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Kansas Medical Cannabis Legislation On Back Burner

Another attempt to legalize medical cannabis in Kansas has been thwarted – for now.

Multiple attempts to pass legislation have occurred in recent years and all have failed – a situation that has frustrated Governor Laura Kelly. Another bill, SB 555, was introduced last month that aimed to set up a pilot program; albeit one that would be very restricted.

But SB 555 has faced opposition from both sides of the fence. KSNT reports at a Senate Fed and State hearing held last Thursday, lawmakers tabled the bill until January 13, 2025.┬áThe hearing heard from a representative from law enforcement who expressed concerns about organized crime and “Chinese nationals” cultivating marijuana illicitly, citing the experience over the border in Oklahoma.

But even some of those supporting legalisation weren’t happy with SB 555. In a joint statement released last week, several advocacy groups expressed their disappointment in the legislation.

President of the Kansas Cannabis Chamber of Commerce Erren Wright said the extreme limitations of the proposed program would “hurt more people than they help”. Among the points of contention are the lack of cannabis operator licences that would be issued – just 4; allowing for a monopoly.

“More importantly, it is a disservice to the Kansas patients who have waited longer than everyone else in the country to legally access this life saving medicine,” said Ms Wright.

Not quite, but close. Medicinal use of marijuana has been legalized in 40 states and the District of Columbia. As at November last year, only 10 states were still holdouts, not including states that have legalized only CBD-based oils to some degree:

  • Kansas
  • Idaho
  • Wyoming
  • Nebraska
  • Wisconsin
  • Indiana
  • Tennessee
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Texas

.. and a few of those states are on the cusp of some form of legalisation.

Given the vast majority of states with legal medical cannabis, the proposed “pilot” approach for Kansas has also been criticised given good policy has been established elsewhere to draw upon.

Regardless, it doesn’t look like there will be any real progress this year and Kansas patients will need to keep their fingers crossed for 2025; by which time the state will likely find itself even more isolated. Kansas is surrounded on three sides by legal marijuana states – Oklahoma (medical), Colorado and Missouri (medical and recreational).

Steven Gothrinet
Steven Gothrinet has been part of the Hemp Gazette in-house reporting team since 2015. Steven's broad interest in cannabis was initially fueled by the realisation of industrial hemp's versatility across multiple sectors. You can contact Steve here.

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