Two Kansas Bills Would Legalize Medical Marijuana

Two Kansas bills would legalize medical marijuana in the state, effectively rejecting the decades-long federal prohibition on the same.

House Bill 2011 (HB2011) and Senate Bill 9 (SB9) were prefiled on Jan. 2 for introduction during the 2015 legislative session. Rep. Gail Finney (D-Wichita) is responsible for the house version while Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) is responsible for the senate version. Both bills contain the same language.

The bills are based on a solid foundation of anti-commandeering. They read, in part:

"States are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. Therefore, compliance with the cannabis compassion and care act does not put the state of Kansas in violation of federal law."

Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana under HB2011 and SB9 include "cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, nail patella or the treatment of these conditions."

Furthermore, medical marijuana would be lawfully permitted under the bills to treat "a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis." Additional illnesses can be added at the discretion of state regulators.

Medical patients can possess "12 cannabis plants and six ounces of usable cannabis for each qualifying patient." They can also designate a caregiver to possess that same amount of marijuana on their behalf. Dispensaries are allowed under the bill to distribute medical marijuana to eligible patients. "Compassion centers," as they are referred to in the bill, would be regulated by the department of health and environment.

Qualifying medical marijuana patients operating under these bills will not face "civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau." Schools and landlords are also barred from discriminating against medical marijuana patients and caregivers by denying them based upon their lawful participation in the program.

Employers are banned from firing patients and caregivers based upon their participation in the medical marijuana program "unless a failure to do so would put an employer in violation of federal law or federal regulations." Custody rights are also not to be denied or infringed based upon lawful participation in the program.

Although the bills draw a legal distinction between recreational and medical marijuana, HB2011 and SB9 mark an enormous step in the right direction for both medical marijuana supporters and advocates of more choice in the state of Kansas.

TAKE ACTION

In Kansas: Contact your state representative, and urge them to co-sponsor HB2011. Contact your state senator, and urge them to co-sponsor SB9. You can find their contact information by clicking HERE.

In Other States: Contact your state legislators and politely demand that they introduce bills legalizing medical or recreational cannabis. You can find their contact information by clicking HERE.