Kansas remains one of only two states with no medical marijuana law whatsoever
Last update: June 9, 2017
Kansas’ 2017 legislative session was one of the longest ever, but the legislature still did not manage to make progress on medical marijuana. Kansas is one of only two states whose laws lack any acknowledgement of the medical benefits of cannabis (the other is Idaho).
Several bills were introduced this year that would have created comprehensive medical cannabis programs, and others were introduced that would have provided more limited protections for patients using low-THC cannabis products. Unfortunately, they all died in committee.
Lawmakers are far behind their constituents on this issue; sixty-eight percent of Kansans support patient access to medical marijuana, which studies show can provide relief for patients suffering from serious conditions like cancer, HIV/AIDS, and multiple sclerosis. Please take a moment to let your state lawmakers know you support compassionate access to medical marijuana in Kansas.
Bills reducing penalties for marijuana and paraphernalia possession passed in 2016 and 2017
During the 2016 session, the Kansas Legislature enacted HB 2462, which took effect on July 1, 2016. It reduced penalties for first-time marijuana possession by half, from one year to six months in jail. A second offense was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year.
A lengthy bill that included a minor penalty reduction, SB 112, passed during the 2017 session and took effect May 18, 2017. It reduced the maximum penalty for possession of marijuana paraphernalia (such as grow lights) used to cultivate five or fewer plants from one year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. This change does not impact the penalty for growing marijuana, which is a separate crime.
Given that recent polls show that 63% of Kansans support decriminalizing marijuana and imposing a civil fine, there is tremendous support for a further step — eliminating criminal penalties altogether. If you agree, ask your legislators to remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession.
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