It’s been a long and —so far at, least, fruitless — journey for medical marijuana advocates in Kansas. Now, state lawmakers say they’re ready to take yet another shot at legalizing medicinal Cannabis, reports KCUR.
Republican Sen. Rob Olson chairs the 2022 Special Committee on Medical Marijuana. Olson said he plans to introduce a bill at the beginning of the January legislative session. He said passing legislation out of committee would be too difficult. So he plans to introduce it in the Senate as an alternative approach.
He encouraged lawmakers in the House to introduce similar legislation.
“I think that’s probably the best way forward,” Olson said.
“Kansas Says No”?
During Friday’s committee meeting, several members of the audience wore “Kansas Says No” stickers. They wanted to register their disapproval even of limited medical legalization.
“Opening up that window leads to all kinds of corruption,” Wichita resident Denise Meirowsky claimed. She claimed experiences with her 19-year-old son, who uses marijuana as self-medication for mental and emotional issues, showed her the negative influence of Cannabis.
“It causes him not to have any ambition, not want to work, not want to do anything because of the abuse of marijuana,”Meirowsky claimed. “I haven’t been convinced yet of the medical benefits,” said the mother, who has no medical training and possibly deficient parenting skills. “I’ve seen personally what it’s done to my own son.”
A Step Forward
On the other side of the room, Wichita State University senior Laura Cunningham, there as part of a school assignment, said she supports medical marijuana as a step forward for Kansas.
“I feel like a lot of people who do smoke marijuana are very productive members of society, and actually function better because of it,” Cunningham said. She added, “I think a lot of people have found this balance that is appropriate for them as an individual, and that’s what really matters.
“I don’t think that legalizing marijuana is going to necessarily cause this huge influx of people not having the motivation to participate in society,” Cunningham said.
Kansas House Approved Medical Marijuana Last Year
In 2021, the Kansas House approved medical marijuana legalization. But Senate Bill 560, which would have allowed for the cultivation, distribution, processing, dispensing and purchase of medical marijuana and paraphernalia, died in committee.
Republican Senate President Ty Masterson said budget and school funding legislation were a higher priority to him than medical marijuana.
Someone really needs to tell this dude he should try walking and chewing gum at the same time.
Last Committee Meeting Dec. 15
Sen. Cindy Holscher, D-Overland Park, said she hoped medical marijuana legalization legislation would pass the Senate this time. But she remembered last year’s failure.
“The whole issue is last year, we had a very strong bill that passed the House,” Holscher said. “And Senate President Ty Masterson wouldn’t allow it to move forward. So I know there are different parties who have been reaching out to him to remind him of how important an issue this is to a lot of different people. So time will tell.”
The last meeting of the medical marijuana committee will be held Thursday, Dec. 15. Committee members expect to finalize proposals for the bill at the meeting.