Kansas’ medical marijuana bill moves out of committee

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Following previous attempts including Gov. Laura Kelly’s push for medical marijuana to go toward Medicaid expansion, Kansas lawmakers are pushing legislation to legalize medical marijuana with strict regulations. // Image courtesy of Gov. Laura Kelly

Kansas’ medical marijuana bill advanced out of committee this week and legislators are set to begin discussions. The House bill would allow medical marijuana usage in the state, but only for a specific set of 21 medical conditions. Those include chronic pain, cancer, and brain injury. 

Unlike Missouri’s tight regulations, Kansas’ bill would not limit the number of businesses that could receive a license to manufacture, grow, and sell medical marijuana. It would also issue lower licensing fees than Missouri and prevent license-holders from growing at home. 

Kansas’ bill only allows for oils, edibles, and tinctures. Smokeable flower and vape pens are not included in the bill. The Kansas Cannabis Coalition—which includes KS NORML, Bleeding Kansas Advocates, Kansas Cannabis Business Association, and Kansas Nurses for Medical Cannabis—is in support of amendments that would allow for smokeable flower and vape products. 

The bill has bipartisan support and is the first time a medical marijuana bill has made it this far in the Kansas legislature. HB 2184 follows Gov. Laura Kelly’s efforts to use revenue from medical marijuana to fund Medicaid expansion. Kansas lags behind 36 other states as one of 14 states yet to legalize medical marijuana. 

Though it has bipartisan support, the bill still imposes tight restrictions on access to medical marijuana. A patient has to be with a provider for a year to be prescribed medical marijuana. Patients could only have a 90-day supply at any given time. If approved, the bill would finally allow Kansans to access marijuana as a medical treatment instead of going to neighboring states to get care. A move that would bring more revenue to Kansas. 

Kelly is in support of the bill, as it’s already a treatment option for many Americans. 

“I want Kansans to be able to get the treatment they need here in their home state and not have to go someplace else,” Kelly said after the initial House hearing of the bill. 

The Kansas House will hear the bill when they resume session next week. 

Categories: Politics