Kansas State Senator Introduces Medical Marijuana Bill


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A Kansas bill would legalize medical marijuana for qualifying patients in the state.

The bill introduced by Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City), Senate Bill 155 (SB155) would legalize medical marijuana in pursuance of “the police power of the state to protect the health of its citizens that is reserved to the state of Kansas and its people under the 10th amendment to the United States constitution.”

Patients would be able to qualify for medical marijuana if they suffered from a number of ailments including…

(1) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella or the treatment of these conditions;
(2) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or
(3) any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the [department of health and environment]

Medical marijuana patients would be allowed to designate a caregiver under SB155, which would permit a separate individual the legal authority to grow the plant on behalf of the qualifying patient. Dispensaries in SB155 would be permitted to operate as well provided that they comply with the tax and regulatory structure established under the legislation.

Despite the federal prohibition on marijuana, measures such as SB155 and its House counterparts remain constitutional, and the feds can do little if anything to stop them in practice.

The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970 currently prohibits national legalization, but, in terms of legality, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state.

Legalization of medical marijuana in Kansas would remove a layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana. Federal prohibition would remain on the books but would be rendered irrelevant for all intents and purposes.

FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately the nearly exclusive majority of marijuana arrests under state and not federal law. As many as 99 in 100. By removing state prohibition, Kansas would sweep away much of the basis for the vast majority of marijuana arrests.

Kansas could join 27 other states which have legalized medical marijuana at some level. Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have legalized recreational cannabis with California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts soon to join them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization were passed in those states in last year’s general election.

SB155 has yet to receive a committee assignment in Kansas at the present time. It must be referred to a committee and approved before the bill can receive a full Senate vote. It is unclear whether or not this could happen during the 2017 session, but it is probably unlikely.


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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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