The state of cannabis in Kansas is currently clear. For either medical or recreational purposes, it is illegal.
But for how long Kansas holds to its strict policy is yet to be seen. The Marijuana Policy Project reports that Kansas is one of two remaining states with no existing medical marijuana laws, the only other being Idaho. With the 2017 legislative session effectively over after the passage of a state budget, it is safe to say medical marijuana will remain categorically illegal in its myriad forms for at least another year.
Though two bills that would have legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes, respectively, were introduced at the statehouse this past session, both of them died in committee.
Lawmakers such as Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, argued that the profitable crop could help pull Kansas out of a budget shortfall estimated at $900 million over the next two years. He cited the success the crop has brought to Colorado’s state tax revenue since its legalization, and said the state to the west could serve as an example of how Kansas might benefit financially.
But for many, the risks are not worth the reward. State Rep. John Wheeler, R-Garden City, who is a former Finney County attorney, said he is “sympathetic” to “good medical use” for cannabis and its derivative compounds, provided that there be little to no psychoactive effect.
Despite that concession, Wheeler said he is “inclined not to favor” cannabis for medical uses at this time. He explained that research delving into the benefits of medical cannabis is anecdotal and “not medically established.”
“But I am certainly willing to listen should that come up, and listen to the witnesses and gauge their reliability,” he said.
Wheeler noted that Colorado, California, Oregon and Washington all began as medical marijuana