Kansas could soon become one of the next states to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.
On Monday, the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee heard testimony over a proposal (Senate Bill 155) aimed at legalizing marijuana for patients suffering from debilitating conditions. If approved, patients with severe health issues, including cancer, chronic pain, and epilepsy, would have access to cannabis medicine with a doctor’s recommendation.
Similar bills have been introduced in the past, but failed to gain any traction within the confines of the legislative brass. However, there is hope that the ever-changing landscape surrounding the marijuana movement may persuade lawmakers to give some serious consideration to the issue in 2017.
During the meeting, the Senate panel heard testimony from a number of pro-pot supporters, including the American Civil Liberties Union. A representative for the Kansas chapter told lawmakers that a patient’s healthcare should be determined by a doctor – not a bunch of politicians.
“Kansas should have the right to make decisions about their own health care, in consultation with their doctors,” Micah Kubic, Kansas director of the ACLU, told the Capital-Journal.
The Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police was also on hand to offer its opposition to the bill.
Ed Klumpp, a lobbyist for the organization, told the panel that legalizing marijuana in any capacity would make it more difficult for law enforcement to stop the illegal marijuana trade.
“We do not need to set up an alternative medical dispensing process with a false front of head shops to support the use of a drug with alternative methods of physician ‘approval’ which are questionable at best for the vast majority of those receiving them,” Klumpp said.
As it stands, over half the nation has a medical marijuana program in place similar to what is being proposed in Kansas.
A recent report from the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine found that marijuana is effective for pain, nausea associated with chemotherapy, muscle spasms and insomnia. However, the study authors concluded that more research is needed to determine the herb’s efficacy on conditions ranging from cancer to epilepsy.