More than 67% of Kansans are in favor of putting an end to the state Legislature’s resistance towards bills that would legalize marijuana in Kansas, according to a recent statewide survey conducted by Fort Hays State University.
Regarding the legalization of recreational marijuana sales for individuals aged 21 and older, the survey found 67.2% of respondents were in favor, while 16.9% were against. Currently, 23 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have legalized adult-use cannabis and created government-regulated systems for its production, sale and use.
Gov. Laura Kelly has expressed her support for the medicinal use of marijuana, but she remains cautious about allowing recreational consumption. The Kansas House did pass a medical marijuana bill two years ago, but it was not considered by the Kansas Senate.
Republican Sen. Rob Olson held committee hearings for a medical marijuana bill last year. However, he told the Lawrence Journal-World that GOP leadership does not want a bill to legalize marijuana in Kansas to pass.
“The majority of the state (does) want medical marijuana, and I don’t see a reason why we don’t pass a bill,” Olson said.
Candidates Who Back Legalized Cannabis In Kansas Have Support
The survey also found that Kansas voters would back political candidates who favor legalization of medical marijuana. Among those surveyed, 64% said they would vote for a candidate who takes a position in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.
As things stand, Kansas is one of just a dozen states that prohibit any type of cannabis, even as neighboring states such as Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma have legalized either medical or adult-use cannabis. Nebraska (Kansas’ neighbor to the north) and Idaho also have no legal cannabis programs, while nine other states have only legalized low-THC or CBD products (which also are legal at the federal level). They are Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming,
Cheryl Kumberg, president of the Kansas Cannabis Coalition, told the Journal-World that her organization continues to lobby for legalization of medical cannabis, but finds itself blocked by legislative leadership. She said they focus more on the chance people might get high from cannabis, rather than the potential for health and wellness.
“We get support from quite a few legislators, but the ones that are in power are not supportive for various reasons, and they don’t let it go forward,” Kumberg said.
Cannabis Opinions Come From Statewide Survey in Kansas
The answers about cannabis use came from the “Kansas Speaks” survey conducted by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University. The public university is located in Hays, Kansas.
The survey gathered opinions and attitudes from 485 adult residents of Kansas, with data collected between Sept. 20 and Oct. 10, 2023.
Medical marijuana legalization bills have stalled for three straight legislative sessions in the Kansas Senate. The latest bill in 2023 died after Republican Sen. Mike Thompson told reporters the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee he chairs decided to table the bill in an unscheduled move.
“We’ve got bigger fish to fry at this point,” he told reporters at the time. Whether the new survey changes minds among Kansas Republicans will not be known until the 2024 session.