppling those despensories for Bolder Colorado, the amout that Ky would receive would be more than the taxes collected. Now you add all the cities of Colorodo. Then you add the large cities of California. Then you add all the cities of the other 16 states and D.C., that all have medical marijuana laws. Give me your guess on that amount if Kentucky was able to do so. Also if marijuana was legal to grow, then hemp would also be available to grow. Canada exports billions of dollars of raw hemp every year. The U.S. receives over 75% of those exports. If Ky was suppling hemp, then the purchase from Cannada would not be a major supplier of hemp for the U.S.. Also if Ky was cultivating hemp, there would be factories locate here, for the easy access to hemp. My point with my statement before was, all of Ky should get behind any pro Cannabis efforts, nomatter what step or level it is. Because our childrens future will be affected by what we do today. Medical Marijuana is a very important issue. Some may not see that as I do. But all of Kentucky understands that our ecconomic situation for the future needs alot of help, as so does most of the Country. I know Cannabis prohibition hurts Ky's ecconomy. Ky was the largest supplier here in the .U.S., when it was not prohibited. Thanks for your feed back, but next time do your reaserch as I have. That way you will be more informed.

  • @Steve_Fry as you well know spell check can let you down at times.

  • I tried saying something as tame as *********** once and it censored me. :o)

  • moore_r: Good comments, but I bet you meant to say 'eliminate' in stead of 'illuminate'. :o) And kevin, you're right, I should have said 'legalize' instead of 'decriminalize.'

  • ****

  • LOL @ Phil... Guess what? You can't say ********* or ******** either :oD

  • You can't say ****

  • @PhilDeBowl 63 myself and I feel as you do!

  • @Kevin you are preaching to the choir. Just about everyone who is an advocate for legalization and medicinal cannabis knows enough about the plant to write an entire encyclopedia about it but this not about industrial hemp, which by the way make a great shirt, I have one in my closet from when I ran Gatewood's campaign in Louisville in 91. I've eaten hemp energy bars, washed my hair with the shampoo, and I even have some old hemp twine around somewhere that we used to make brackets out of. That's all fine and dandy but this is about saving lives with medicinal cannabis. There are some in the pro industrial hemp crowd that have tried to diminish Gatewood's dream of legalizing the whole plant. I would remind them that in 1991, when I ran Gatewood's campaign, no one knew anything more than it made good rope and got you high. We changed all that, we showed Kentucky what this plant could do but some would take it and say they've engineered it so as to almost illuminate THC, the medicinal part of the plant. I would suggest they may something that is not illegal but I wouldn't classify it as hemp. Once we change the classification of cannabis from a schedule 1 narcotic it will open the doors for all of us but right now we're talking about medicinal cannabis and the misinformation that this article is about. Ron Moore Kentucky Veterans for Medical Marijuana.

  • Amazing,not one comment in support of this editorial opinion. Keep the conversation going, inform your friends and family,keep your elected officials feet to the fire,don't vote for anyone who doesn't support the cause. ****, I'm over 67 years old, I never thought I'd be a Grandfather and still have to worry about the government busting me if I choose to enjoy a herb,rediculous. Let's get this done people I would like to know that I left a better place for my Grandchildren before I shuffle out of this dimension.

  • @ Steve_Fry: Industrial hemp would bring at least $17 million per year in revenue for one processing plant and one paper plant in Kentucky. Industrial hemp would be a great substitute for tobacco, which people are quitting the use of voluntarily, not because of a tobacco prohibition. Is the author of this article for banning tobacco and jailing Kentucky's tobacco farmers since he or she says that the stuff is dangerous? Let's see if the SJ would back that idea....good luck with the angry pitchfork mob. Also, if weed were to be taxed, it would have to be "legalized" not "decriminalized". A minor point, but an important one. Source: Tompson, Eric C., PhD, Berger, Mark C., PhD, and Allen, Steven N., Economic Impacts of Industrial Hemp in Kentucky (Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky, Center for Business and Economic Research, 1998), p. iv.

  • @ Red: Trillions? Every year?? Just for Kentucky??? Methinks YOU are high, also. With that kind of math, we could single-handedly wipe out the national debt in a decade? (For the record, I think it should be decriminalized and taxed, also.)

  • WOW! This article actually made its way by an editor & into this paper. Maybe it was meant for the opinions section because that is all it is, an OPINION! Opinions that are not supported by scientific tests or facts!

  • Wow, even hinting that the cannibal incident had anything to do with the marijuana in that man's system is disturbing. I think the author may need to update his research on THC and marijuana. Is this 2012? Feels like some people are still watching "Reefer Madness".

  • The real issue here is that Ky is being robed of it's greatest resource in this prohibition, at $700 to $1000 per acre for Hemp cultivation. Hemp is being grown in every industial nation except the us. That will soon change, because other s...tates are already working on changing that in their states. The US is importing billions of dollars of raw hemp from Canada every year, that Kentuckians sure could use. Also could you imagine supplying the medical marijuana for the 18 states!!!!WOW, now we are talking into the trillions evey year for KY. Well Ky could change the ecconomy, almost over nght. Lets face it, we grew tobbaco and made alcohol, knowing our product was getting people high and killing by the millions if not the billions. But now we are going to get on our high horse and won't pass marijuana. Marijuana is less addictive than even caffiene. Also noone has EVER died from a maijuana OD. Cannabis(hemp and marijuana) is and always has been, and will forever by Ky's No.1 cash crop. Now is the time to change Ky from being a poor and desprite state to being one of the weathiest in the nation. Kentuckians deserve the good life for once. Everyone is being lead around by their nose's by big corps and your children and grandchildren will be the ones to pay for it!!! This is all facts, that I can provide proof of. Thanks for reading my veiws on this. Comments encouraged ,' )

  • The cartoon you have depicted in this article is very offensive, its obvious that you are not educated on this subject. For more information on the healing properties of marijuana go to

  • This article is disgusting. From the discriminating picture, to you relying on the fear and ignorance of the public to spread this yellow journalism. Cannabis prohibition was founded on greed, deceit and racism. Values we cannot accept and certainly cannot continue to deprive our patient’s legal freedom to a safe therapeutic medicine because of. Why should our patients be forced to choose a path of treatment which will kill healthy cells, induce damage to other organs, and dull their personality with the many side effects of current prescriptions? Why is this article promoting the suffering of our patients? I am sure you are not in a position which gives you the power, the needed education, or respect to insist how cannabis is processed and administered. The federal government still sends federal medical marijuana patients 300 PRE-ROLLED MARIJUANA JOINTS IN THE MAIL EACH MONTH! For these patients to SMOKE! For these patients to even SMOKE while DRIVING! That's how safe this herb is. The time is NOW for KENTUCKY to STAND UP for our RIGHTS! TO IMPROVE OUR PATIENTS QUALITY OF LIFE! TO REMEMBER GATEWOOD GALBRAITH! AND DEMAND OUR LOCAL LEGISLATORS TO SUPPORT THE GATEWOOD GALBRAITH MEDICAL MARIJUANA MEMORIAL ACT OF 2013!

  • This article was not poorly researched. There was no research done at all. First of all, even citing 'Reefer Madness' as a source, as laughable as that is, was from 1936, not the 1950's. Right there invalidates this entire article. Strike one. The cannibal reference is also laughable as traces of 'marijuana metabolites' were detected, not marijuana. Metabolites are NOT psychoactive by any stretch of the imagination and the fact that just traces were found suggests that ingestion could have occurred as much as 30 days (or more) before said incident. Strike two. The final straw is the mention, first of Gatewood's COPD insinuating that his use was the cause, then mentioning marijuana alongside tobacco smoke. While the only shred of truth in the entire article is the fact that smoked marijuana contains combustion products, the proven anti-tumor effects of marijuana of course are left out. There is also the fact that in the newest Journal of The American Medical Association, (that's the AMA Mr or Ms Author), published a 20 year study of 5000 marijuana smokers that revealed regular marijuana smokers (defined by up to a joint a day for seven years) had no discernable impairment in lung activity from non-smokers. Strike three Mr Author, you're out! The thing that gets you thrown out of the game entirely is mentioning the wonderful safeguards of the FDA which allows 'approved' drugs with side effects such as heart attack, stroke, liver failure, some lymphomas and other cancers to which "some deaths may occur. Marijuana has NEVER, EVER caused a death. This is documented by the DEA itself! To which I say Mr Author, You're outta here!

  • You might as well publish that the earth is flat. This article is poorly researched and very biased.

  • I thought journalists are well informed I don't know who wrote this load of "HOG WASH" but it is very obvious that they don't know the first thing about the subject, maybe that's why they didn't sign it I can only assume that the drawing at the top of the page is a self portrait.

  • Does the State-Journal actually pay real money for these terrible cartoons?

  • Where are the links or references to Marijuana causing cancer or emphysema that you so coyly allude to? Where are the statistics of non-violent marijuana users that are senselessly serving long prison sentences (in our FOR-PROFIT prisons)? Where are the references to the countless studies conducted by the most esteemed health professionals in the world that show factual evidence for marijuana's medicinal qualities and applications? Where is EVEN A SINGLE MENTION of the other 17 states (and DC) in the US that have passed medicinal laws (including our neighbors Illinois) and how it has helped patients suffering from a myriad of ailments as well as served as a huge economic stimulus (without any criminal backlash in most cases)? Do you not have GOOGLE at the S-J offices??

  • Worst written and researched article to ever appear in State-Journal. Congrats, you just churned out 500 words of pure BS that an 8th grader would be ashamed to turn into their English teacher.

  • I cartoon is the most offensive part...

  • The inaccuracies begin with the wrong era for "Reefer Madness" by 20 yrs, and continue with repetition of disproven prohibition propaganda. Prior to Prohibition, cannabis & hemp were commonplace and used in many areas of life. People have used cannabis for thousands of years without any of the problems associated with Prohibition. Modern medical research has supported the historical, anecdoctal efficacy & safety of cannabis and derived products.Prohibition benefits select special interest groups such as the pharmaceutical industry, industrial prison industry and petroleum industry - not the citizenry, otherwise known as "We, the people".

  • This article is poorly researched. If the author had bothered to check up on the "Miami Cannibal" story, he would have learned that toxicologists can only test for approximately 40 bath salt compounds. Since there are many more types that on the market, it is very likely that the stuff, if present, would not have shown up on tests. There is also no evidence that there was more than a trace of marijuana in his system, or that it caused his "schizophrenia". MARIJUANA DOES NOT CAUSE CANNIBALISM. No wonder the author references "Reefer Madness", he thought it was a documentary, not a comedy. Everyone knows that the biggest drug problem that we have now is pharmaceuticals. Marijuana users don't smoke the "leaf", they smoke the flowers. The author is ignorant of the fact that many users in medical marijuana states are allowed to purchase edibles and vaporizers that don't cause lung problems. Of course marijuana has passed rigorous safety testing; 5,000 years without a single overdose. Marijuana is safer than aspirin. In contrast, pharma meds kill 20,000 Americans per year. Remember Vioxx? That FDA approved medicine killed 27,000 in 4 years, before it was recalled. As long as we have reefer madness propaganda like this, legitimate patients will have to suffer. Even DEA spokewoman Michele Leonart agrees that medical marijuana might be a good way to reduce pain pill addiction.

  • As the director of Kentucky Veterans for Medical Marijuana I am insulted by this editorial. The writers obvious prejudices are apparent in their mention of the movie "Reefer Madness" The movie that started cannabis prohibition along with the Hearst newspapers yellow journalism. One thing the author, nor the Miami coroners office, thought to consider is that cannabis residue remains in your blood stream long after the effects have disappeared some times taking as long as 30 days to leave your system. It does that because your body store THC in body fat. To even insinuate that someone would do something like the man who chewed off someone face is in line with this same yellow journalism. To address the smoking issue as a delivery system first off there are studies that suggest that cannabis is not harmful to your lungs as cigarettes are and maybe beneficial to you. The facts are that cannabis prohibition restricted research but other countries have been working on making great discovery's concerning the crop our grandfathers grew. They have discovered that cannabis works the opposite of cigarettes in your system but much like Nixon and the Shafer report, anything positive about cannabis is never reported. The states that legalized cannabis have made advances in administering cannabis to their patients. There are edibles drinks and even candy. There is a method of vaporizing that is safe for inhaling the fact is the more information that comes out about cannabis the more we are finding we have been lied to. Lets get this debate out in the open, lets deal honestly with this plant and I assure you if we do you will see as I do that the money spent and lives ruined to keep this plant illegal is insane. You may be right, it may take a long time to right this wrong but let me tell you this. I am a 63 year old Vietnam Veteran, I have smoked cannabis since I was an airman serving in Thailand. I have smoked it off and on ever since and I am sick and tired of being made a criminal for doing something that makes me feel good and doesn't harm a soul. If you wish to write a column on cannabis why don't you contact me and I will give you verifiable sources and we can write an informative article instead of this hit piece to fill a page. Ron Moore Kentucky Veterans for Medical Marijuana

  • What a stupid article. Marijuana was not responsible for the face-chewing incident. The man's mental illness was responsible. And I don't believe it was exacerbated by the TRACES of marijuana found in his system. I was wondering how long it would take someone to jump on this as "proof" that marijuana could cause violence. What a load of crap! Being administered under a physician's supersion: have you really thought about this? A person should have to go to the doctor every day--or more often--just to get relief? Do you have to go to the doctor every time you take your prescription medicines? That is not only stupid, it is just not feasible. Also, I don't see why marijuana shouldn't be legalized for any use whatsoever (for adults). It's a relatively harmless, benign substance----much less harmful than alcohol----and adults should have the right to use it, just as they have the right to use alcohol, without fearing any legal or otherwise detrimental consequences.

  • What a load of nonsense. Reefer madness is alive and well in the mind of the nitwit who wrote this garbage.MerryWanna is safer than tobacco or alcohol,fact. The federal government has and continues to lie to U.S.,fact. The prohibition of MerryWanna supports the deadly drug cartels,fact. As a "free" American citizen I should have the freedom to grow cannabis and use it ,why not?