Kansas Lawmakers Introduce Medical Marijuana and Decriminalization Bills
House and Senate Bills Offer Different Approaches to Cannabis Reform
Medical marijuana retailers in Missouri have raked in over $600 million in sales since their program launched. Last weekend alone, recreational sales in Missouri topped $12 million. I guess you could say that this has spurred Kansas lawmakers to take legalization a little more seriously. Legislators now have two cannabis related bills to consider.
The comprehensive medical marijuana legalization bill (SB 135) is a lot like the bill that passed the House in 2021. Basically, we’re looking at debating the merits of the same bill that they’ve been working on for several years. Smoking and vaping would still be banned, patients could purchase up to 3 ounces at a time from a dispensary, and there is a list of qualifying medical conditions. If you’ve been following legalization efforts in Kansas for more than a year of two you’ll recognize that this is all the same story. As long as the Senate President doesn’t kill the bill (again), we should see medical marijuana pass the two chambers.
The other bill pertaining to cannabis is basically a decriminalization bill. Minority Leader Vic Miller (D-Topeka) introduced HB 2363 along with nearly three dozen other Representatives. After the Senate’s failure to act year after year, it isn’t surprising that the House would come out swinging with a bill like this. Kansans are flocking to Colorado, now Missouri, and likely soon to Oklahoma to purchase weed. In a nutshell, the bill would immediately vacate the sentences of anyone on probation or incarcerated for marijuana related violations. Their records would also be expunged. Rather than legalizing marijuana and setting up a market, this would get rid of the punishment for folks caught with pot in a notoriously anti-weed state.
Time will tell if Kansas lawmakers are serious this time about getting something passed. As long as Senate leadership lets the bill work its way out of the committee we could very well see it pass this year.