Kansas currently stands as one of only a handful of states where medical marijuana has not been legalized. Bills recently filed by lawmakers would change that, making Kansas medical marijuana legal across the state.
Kansas has remained one of the few states to hold out on legalizing medical marijuana, which is linked to many health and wellness benefits. Nebraska and Idaho also do not have medical marijuana programs in place. A much longer list of states only allow the use of CBD or low-THC medical marijuana, including Texas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Montana, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Indiana.
The new bills from Kansas lawmakers would legalize medical marijuana and also ensure that providing access to medical cannabis for veterans is a priority. This is not the first attempt to legalize Kansas medical marijuana. In a pattern repeated at the national level, one chamber of the legislature controlled by Democrats passed the measure (in this case, the house), but it died in the Republican-controlled state senate.
What the Kansas Medical Marijuana Bills Would Do
The first bill, filed in the Kansas Senate and sent to the Federal and State Affairs Committee, regulates cultivation, processing, distribution, sale, and use of medical marijuana in Kansas. The committee received a second bill not long afterward that makes veterans part of the patient system first.
State Sen. Cindy Holscher, a Democrat, told Fox 4 in Kansas City that the bill has a better chance to pass in the current political climate than bills filed in the past. “The dynamics are a little bit different. If you look back three to four years ago, the efforts were very grassroots,” she said. “I’ve been hearing from other lawmakers that they figure something’s going to happen at the very end of the session.”
The bill, SB 135, would put the following laws in place.
- Allow patients to buy and possess up to a 30-day supply of medical marijuana (at least three ounces) from licensed dispensaries
- Prohibit the smoking and vaping of marijuana products
- Require medical marijuana patients to receive a recommendation from a doctor
- Make 21 conditions eligible for medical cannabis, including cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain.
- Allow state regulators to add conditions to the list
- Create a process through which people can petition the state to add new qualifying conditions.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, has said she will sign Kansas medical marijuana legalization into law if it reaches her desk, Fox 4 reported.
Where Kansas Would Use Cannabis Taxes
The law calls for a 10 percent tax on medical marijuana sales. It also specifies where money from the taxes would go after it covers the administrative costs of the program.
Some states have used marijuana tax funds to build schools or invest in historically underserved communities. The bills filed in the Kansas senate call for putting the tax funds into law enforcement, including 20 percent to local medical cannabis enforcement and 10 percent to statewide enforcement. The rest would go into the state’s general fund.
The bills have the support of the Kansas Cannabis Chamber of Commerce, which advocates for regulated cannabis programs in Kansas. Chamber President Daniel Shafton told Fox that making Kansas medical marijuana legal would help those who want alternatives to their current medicines.
“I think it is the most bipartisan issue in our country right now, and that’s because it’s hard to deny that this helps people not suffer,” he said.