TOPEKA — Kansas would allow a form of medical marijuana under legislation heard Monday by a Senate panel.
The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee considered Senate Bill 155, which would legalize marijuana use for some debilitating medical conditions, with a doctor’s recommendation.
The legislation comes after failed attempts in the past to advance forms of marijuana legalization and authorize the use of hemp oil to treat some conditions.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas urged lawmakers to support the bill, saying the state should recognize marijuana as a potential cure, not a crime. The organization pointed to the use of medical marijuana nationwide. More than a dozen states removed penalties for medical use during the past 20 years.
“Kansans should have the right to make decisions about their own health care, in consultation with their doctors,” Micah Kubic, ACLU of Kansas director, said in a statement.
Ed Klumpp, a lobbyist for multiple law enforcement associations, said the associations aren’t experts on evaluating whether marijuana has legitimate medical uses but warned against unintended consequences and bypassing the physician-pharmaceutical system.
“We do not need to set up an alternative medical dispensing process with a false front of head shops to support the use of a drug with alternative methods of physician ‘approval’ which are questionable at best for the vast majority of those receiving them,” Klumpp said.
Some supporters of legalization want lawmakers to pursue a more robust bill. Christine Gordon, vice president of Bleeding Kansas, said another bill, known as the Kansas Safe Access Act, is ecologically sustainable and includes water conservation and recycling mandates.
Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, said the Kansas Safe Act has been reviewed and constitutes a collaborative effort between lobbying groups, patients, agricultural experts and others.
“Finally, the KSAA is a Kansas-based bill that protects patients and protects Kansas and is focused on our unique needs, fiscally, culturally and ecologically,” Finney said.