Kansas activists hope for hearing on medical marijuana bill
Kansas might not be the most hospitable place for those hoping to reform our nation's broken marijuana laws, but it does border the state with the best marijuana policies in the entire world. Hopefully, that sanity trickles across the border into the Sunflower State. In fact, maybe it already has.
Last year, medical marijuana was given an informational hearing, so patients and their loved ones trekked to Topeka to urge their elected officials to remove the criminal penalties for the medical use of marijuana. This year, things may get even better. Sen. David Haley has once again filed medical marijuana legislation — Senate Bill 9 — that, if passed, would make Kansas the 19th state to allow the physician-approved use of medical marijuana. The House Standing Committee on Vision 2020 has also introduced medical marijuana legislation, HB 2198, which has been referred to the Committee on Federal and State Affairs.
Please email your legislators and ask them to support this important, compassionate legislation. There are new chairs of the House and Senate committees where the bills would be heard, so there’s reason to hope this year will yield real hearings and possibly even votes to advance this legislation to the floor.
In addition to contacting your legislators, if you or someone you know could benefit from medical marijuana and would like to get involved, please let me know. Also, if you're a doctor, patient, law enforcement officer, or clergy member, please send an email to email@example.com to find out how you can be particularly influential in informing Kansas' legislators.
Marijuana Laws in Kansas
Kansas has perhaps the most draconian marijuana laws in the country. Possession of any amount of marijuana — even a single gram — can land you in prison for up to a year, as well as a $1,000 fine. If you're caught with marijuana again, you could be convicted of a felony and face up to three and a half years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
Of course, despite harsh penalties, increasing arrest rates, and hundreds of thousands of families affected, marijuana use has actually gone up 1.74% in Kansas over the last four years. Perhaps it's time for a different approach.
You can read more about the negative consequences of Kansas' harsh marijuana laws by reading Jon Gettman, Ph.D.'s Kansas-specific report.
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