Kansas’s SB 158 would allow registered patients to use and safely access medical cannabis preparations, making it the 37th medical cannabis state.
On May 6, the Kansas House of Representatives approved the House substitute for SB 158 in a 79-42 vote. It now awaits consideration in the Senate. (The Senate previously passed a different version of SB 158 that was unrelated to cannabis.)
Qualifying for the Program
To legally use and access medical cannabis, patients must apply for and receive a medical cannabis card. To qualify, they must have a qualifying condition and a physician’s certification. A fee of up to $50 will apply.
The qualifying conditions are HIV/AIDS; Alzheimer's disease; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; cancer; chronic traumatic encephalopathy; Crohn's disease; epilepsy or another seizure disorder; fibromyalgia; glaucoma; hepatitis C; inflammatory bowel disease; lupus; multiple sclerosis; Parkinson's disease; post-traumatic stress disorder; sickle cell anemia; spinal cord disease or injury; Tourette's syndrome; traumatic brain injury; ulcerative colitis; and pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable. The secretary of health and environment can add or remove conditions upon petition recommended for approval by the medical marijuana advisory committee.
Qualifying patients, caregivers, and medical cannabis establishments and their staff are not subject to criminal or civil penalty for actions authorized by the bill.
Patients could possess up to a 30-day supply of medical cannabis. Caregivers may possess a 30-day supply on behalf of a patient.
A 30-day supply will be defined by regulators after consulting with the advisory committee. It must be at least three ounces or its equivalent.
The bill includes patients with medical cannabis cards from other medical cannabis states, as long as they haven’t been a Kansas resident for 180 days or more.
The bill also includes non-discrimination provisions for child custody and organ transplants.
Physician’s Role and Regulation
To certify patients, physicians must obtain a certificate from the board of healing arts. They must meet the qualifications the board establishes. An annual fee of up to $175 is required. A certificate to recommend expires annually unless renewed. To renew, physicians must complete at least two hours of medical cannabis continuing education annually.
A physician with a certificate to recommend medical cannabis may recommend medical cannabis to a patient if the patient has a qualifying condition and an on-going physician-patient relationship has existed for at least six months.
A registered patient may designate up to two registered caregivers to pick up cannabis for them. If the patient is a minor, a parent or legal guardian shall be designated as a registered caregiver.
A registered caregiver must be at least 21 years of age, except if the caregiver is the parent or legal guardian of a patient who is a minor, they can be 18.
A registered caregiver can assist no more than two patients.
Limitations and Penalties
Medical cannabis may only be dispensed in the following forms: oils, tinctures, plant material, edibles, patches, or forms approved by regulators.
Products cannot be in a form that is attractive to children.
Smoking and vaping medical cannabis is prohibited.
It is unlawful to store or leave medical cannabis where it is accessible to a minor. A violation is a Class A person misdemeanor.
Employers could continue to terminate or not hire employees — including registered patients — for testing positive for cannabis.
The secretary of health and environment would oversee the registration of patients and caregivers and issue ID cards to patients and caregivers.
The board of healing arts would provide for the certification authorizing physicians to recommend medical cannabis.
The director of alcohol beverage control would oversee the licensing of cultivators, laboratories, processors, distributors, and retail dispensaries.
Medical Cannabis Establishment Licensing
The Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) would be renamed the Division of Alcohol and Cannabis Control.
At least 15 percent of cultivator, laboratory, processor, distributor, and retail dispensary licenses would be issued to Kansas residents of Black or African American, American Indian, Hispanic or Latino, or Asian descent.
Fees and Taxes
Most business fees are $5,000 to apply and $40,000 for a license or renewal.
Cultivator fees are initially $20 per plant for a minimum of 1,000 plants.
Staff fees range from $100 to $500.
The secretary of health and environment would adopt rules and regulations for administering the medical cannabis program on or before July 1, 2023.
Within 45 days, the director of the ABC will establish a pilot program, whereby one company will grow, process, and distribute cannabis in a partnership with a Kansas university. It will develop best practices and will include three retail dispensary licenses.