Kansas Lawmakers Reject Medical Cannabis Reforms for Another Year

Kansas lawmakers in a Senate committee tabled this year’s medical cannabis legalization proposal, effectively killing it until next January.

Full story after the jump.

Kansas lawmakers have opted to table the state’s medical cannabis legalization proposal and the bill is unlikely to be considered again until January 2025, the Kansas Capital Bureau reports.

Lawmakers heard testimony about Senate Bill 555 on Thursday before tabling the bill. Kansas lawmakers have now rejected medical cannabis legalization three years in a row after last year’s proposal was similarly tabled in the Senate Committee on Federal and State Affairs — that event had followed yet another proposal from 2022.

This year’s bill, which was crafted by Wichita-based hemp producer Kansas Natural Remedies (KNR), was rejected despite being designed to create one of the country’s most restrictive medical cannabis programs.

“I’m sure this is going to be something that’s going to be attempted every session from here on out… and we just have to remain vigilant and say… wait a minute… let’s look at the facts,” the committee chair Sen. Mike Thompson (R) said in the report. “It will increase the amount of violence and drug cartels….”

Law enforcement representatives also voiced concerns about the effects of loosening the state’s cannabis laws.

KNR Chief Operating Officer Sam Jones said they were “angry” about the decision, arguing that opponents had alluded to non-existent provisions to allow psychedelics when determining to table the proposal for another year.

“The argument against medical cannabis is one of fear and ignorance. This bill was crafted to be as restrictive as possible, but that still wasn’t enough to get it over the line for some of the people buying into the fear.” — Jones, via the Kansas Capitol Bureau

If passed, the =proposal would have established medical cannabis access for patients with one of 16 debilitating medical conditions. Patients would have required a doctor’s recommendation to access the program and the industry would have only supported four cannabis operators, which drew criticism from some advocates. Lastly, the program would have sunset itself after five years unless lawmakers acted to extend it.

A poll last year found that nearly 70% of Kansas voters support fully legalizing cannabis.

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