Positive discussion continues in 2015, but no policy improvements
Last update: July 21, 2015
During the now-closed 2015 legislative session, two long-time advocates for compassionate medical marijuana laws again sponsored bills to create a workable medical marijuana system. Sen. David Haley and Rep. Gail Finney introduced identical bills that would have allowed patients to safely access and use medical cannabis, as is the case in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, both bills died this session. Seventy percent of Kansans support medical marijuana, which received a resolution in support from the Kansas Silver Haired Legislature. Please take a moment to encourage your senator and representative to pass a medical marijuana law that can help seriously ill patients in Kansas.
As important as it is to provide a safe and effective medicine to seriously ill patients, it is equally important that Kansas abandon its draconian laws related to the possession of a small amount of marijuana. As explained more fully below, Kansas has some of the harshest laws in the country. When 54% of adult Americans believe marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, and 76% do not believe people should be jailed for possession, it’s past time for Kansas to reconsider the tax dollars spent enforcing such an unpopular set of laws. If you agree, please contact your senator and representative that Kansas remove criminal penalties that can hurt careers, housing, and limit educational opportunities.
Marijuana laws in Kansas
Possession of any amount of marijuana — even a single gram — can land Kansans in jail for up to a year, as well as a $1,000 fine. If they’re caught with marijuana again, they could be convicted of a felony and face up to three and a half years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Studies have shown that these types of harsh penalties do not reduce marijuana consumption rates and law enforcement efforts take time away from serious crime. Instead, they cost taxpayers money and needlessly ruin lives. It’s time for a different approach. Based on 2012 figures reported by state law enforcement to the FBI, there were over 4,700 arrests or citations for marijuana-related offenses during the year in Kansas, most of them for possession. During the same period, over 92% of all burglaries, including home invasions, and over 66% of all reported rapes went unsolved by law enforcement.
Many legislators around the country are now beginning to understand the benefits of a taxed and regulated approach to marijuana access for adults. If you agree it’s time to take marijuana off the criminal market, legalize it for adults, and tax and regulate it similarly to alcohol, be sure to tell your state senator and representative.
Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project and all of our allies. Please subscribe to our free legislative alert service to receive updates on marijuana policy reform efforts in Kansas.