In June of 2018, 57 percent of Oklahoma voters cast a vote in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. A few months later in Missouri, 66 percent of voters showed their support.

As our neighboring states offer residents an additional tool to treat many medical conditions, Kansas lawmakers finally seem to recognize that continued dismissal of medical marijuana options isn’t prudent.

“This thing is going to go-go-go eventually, and we all need to kind of be at the table and make it a good piece of legislation to help people,” said Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau, a Wichita Democrat, during a recent meeting of the Special Committee on Federal and State Affairs.

She is right. We commend the special committee for beginning the conversation about cannabis and its role in Kansas.

The committee voted to recommend to the Legislature an affirmative defense for out-of-state residents who carry legally obtained medical marijuana through Kansas. Should a person be stopped by law enforcement and found in possession of cannabis for medical reasons, they could argue in court the cannabis was legally prescribed in their home state.

We support this as a minimum measure and urge the Legislature to go further. It is a waste of public safety resources to prosecute men and women visiting Kansas who are using medically prescribed cannabis.

Committee members also recommended the Legislature begin discussions about medical marijuana from the framework of a bill passed in Ohio in 2016. The Ohio bill permits approved physicians to prescribe cannabis for patients with certain medical conditions, like PTSD, cancer, chronic pain and Crohn’s disease. Smoking and growing marijuana aren’t permitted under the Ohio bill. The prescription allows patients to seek cannabis treatments in the form of topicals and edibles.

While public opinion continues to rise for medical marijuana options, barriers remain from law enforcement.

“Proponents of this, they want to get high,” Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter said to the committee. “That’s my opinion of it, and that’s the opinion of law enforcement.”

It is irresponsible of the sheriff to reduce supporters of medical marijuana to high-seekers. Cannabis products are safely and legally used for medical purposes in 33 states. Kansans want what others have — the option to use the products if faced with an illness or chronic condition. And frankly, they shouldn’t have to worry about prosecution for treating medical conditions.

Chad Issinghoff, a medical doctor practicing in Hutchinson, summed up the issue nicely in his testimony: “I do not believe that medicinal cannabis is a medical panacea. Nor do I believe that the State of Kansas is opening a Pandora’s box if medicinal cannabis is approved. I do believe that medicinal cannabis might offer to those who suffer from chronic illnesses some benefit in reducing symptom severity, a decrease in conventional medication side effects, increased ability to tolerate a wide variety of symptoms, and to better function in society.”

Kansas doesn’t have to create anything new. The Legislature would be wise to assess what’s working across the country and adopt a reasonable policy that allows adults the ability to access cannabis-based remedies prescribed by a doctor.

Topeka Capital-Journal

(7) comments

SnowGypsy

What I see as the reason that marijuana and add prostitution are not legal has more to do with the criminal element making money off of those than any moral or other issue that one might see. I became familiar with how illegal drug trade moves through KS, known routes, known individuals and it is mostly just "observed". The criminal element has a lot of power, money buys power. It was very disappointing, the war on drugs? So much money is sent into the cities to support this "war on drugs", and if it is won, which is impossible, or more likely if marijuana was legalized, that cash won't flow. We practice homeopathic medicine, and even the government is sniffing around that trying to find a way to restrict that. Big Pharma is almost a criminal element themselves. Oh, and the prison industry is one of the few large industries in the USA along with the poverty industry. Now, think of all those higher paying jobs in the prison industries, and the poverty industry which are closely tied together. Complicated and distressing, I do not want to think about it anymore today!

SeanRanklin

I love reading the difference between AimHigh's comments and yours. One actually has facts that I can research while the other one is projection.

SnowGypsy

Actually, what you seem to enjoy, for whatever sad reason may possess you, is trying to limit my commenting by constantly insulting me, or maybe it is just the illness that so many Democrats have that make them try to shutdown any opposition to their warped reality. I could care less that I don't present you with information that you can fact check. If you had a clue, you would realize that not all information is available on the internet, sometimes you have to live it to have the information. Outsiders? Yeah, they know it all sitting in another state....................

Aim_High

Did you just whine about being insulted and then insult an entire political party in the same sentence? Nice. Anyways, please tell me how legal marijuana and the taxes it generates has harmed you, since you've "lived it" and have all the info. I can also assure you that I've also "lived it" both illegal and legal, and it's a no brainer which is smarter. You're assumptions that "cash won't flow" are silly. Marijuana is a multi billion dollar industry, cash is flowing, and drug cartels are poorer than ever. Kansas keeping marijuana illegal is inviting drug traffickers to its state. Legal states have pushed the criminal element out pretty hard, as nobody wants to have to deal with some shady person when they can just go to the store.

SeanRanklin

Hahaha you are hopeless at projecting things.

Aim_High

Just to add to this, the CBD hype is just hype. CBD is just one of many many cannabinoids found in cannabis, and is mainly used to increase appetite and help with insomnia. Granted it was the first cannabinoid "found" to have medicinal properties, there are more being found all the time. CBC, CBD, CBDA, CBCA, CBE, CBG, and CBN are all cannabinoids with medicinal properties. CBD is also only one chemical bond away from THC and can be converted. Just google CBD to THC and see for yourself.

Also worth saying Delta 9 THC, the single component conservatives hate, is only one of many forms of THC. There are other forms of THC that are medicinally beneficial that aren't psychoactive, such as THC-A (acid form of THC), Delta 8 THC, and also the newer discovery of THCV, a cannabinoid found with the ability to regulate blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.

One day we will look back in time and laugh at the idea that THC=evil and CBD=good. Our bodies all have an endocannabinoid system with endocannabinoid receptors throughout our bodies. All animals have one, too.

Aim_High

In my opinion medical marijuana is great and all, but full legalization is when it changes from a money waster to a money maker. The recreational users pay a higher tax (25%) and are limited to a certain quantity in their possession, and in turn medical patients pay lower or no tax, and are able to buy larger quantities and stronger dosages, as well as grow their own medicine. Kansas is already too poor to spend money setting up and enforcing a medical marijuana program, and people without a card will still be using anyway. The smarter option is to sit back and collect the tax dollars and licensing fees, and spend the money generated on testing and ensuring citizens are receiving safe product. Maybe use the leftover cash to fund your schools properly and give some relief to the homeless. That would be so much better than the current wasting of money arresting, convicting, and housing marijuana offenders.

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