Early in-person voting began Wednesday, October 17. Registered voters can cast their ballots early anytime from now through Monday, November 5. Then, the Kansas general election is set for Tuesday, November 6.
Here’s a look at where gubernatorial candidates stand on marijuana policy: Laura Kelly (D) is supportive of medical marijuana, while Kris Kobach (R) opposes it. You can find more information on Kansas’ current marijuana policies here.
You can find more information on registration and voting here.
Please forward this message to your family and friends, and be sure to get out and vote!
In a small step forward for patients who could benefit from medical cannabis, the definition of “marijuana” under Kansas law was changed by SB 282 to exclude cannabidiol (CBD). However, because state law separately bans tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), it will be difficult for medical cannabis patients to take advantage of this provision, because most CBD products contain at least trace amounts of THC (“hemp” is sometimes defined as 0.3% THC or less).
The bill itself does not provide for in-state access to CBD oils in Kansas, and CBD products are generally still illegal under federal law, as the Drug Enforcement Administration clarified in a rule that was recently upheld in federal court. But, there may be a narrow exception under a federal law allowing hemp research programs — and Gov. Colyer also recently signed a bill that will create such a program in Kansas.
While there are a number of “CBD” products available online, these products are typically unregulated, and unfortunately some do not actually contain the amount of CBD on the label — or any at all — or they also contain THC or dangerous compounds such as heavy metals. A more reliable way to obtain CBD oil would be to get it in a state with a regulated cannabis market such as Colorado, but doing so can be costly and onerous.
Despite its limitations, this is step forward. Once the law takes effect (which will happen when it is formally published), if patients are caught in possession of CBD oil that contains no THC, they will no longer be subject to prosecution for marijuana possession under Kansas law. With the passage of this bill, Idaho is now the only remaining state that does not acknowledge the medical benefits of cannabinoids in any way!
Kansas lawmakers began their 2018 legislative session last week with several marijuana bills before them, including SB 187 / HB 2348, the Kansas Safe Access Act. This bill would create an effective medical marijuana program in Kansas.
These bills were introduced in 2017 (the legislative session carries over from 2017 to 2018), yet never even received a hearing. And, Kansas is one of only two states in the entire U.S. that does not even have a limited low-THC medical cannabis law. Seriously ill Kansans deserve better.
If you are a Kansas resident, please ask your representatives to show compassion and allow patients access to treatments that can help alleviate the suffering associated with serious conditions like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. Medical marijuana can also help reduce patients’ use of dangerous opiates.
A proposal to make Kansas the 29th medical marijuana state has been introduced by Senator David Haley (D-Kansas City), and it’s supported by local advocacy group Bleeding Kansas. SB 155, the Kansas Safe Access Act, would allow seriously ill Kansas residents with certain qualifying conditions to access medical marijuana with a doctor's recommendation.
Sixty-eight percent of Kansans believe that marijuana should be legal for medical purposes. There are a multitude of studies that show that medical marijuana can help patients suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other devastating conditions. These patients should not have to wait any longer or risk jail time to access treatments that may help them.
If you are a Kansas resident, please contact your lawmakers and urge them to support this sensible legislation.
Early Monday morning, the Kansas Legislature ended their session after meeting for only 78 of the 90 scheduled days. They did take a small step forward by passing a bill that reduces the penalties for marijuana possession. A first offense would be punishable by a maximum of six months, instead of one year, in jail and a second offense would no longer be a felony. The bill now heads to Gov. Brownback’s desk, and will become law if he does not veto it within 10 days.
Unfortunately, the legislature did not pass any type of protections for medical marijuana patients, although it considered several bills to do so. The House did pass a bill, sponsored by Rep. John Wilson, which would have allowed patients to use low-THC medical cannabis and provided for in-state access. Although those provisions did not pass the Senate, it is significant because this is the first time any type of medical marijuana bill was passed by either chamber of the Kansas Legislature.
If you are a Kansas resident, please ask your legislators to consider a comprehensive medical marijuana bill next year.
The first bill, now called SB 147, would permit patients with seizures to access low-THC cannabis, called medical hemp preparations in the bill. While it is not a full medical marijuana law and would leave many patients behind, the bill proposes a workable system to provide immediate relief to some seriously ill Kansans. In addition, by passing the House, it has advanced much further than any medical marijuana bill ever has in Kansas.
The second bill, which is currently designated as the Senate Sub. for HB 2049, would reduce the penalty for first, second, and third-time marijuana possession. A first offense would be punishable by a maximum of six months, instead of one year, in jail, and a second offense would no longer be a felony, removing many of the associated collateral consequences. The Senate combined the marijuana-related provisions with another bill that increases penalties for burglary, on which MPP does not take a position.
If you are a Kansas resident, please urge your senators to support common sense reform.
Yesterday, voters in Wichita, Kansas approved a ballot measure that greatly reduces the penalties for marijuana possession.
The Wichita Eagle reports:
Of the 37,000 Wichita voters, 54 percent said they wanted more lenient penalties for first-time offenders. About 45 percent wanted to keep the status quo.
The major provision of the ballot initiative was to reduce the punishment for a first-time marijuana conviction to a $50 fine. Violations would be an infraction that wouldn’t have to be disclosed on most job and college scholarship applications.
Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, attended an Election Night party with the measure’s supporters and said she hopes the win in Wichita will send a message to the capital for the state to ease up on marijuana....
Attorney General Derek Schmidt has issued an opinion that the initiative is unlawful, primarily because it conflicts with state law....Under state law, first-time marijuana possession is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a penalty of as much as a $2,500 fine and a year in jail. Legally, that puts it on par with violent offenses including assaulting a police officer.
Supporters of marijuana regulation in Colorado are calling for the resignation of the six Colorado sheriffs who filed a federal lawsuit Thursday intended to force Colorado marijuana production and sales back into the underground market.
According to news reports, the sheriffs claim they are experiencing a “crisis of conscience” because they believe federal marijuana laws prohibit them from enforcing state marijuana laws. However, the U.S. Controlled Substances Act includes a provision that clearly states is not intended to preempt state laws, and it specifically authorizes states to pursue their own marijuana laws.
MPP's Mason Tvert explains on "CBS This Morning":
A Kansas bill that would reduce harsh penalties for people found in possession of marijuana received a strong vote of support yesterday from the House Committee on Corrections and Juvenile Justice. HB 2049 received a unanimous vote by the committee and will now be presented on the floor of the House for a vote.
If you are a Kansas resident, please take a moment and ask your representative to support this important legislation.
HB 2049 would drop the sentence range for first time offenders from a Class A to a Class B misdemeanor -- reducing the possible maximum jail sentence from a year to six months and reducing the maximum fine from $2,500 to $1,000. Second-time offenders would likewise see a reduction in penalties – taking them from a felony to a misdemeanor.
According to testimony by the Kansas Sentencing Commission, these simple changes represent over a million dollars in savings and would free up space in overcrowded jails. While a majority of Americans prefer a system that would remove criminal penalties entirely for adult consumers, these changes would represent a welcome improvement for those who choose a substance that is safer than alcohol.
In 2013, Senator David Haley introduced SB 9, which would establish a compassionate medical marijuana program in Kansas similar to the programs in 20 other states. That bill is still alive, but it has yet to be called to a vote in committee. In order to bring attention to the issue, he will be leading a rally to support patient access starting on the first floor of the Kansas Capitol Rotunda.
Despite the repeated requests of voters, MPP supporters, and Sen. Haley himself, the chairperson for the Committee on Public Health and Welfare has refused to set the bill for a hearing. Please help this important bill be heard. If you attend, please be sure to dress professionally and be respectful to all legislators. The rally begins at 9:30 a.m., but please arrive early. Participants are invited to remain afterwards to talk with senators and representatives to support access to medical marijuana.
A sizeable majority of Kansans support allowing medical marijuana. The legislature should stop frustrating the clear will of the voters and allow seriously ill patients to have access to a medicine that is safer than many pharmaceuticals.