A bill to legalize cannabis for medical use was heard by the Kansas Senate’s Federal and State Affairs Committee yesterday, according to a KAKE report. Democratic State Sen. Davis Haley, the chief sponsor and author of SB.155, called the measure overdue, with benefits that “far outweigh the detriments.”

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, there are at least three other proposals being floated in both houses of the legislature, including a bill similar to one that passed the House, but died in the Senate last year.

During his testimony in front of the committee, Haley indicated that his support for the measure is not only driven by providing medical cannabis access for patients in need, but an attempt to reduce the number of deaths from prescription opioid drugs – of which there were more than 600 in Kansas in 2015.

“It’s been very clearly shown in the states where medical marijuana is authorized, there is a marked decrease in those who die, or who even abuse prescription pharmaceutical drugs,” Hadley said in a WIBW report, adding that it’s a public health, not a budget, issue.

“I won’t talk about the economy and the revenue in other states issuing from taxing marijuana. Frankly, that’s not an issue that’s big with me, but I know that it’s important to some of us,” he said in the report. “I just think that what we’re hearing is that so many people want a natural alternative to other available substances to ease an array of maladies.”

Ed Klumpp, a lobbyist for state law enforcement associations, opposed the measure, calling the medical benefits of cannabis “questionable at best.”

The bill has not yet been added to any Senate calendars for a full floor vote.

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