Jennifer Smith/MetroNews

Retired Kentucky Trooper Ed Shemelya told members of the Alliance for Drug Endangered Children Wednesday that medical marijuana would be bad for kids.

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – Legalizing medical marijuana is a hot topic all across the country and one that’s already gone before the legislature here in West Virginia.

The West Virginia Alliance for Drug Endangered Children tackled the issue Wednesday during its quarterly meeting at the State Police Academy in Institute.

Andrea Darr, the coordinator of the program, said it’s important for members of the group, which includes law enforcement, prosecutors, social workers, school counselors and others, to understand the what’s happening.

“Marijuana is an issue! It’s a problem! People think it’s just marijuana. It’s not a big deal. But it’s a drug. It impacts a parent’s ability to take care of their children,” stressed Darr.

She brought in guest speaker, Ed Shemelya, with the Appalachian High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area or HIDTA. He’s a 30-year veteran of the Kentucky State Police, the last 8-years dealing with drugs.

He told the Alliance that legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes is a dangerous proposition.

“I don’t want to give this perception to young people that marijuana, in its crude form, is medicine. I think we’re sending a horrible message to our kids,” according to Shemelya.

He said the FDA is currently working on finding the medicinal properties within the marijuana plant and then creating prescription medication of those compounds.

He said calling marijuana in it’s raw form “medicinal” is inaccurate. He used aspirin as an example.

“Compounds within aspirin come from the bark of a willow tree. I don’t think anyone advocates going and finding willow bark, crushing it, rolling it and smoking it to get the medicinal value to relieve a headache.”

Shemelya is urging members of the Alliance to look at the figures. He pointed to the 18 marijuana compassion states where pot is recognized by the law.

“What we do know is that teen usage rates [of marijuana] in these states, exceeds the national average,” according to Shemelya.

He said at this point the negatives outweigh the positives when it comes to legalizing medical marijuana in West Virginia.

It’s a topic that could go before the 2014 Legislative Session which begins in less than a month.

bubble graphic

71

bubble graphic

Comments

  • Aaron Moses

    This guy has no clue what he's talking about. Teen usage has decreased or stayed the same in states where Marijuana is legal for medical purposes. In West Virginia, teens are using synthetic Marijuana (spice), and its killing them. 1,000's of people a year die from Tylenol and Asprin, Marijuana is a much safer alternative to any FDA approved drug. I SUPPORT MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN WEST VIRGINIA!!!

    • WhgFeeling

      Because you are an expert in what..........?

      • John Wires

        Because the facts from the states that have legalized it for medical use and almost 20 years of history support his claim that Cannabis is safer than any drug out there.

      • Conchop

        He's obviously far more expert in this subject than you are ...

  • Ras Ible

    Wow... are these people for real?!

    • Conchop

      No they're not for real at all - they're part of a racket that prosers on the profits and taxpayers money being foolishly spent on this idiotic prohibition ....

  • Don't you wish

    If you take out the part of the plant that makes you "high", thc, and only leave the part that helps people with cancer & pain, then 90% of the people pushing for legalization now wouldn't give a crap. Seems ridiculous to me that someone rants and raves because they can't smoke pot for a minor problem that an aspirin or Tylenol could solve.

    • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

      Agree 100%. One former trooper creating panic. He's not an expert on this subject if there is any at all since relevant study or data exists.

    • Len

      But why should someone be forced to take an aspirin or tylenol (both having possible side effects worse than cannabis) ??? So that your pharma stocks don't suffer??? That being said, medicinal cannabis for kids is not smoked, but administered as an oil either topically (for skin problems) or orally. As for adults, if cannabis helps, then they should not be denied the choice because of outdated rhetoric and the loss of profit to drug companies. It's been my observation that all who oppose cannabis, medical or otherwise, have a financial interest in keeping prohibition. Follow the money.

    • Jason412

      55,000 to 80,000 people a year go to the ER for accidental tylenol OD.

      Oxycontin was marketed as non-addictive for 5 years before Purdue Pharma started telling the truth. Do we really want another generation of pill heads that turn into heroin addicts?

      What about people who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks? Do we tell are kids Xanax is safer then marijuana? Xanax is one of the only drugs that can kill you when you STOP taking it, yet its prescribed at an alarming rate and the media isnt all over it so it will continue to be prescribed at alarming rates.

      People are going to use marijuana regardless of it's legal status. The big difference is legal marijuana shops pay a very high tax, money that can be used to build parks, fix roads, etc.
      Drug cartels obviously do not pay a tax.

      So to me the options are
      Legal = Community benefits, people use marijuana
      Illegal = Community suffers, people use marijuana


      Big Pharma is already trying to push "home growers" and marijuana shops out of business and have the marijuana prescription filled at a pharmacy

      It will not be the free for all like it was in Cali at first, big pharma will end up running it.

    • Jason412

      55,000 to 80,000 people a year go to the ER for accidental tylenol OD. (http:// www. mercurynews.com/business/ci_23974801/tylenol-warn-users-potentially-fatal-overdose-risk)

      Oxycontin was marketed as non-addictive for 5 years before Purdue Pharma started telling the truth. (http:// articles.sun-sentinel. com/2003-03-06/news/0303051301_1_purdue-pharma-oxycontin-william-gergely) Do we really want another generation of pill heads that turn into heroin addicts?

      What about people who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks? Do we tell are kids Xanax is safer then marijuana? Xanax is one of the only drugs that can kill you when you STOP taking it, yet its prescribed at an alarming rate and the media isnt all over it so it will continue to be prescribed at alarming rates.

      People are going to use marijuana regardless of it's legal status. The big difference is legal marijuana shops pay a very high tax, money that can be used to build parks, fix roads, etc.
      Drug cartels obviously do not pay a tax.

      So to me the options are
      Legal = Community benefits, people use marijuana
      Illegal = Community suffers, people use marijuana


      Big Pharma is already trying to push "home growers" and marijuana shops out of business and have the marijuana prescription filled at a pharmacy (http://www . safeaccessnow .org/big_pharma_eyes_michigan_medical_marijuana_market)

      It will not be the free for all like it was in Cali at first, big pharma will end up running it.

      (Spaces added to links so it would post)

    • John Wires

      When you depend on cannabis for relief and nothing else works then I think you might understand. When it comes to pain relief without THC there is no real relief. Also if THC wasnt beneficial then Marinol wouldn't exist. So any claim against cannabis made by the FDA or any other group is null and void. In-fact the whole idea of cannabis being a schedule 1 drug is null and void when DELTA 9 THC cannabinoid is being put into pill form such as it is what MARINOL actually is.

  • Cigarman

    Trooper Ed is worried that there will be less federal dollars to lock up marijuana smokers thus a threat to his and other law enforcement jobs.

    • Conchop

      Copy that - plus all the money they get from marijuana property seizures - they have quite an UN AMERICAN racket going on ...

  • GregG

    I wonder how much Big Pharma pays these people to be anti weed.

    • College Ave

      Big Pharma. Big Oil. Big Tobacco.

      How about a Big Union, Big Government or Big Drug Cartel reference once in a while?

      • curious

        How about this reference......"Big Brother"

        What's in your wallet?

  • Gilbert Gnarley

    "They say, uh...smoking marijuana messes..with your....uh, memory,.....all I want to say is, uh...wait, uh,.... I forgot..... what I was going to say, man....."

    Anthony Roachclip, 1972

  • Wudhesay

    Cutting into the moonshine business are we?

  • Patrick

    Would parents rather have their kids drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes than smoking marijuana??

    • WhgFeeling

      the problem is it is not an "OR" it is an "and"

      • Len

        Not really. The last few polls that I've seen, state that while cannabis use has risen, alcohol and cigarette use has dropped.

  • curious

    Why would a retired state police officer that is speaking to a group at a state police facility be advocating for more prescription drug use? Do we really want more of Big Pharma? Can't a natural remedy be accepted for what it is..... "Natural"

  • Brian

    If parents are so worried about their kids viewing marijuana as "medicine," then they should act like parents and actually educate their children rather than making ridiculous excuses. If a kid, against the parent's wishes, views marijuana as medicine, then it's the parent's fault for not educating them, it is not the fault of marijuana. It is just like cigarettes or alcohol. We teach our children that cigarettes are harmful (whether they choose to accept that education is another story). We don't go blaming tobacco companies when our kids end up smoking cigarettes.

  • Cheech

    "He said calling marijuana in it’s raw form “medicinal” is inaccurate. He used aspirin as an example. “Compounds within aspirin come from the bark of a willow tree. I don’t think anyone advocates going and finding willow bark, crushing it, rolling it and smoking it to get the medicinal value to relieve a headache.”

    What a stupid example. Besides, I'd rather bake up a batch of brownies than hit the doobage.

  • Miles Monroe

    Well, this *is* West Virginia, so what could we expect … (cue banjo)

    That "comparison" to aspirin pretty much demonstrates the level of knowledge and critical thinking.

    Of course, the West Virginia Alliance for Drug Endangered Children doesn't have any problems with alcohol or tobacco ...

  • Billy

    I hope Ed Shemelya never gets a condition that put that puts him in constant pain. If he does I would like to see how he feels then. Until then he is just another person trying to control what other folks with constant pain do. I think I have more faith in the opinion of Dr.Sanjay Gupta than I do a former law enforcement officer. The Doctor in my opinion has a more scientific approach to the medical uses of marijuana than a former cop.

    • wv4evah

      amen billy

    • Conchop

      BINGO - God forbid any of these prohibitionists having themselves or a loved on squealing and squalling in agony, full well knowing that cannabis would be an effective remedy.

  • leroy jethro gibbs

    people cant tolerate any pain in their lives
    they stub a toe and they want immediate and total pain relief, the world is full of wussies!

  • ThatGuyOverThere

    If smoking marijuana was a cure for kidney stones which I have, I'd smoke as many joints as necessary every day to fight off the pain associated with them...And it would not matter the message I sent out to kids, pain management is more important to someone that is in pain than how others interperate the act of prevention.

    • WVIRGINIAN FOR LIFE

      Me too. If kidney stones are any where near the pain women endure during child birth my hat is off to them. Legalize it and tell the trooper to go back to Kentucky and create panic there.