As 2018 legislative session begins, Kansas remains one of only two states with no medical marijuana law whatsoever

 

Last update: January 18, 2018

 

Kansas’ 2017 legislative session was one of the longest ever, but the legislature still did not manage to make progress on medical marijuana. But, the bills that were introduced in 2017 — including the Kansas Safe Access Act, which would create an effective medical marijuana program — are before lawmakers again this year. Please click here to ask your lawmakers to support the Act, SB 187 / HB 2348, and to have a hearing on the bill so that patients’ voices can be heard.

Kansas is one of only two states whose laws lack any acknowledgement of the medical benefits of cannabis (the other is Idaho). 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, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy and is linked to a 25% reduction in opiate overdose deaths.


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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