Kansas Lawmakers Say No To Smoking & Vaping With New Medical Marijuana Bill

A new push to legalize medical marijuana in Kansas is picking up some steam.

According to Marijuana Moment, state senators filed a new measure - SB 135 – that seeks to provide legal access to medical cannabis for people with debilitating conditions.

Backed by the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee, the new legislation would regulate the cultivation, processing, distribution, sale and use of medical cannabis.

"The patients of Kansas have been eagerly anticipating the opportunity for a program and to join the 37 other states that have adopted comprehensive medical cannabis programs," Kevin Caldwell, a legislative manager at the Marijuana Policy Project told Marijuana Moment's Kyle Jaeger. "Patients have been forced for too long to have to go to the illicit market for products that have not been tested for contaminants as well as face legal repercussions for possessing medicine that can greatly improve the quality of their lives."

What's In The Bill

Some of the measure's provisions are:

  • Patients with one of 21 conditions, such as cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain, to name a few, would be allowed to possess up to a month's supply of cannabis legally.
  • Those caught in possession of up to 1.5 ounces without being registered patients would be punished with a $400 fine if having a doctor's recommendation for medical marijuana.
  • Smoking and vaping cannabis products would be considered illegal
  • Issuance of medical cannabis identification cards would be conducted by the Health and Environment Department.
  • The licensing process would be overseen by a Division of Alcohol and Cannabis Control, while a Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee would supervise the implementation of the marijuana program.
  • Taxed at 10%, medical marijuana products would have to contain less than 35 percent THC for flower, while tinctures, oils and concentrates could not exceed 60% THC.

Gov. Laura Kelly Pushing For Cannabis Policy Change

Meanwhile, in her January State of the State address, Gov. Laura Kelly (D) called for the legalization of medical marijuana.

"There's another common-sense way to improve health care here in Kansas – and that's to finally legalize medical marijuana," Kelly said. She called the sad case of police raiding a dying man's hospital room for cannabis extracts "ridiculous."

A 69-year-old patient, Greg Bretz, at the Hays Medical Center was in the final stages of terminal and inoperable cancer. After the police raid, he was facing arrest for possessing a vaping device and edible THC paste.

Unfortunately, Bretz died last month. His passing reminded Kelly of an op-ed published in Wichita Eagle in May by a U.S. army veteran with cancer who was begging the Kansas Senate to legalize medical marijuana as he was "running out of time."

"Every day, thousands of Kansans are forced to choose between breaking the law and living without pain. It is an unbearable choice – and an absolutely unnecessary one," the governor said.

Photo: Courtesy of Kindel Media by Pexels and f11photo by Shutterstock

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