A followup after I attended July 14th’s town hall meeting.
A task force assembled by Gov. Andy Beshear is going around the state to hear directly from Kentuckians on whether they support the legalization of medical cannabis. Among many others, Afghanistan and Iraq combat war veteran Jared Bonvell made an impassioned plea for the legalization of medical cannabis in Kentucky. Bonvell told spectrumnews1.com cannabis saved his life and he’s dropped most of his other medications.
I recently had the privilege of attending and speaking at Team Kentucky’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee town hall. As a proud member of the NKU Alumni Association, it was a nostalgic return to the institution where I earned my bachelor’s degree in geography in 2006.
As a candidate for United States House of Representatives in this district, and this issue of cannabis legalization being a top tier of my platform, it was not an option for me to miss this opportunity to fight for the change I want to see in my state. It wasn’t surprising to not see either of my opponents there, particularly Representative Thomas Massie, who when it comes to the issue of marijuana decriminalization and legalization, is a flat-out poser. He claims to support ending marijuana prohibition but has done nothing but feign caring for it but doing the absolute bare minimum In favor of cannabis other than symbolic gesturing at best during his 9 years of doing nothing in office. The same goes for his John Bircher Council for National Policy frat brother Rand Paul. Both of these grifting gladhands pretend they support ending the war on drugs but have done nothing for radically reforming a system they both know is broken and failing while causing oppression of their own constituents. They have had ample time in office to enact serious change but have continuously kicked the can down the road because they are capitalist opportunists who don’t support anything that will make themselves or their party richer.
It was refreshing to at least see State Representative Buddy Wheatly in attendance and showing support for this cause. Any step towards ending the failed war on drugs is one in the right direction, but not enough is being done. We want action, and we want it now. You will get reformist results by supporting my congressional campaign as I am the only independent candidate in pursuit of an agenda of total drug prohibition, worker liberation and the revolutionary progressive transformation of society.
It was also a pleasant surprise to run into an old friend of mine, stand up comedian, and civil liberties advocate Jay Armstrong. Jay has been a mentor for those suffering from addiction and a guide to people in recovery, achieving the monumental feat of 16 years of total sobriety, and he also does not consume cannabis. Jay was there to advocate for the medicinal properties of cannabis that could spare his own child of their suffering from Crohn’s disease and described how he believed at had medical cannabis therapies would have been available earlier in his life it could have alleviated his own mental health battles and bypassed trials of a wide range of pharmaceutical drugs that aren’t entirely effective. His statement of support for medical cannabis- he himself being a 100% sober and most notably his worst prior addiction of heroin for well over a decade is very telling. We have both lost many friends to jails, institutions and death and ourselves are blessed we both are still here to tell our stories. He is living proof that people can overcome the despair of drug dependence, and as a walking embodiment of hope, he is saluted.
Jay Armstrong: Comedian, Civil Liberties Advocate, and Addiction
Recovery Mentor Celebrating 16 Years of Sobriety
This was a very emotional town hall, listening to the testimony of a diverse range of people with unique experiences and stories: from a disabled combat veteran who served in Afghanistan and Iraq permanently scarred mentally and physically from experiencing the horrors of war, to those suffering from multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, PTSD and a myriad of other ailments, both physical and mental. Everyone agreed that the benefits of medicinal cannabis are far safer than the numerous processed, sometimes toxic and many times experimental drugs with debilitating side effects peddled by pharmaceutical companies. The focus of this symposium was strictly advocacy for the legalization of medicinal cannabis in the state of Kentucky, which is long overdue.
As I made clear in my prior article “The War on Cannabis is Far from Over”, I believe that not only should cannabis be legalized for medical purposes, it should be federally decriminalized, and none of legitimacies of the aspects of cannabis: recreational, medicinal, industrial, and even spiritual/religious are mutually exclusive: they are all equally viable opportunities for medicinal treatment of people’s suffering, for adults having a good time, for industrial production of goods such as clothing, rope and paper (one acre of hemp produces more four times as much paper as an acre of trees, their seeds contain as much protein as soybeans and it is one of the strongest natural fibers known) and for myself and many others, as an entheogenic sacrament. I myself these days have come to terms that using cannabis in moderation, and ritualistically to make incense and as an offering to the Most High in prayer and meditation is another great benefit of the nontoxic plant that serves as a virtual panacea. It has helped with my own PTSD depression and insomnia with regards to my own medicinal use of cannabis.
If there was one thing all of us in attendance agreed on, is that decriminalization and legalization of this plant should be done in the essence of egalitarianism. There should be no corporate patenting or opportunistic monopolization of any subsequent industries related to cannabis. It shouldn’t be legislated for the benefit of rich businessmen or wealthy landowners to dominate its production and distribution. There should be reasonable regulation and quality control, but policy enacted by lawmakers should serve strictly for the empowerment of the working class and agrarian peasantry. People should be free to reasonably cultivate and consume their own personal cannabis, while companies, vendors, dispensaries, and distributors main objectives should be the benefit of the community. I even envision Kentucky developing a canna-based counterculture economy, with our own currency pegged to the marijuana industry. We have an entire tourist industry based on our bourbon, and no one bats an eye, its socially acceptable and seen as part of the commonwealth’s identity, despite alcohol killing 3 million people a year, while pot has never been proven to kill anyone. Cannabis has been cultivated since before we were even a state, and it is just as much a part of our identity as horses and bourbon.