Kansas legislators are considering legislation which would legalize the use of medical marijuana in the state. Last week they heard from opponents and proponents of the bill.

Senate Bill 113 was filed by state Sen. Tom Holland, D-Baldwin City. It was supported by Rep. Jim Karleskint, R-Tonganoxie. The bill would legalize medical marijuana and allow for the creation of medical marijuana dispensaries in Kansas. It would also give U.S. military veterans a 60-day advance period to use marijuana before the general population.

Kansas residents would need a recommendation from a medical professional and then would have to apply for a license from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to obtain medical marijuana under the bill.

In the midst of the push to legalize medical marijuana use, many Emporians are also pushing for the legalization of recreational marijuana use.

“It’s time they just legalize it all,” Mark Stephens of Emporia said. “Recreational, medical, it doesn’t matter. The state could be making money and have less people in jail.”

Sen. Jeff Longbine said it is unlikely recreational marijuana will be approved this session.

“I would say the chances of marijuana being legalized for recreational use this session is zero,” Longbine said. “Now, there are a couple bills we are looking at to legalize medical use of marijuana. If we can get legislation worked out on the dispensaries, there is a possibility it could be legalized.”

Proponents of Senate Bill 113, including Holland who introduced the bill, say it could assist military veterans and help address the country’s opioid epidemic.

“Make no mistake, our citizens are asking us to have access to medical cannabis because they view it as an appropriate approach for maintaining and managing their chronic pain issues,” Holland said.

Proponents of the bill testified they believed medical marijuana could assist veterans in dealing with chronic health issues and post-traumatic stress disorder, an anxiety disorder often experienced by veterans.

“I would rather see someone using marijuana to manage pain instead of using opioids,” Sarah Jenkins of Emporia said. “It is more natural and doesn’t come with the risk of death by overdose.”

Opponents of the bill provided testimony to legislators as well. Opponents say they believe legalization of medical marijuana will “normalize” marijuana use, leading to an increase in other drug usage. Others expressed concern about medical marijuana not being approved by the FDA.

“We’re talking about a smoked medication, we are talking about something that is highly impure and we are talking about bypassing the FDA,” Dr. Eric Both, a primary care physician said in his testimony. “The FDA isn’t perfect, but it is our process of getting safe and effective medication in front of the public.”

Angelique Shreves of Emporia weighed in on Facebook, expressing her opposition to legalization of marijuana.

“It is a drug,” she wrote, “Drugs that cause people to get high or hallucinate should not be legalized because all of a sudden you will have people faking illnesses just so that their doctors will prescribe it to them.”

Thirty three states and Washington D.C have legalized the use of medical marijuana. This includes Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma. The Colorado Department of Revenue reports that the state has seen more than $6 billion in sales since Jan. 2014, with more than $1.5 billion in sales in each of the last two years.

No action has been taken on the bill yet and it is unclear when action may be taken.

(7) comments

Aim_High

As a Colorado resident, I can tell you there has been no "crime wave" since cannabis has been legalized. In actuality, crime has dropped almost across the board, teen drug use has dropped, along with gains in revenue and a drop in unemployment. I'd urge "Tim Cable" to actually do research instead of just saying he did. State reports show crime has dropped since legalization, period. The opinions of the sheriffs and PD don't matter when there is hard evidence to show otherwise.


Type "Colorado crime wave since legalization" into your google and draw your own conclusions, instead of listening to outright liars. You can even type "crime increase since legalization in colorado" or whatever wording you want to use, and you will find the truth.


Since legalizing, the number of trained Drug Recognition Experts increased from 129 in 2012 to 214 in 2018, a 66% increase. Thousands of additional officers have been trained in Advanced Roadside Impairment Detection, yet Colorado State Patrol DUI cases overall were down 15%. The percent of drivers in fatal crashes who tested positive for THC at the 5ng/mL level decreased from 11.6% in 2016 to 7.5% in 2017.


Graduation rates are up and drop-out rates are down since 2012. The Graduation rate rose steadily from a 10-year low point of 72 percent in the 2009-2010 school year to 79 percent in the 2016-2017 school year, surpassing KANSAS at 77%.


A CRIME WAVE, INDEED!!! LMAO! For more actual facts, please check out the Colorado Department of Public Safety website. Kansas deserves the same freedoms as everyone else... and what is with the 60 day window for veterans (before the general public)? Do they think the general population in Kansas hasn't been smoking marijuana all these years? Silly.


SnowGypsy

Well, illegal growing has increased 73% during the 5 years which means the black market and associated plague didn't go away. Did you happen to find a reason that violent crime has been increasing during those 5 years since marijuana was legalized? Denver has the biggest market, and likewise, they have seen the big spike in violent crime, and I believe that homelessness also has grown as people move to a high cost area in pursuit of legal marijuana, and homelessness on the streets doesn't improve the quality of life for anyone involved. Also, who supports those that can't work because they can't pass a drug test? And, no, making it legal will not make most employers' not want an employee on the job that is "under the influence". Most test, well the responsible ones, employees who have accidents on the job for drug use. Sure Kansas has people smoking dope who can't pass an employment drug test, plenty of them!

Aim_High

The number of illegal grows is big because people turn them in. Nobody wants people using public land to grow on. And there will always be a black market, but to say legalization hasn't hurt the associated plague that is drug cartels is silly.


"Since 2013, Denver has seen its crime rise as the national average has fallen. In 2016, the crime rate was up 4%, with violent crime rising 9%. Denver police, though, say they don’t believe that can be attributed to cannabis."


Snopes also says cannabis is the cause of crime spike in Denver is unproven. Long term violent crime statistics in Denver have remained static for the most part. Opponents blame ANY increase of ANY type of crime on cannabis.


Denver has always had a large homeless population. Researchers surveyed 507 inmates in seven facilities (in the City and County of Denver and El Paso, Larimer, Mesa and Pueblo counties), of whom 60.8 percent said they had experienced homelessness within thirty days of entering jail. Transplants outnumbered natives: 62 percent of the homeless respondents had moved to Colorado from other states, and of those transplants, 59 percent said they were in Colorado before marijuana was legalized in 2012.


You read that right, 62% of the jail is homeless people, and 59% of them have been in Colorado since before legalization. I can understandy why you would think homeless people want to flock to denver to smoke dope, but it's just not true. Giving marijuana to the homeless is actually discouraged because so many of them have mental health problems that marijuana could intensify. Homelessness is more of a mental health crisis than a cannabis one.


Why would legal cannabis make it ok for an employee to be under the influence at work? That makes no sense. Alcohol is legal but you obviously can't go to work drunk. Tons of places allow cannabis use off hours. I'm sure once cannabis is legal federally the rest of the jobs will catch up with the times.


Sorry you personally dislike cannabis, but it's here to stay. Maybe learn to show some tolerance and open your mind up to new things.

Austin metcalfe

Personally having a traumatic brain injury and several back injuries. At 20 years old I have spent over one year in county jail due to medically using marijuana. I got off of several opoids and being a complete mess of a person to living my life happy with medical marijuana. No one is asking for recreationall use here. That's a whole different topic 2 years ago today I would not have been able to type this message due to the pills I was prescribed. Currently I am medicated and am able to type this legit reply. I honestly hope something is done about medical marijuana in Kansas.

JG24

You were smoking pot before you had the accident, so your argument is no good.

Markskillet

Did you read the person's post? They were in jail for using medical marijuana. Not that the marijuana they had was medical grade but that that they were sent to jail for using it instead of the prescribed pills. You sound like a moron when you automatically say "your argument doesn't count because this! " I'm hoping to throw my arguement out right here by saying you are complete and under trash who doesn't understand anything about modern society.

Markskillet

I hope your recovery went and is going good. I sincerely hope for your sake and for the sake of many others who are suffering with pain that could be alleviated with medical marijuana that Kansas and some of its hard headed and sometimes just moronic people will come to the realization that even recreational marijuana is less harmful than that think. Marijuana is a natural plant and has amazing benefits. Yes its been refined to be stronger and moe potent. Just like some show dog being bred for its good traits, or like watermelon or corn is easier to grow with better results. Kansas is full of the most mull headed curmudgeonous people in the world. Half the people opposing are very elderly and don't hardly even leave their house. All the info they get is from cnn or fox and they don't question a single word. They don't even understand the difference between marijuana and cocaine. Both are just "bad". I for one don't want these uninformed shutins ruling my life. Down with a geriatric ruled government. They don't understand how to use modern technology as simple as freaking touch screens are, why are we letting them tell us that we can drink bacardi 151 but that it's a sin to smoke a single puff.

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