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President Trump's administration recently addressed the cannabis industry and its potential crackdown by the federal government on states who have legalized cannabis use (1). If true, the plan to enforce federal laws condemning cannabis would do more harm than good. 

First, the power to police or criminalize an action is reserved for states by the constitution. This is one of the few powers given to the state and not the federal government. States who have decided to legalize marijuana use are standing on the very foundation of our forefathers. Going against this reserved right, will definitely lead to an increase in federal court cases defending the constitutionality of the enforcement. And ultimately a waste in tax dollars covering the court expenses. 

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A NEW DOCUMENTARY FILM CHRONICLING THE HISTORY OF HEMP PRODUCTION IN KENTUCKY 

LEXINGTON, KY – Witnessing History, LLC, a producer of documentary films on Kentucky and American history, and Hemp Highway of Kentucky, LLC, the organizer and promoter of the tour route through central Kentucky chronicling the history of hemp production in the State, have entered into a collaborative agreement to produce a fifty-six minute documentary film for public and cable television on the history of hemp production in Kentucky.

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One day while searching for answers ahead of the question I asked myself, “How do you make history fun?” One way is by finding a topic inherently prone to the comedy of miscommunication.  Case in point, hemp.  Hemp, the nerdy member of the cannabis family who is always hard at work and too busy to play.  Most people are more familiar with Hemp’s troubled cousin, Marihuana.   Mari can be a party girl, and until recently she had a very bad and well known reputation.  This family relationship can set the comedic stage for a botanical ”Parent Trap” or “Patty Duke Show”.  (Zach and Cody for younger folks) Obvious puns are just one of the things that makes hemp fun.

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In 1775 Archibald McNeill officially registered the Bluegrass regions first crop near the community of Danville in the then county of Kentucky in the Colony of Virginia. According to the historical marker that sits in front of the Boyle County Courthouse, Archibald Cox planted seed he brought with him to Kentucky near Clark’s Run Creek. That crop was hemp.

From McNeill’s first seeds in 1775 until 1915 hemp was Kentucky’s largest cash crop. From 1840-1860 Kentucky lead the nation in hemp production. During this time Kentucky hemp was used in products ranging from cordage and rigging for ships, canvas for covered wagons, sails and textile products of all kinds. Hemp processing is incredibly labor intensive. Historical records indicate that numerous factories and textile mills operated in the region creating employment opportunities outside of agriculture.

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An embattled pharmaceutical company that sells the powerful painkiller fentanyl has donated $500,000 toward defeating a ballot initiative that would make recreational use of marijuana legal under Arizona law.

Read the full article here

I just read NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup’s blog explaining his take on the current state of cannabis legalization efforts. Keith has been an important voice in cannabis law reform advocacy for decades. His hard work and efforts are greatly appreciated. However, I have to disagree with the premise of his article.

Stroup is correct in his observation that what will ultimately drive cannabis legalization will be economics. However, his analogy to the gambling industry and assertion that it is primarily the government and “morality” at the nexus of this log jam is outdated thinking. Yes, the federal government is missing out on a huge revenue stream by prohibiting cannabis in all forms and failing to generate tax revenue from its sale. But cannabis prohibition today is not a function of some government intention to legislate morality. Nor will it be potential tax revenue that moves the government to finally act.

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The University of Kentucky hosted its second ever “Hemp Day” August 11, 2016 at the Coldstream Research facility, just outside of Lexington, KY.  The UK event is the third such academic event this season, with previous hemp days being conducted at both Western Kentucky and Murray State Universities. 

The event started with coffee and donuts along with some brief words from various researchers and participants involved in the hemp pilot program.  There are also a few tables with displays detailing uses of hemp and various student research projects.   From there attendees were divided into two groups.

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The DEA fell back to the comfort of their favorite position when it comes to making a decision regarding the rescheduling of cannabis from a Schedule 1 substance with no medically approved uses. They said, not enough research has been done to justify rescheduling cannabis. They did however loosen restrictions on universities looking to grow cannabis for research purposes.

As I mentioned in my earlier blog this should have come as no surprise. Asking a law enforcement agency about eliminating laws that support their industry is like asking oil companies to start promoting the use of electric cars. 

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Although disappointing, the recent recommendation by the DEA that cannabis not be reclassified to Schedule II was by no means a surprise.  While the states that have passed marijuana law reforms do not appear to be suffering from the chaos, gloom and doom that legalization opponents predicted, federal officials still lay claim to the position that “not enough empirical evidence” has been generated to warrant the potential public safety threat. 

So what is the motivation for the DEA recommendation and what is the potential impact to this emerging industry.

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Reports from The Cannabist as released June 22nd indicate that Pennsylvania may become a medical marijuana hub. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Adam Smeltz covered the observations, starting with Lalit Chordia. 

Mr. Chordia is known around the Greater Pittsburgh area as CEO of Thar Energy, LLC. Thar Energy is the parent company of Thar Process Inc. in O’Hara, PA. In an attempt to disassociate from the ever present marijuana industry stigma, Mr. Chrodia made it clear that his operation is “not a medical marijuana company.” Unfortunately for him, Thar Process Inc. has mastered a high pressure extraction method… ideal for producing medical marijuana treatments. Prior to Pennsylvania’s Act 16, Mr. Chrodia was unable to see the large profits from the marijuana industry. Luckily, that’s changed now. 

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