Even though the idea was introduced three years ago and the governor is on board, medical marijuana isn’t going to pass in the Kansas Legislature this year, according to Sen. Jeff Longbine, a Republican who was the architect of the bill legalizing medical marijuana.
Currently 37 states, three territories and the District of Columbia allow the medical use of cannabis products, and the idea of legalizing it federally has gained traction in Congress, though the Senate isn’t likely to pass it anytime soon.
The way it’s going, Kansas may be the last state in the Union to legalize medical marijuana – which is a shame.
No matter where you are in the legalization debate, the one thing that both sides have consensus on is that there are medical benefits to cannabis.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services, medical benefits of cannabis “may include causing certain rare forms of epilepsy, nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, and loss of appetite and weight loss associated with HIV/AIDS. In addition, some evidence suggests modest benefits of cannabis or cannabinoids for chronic pain and multiple sclerosis symptoms.”
This organization also acknowledges that research on the medical benefits of cannabis is in its early stages, there are certain risks including addiction – particularly among teens and young adults – and cautions against overuse of the more potent varieties.
However, cannabis is also seen as a better alternative to opioids and barbiturates currently being used for medical purposes, which are also very addictive and carry certain risks.
The argument against medical marijuana is that it has become a path for legalization for recreational use. Most states that have legalized medical marijuana have legalized recreational use for 21 and over within five years. Recreational use opens up another can of worms and problems Kansas isn’t ready for and we shouldn’t allow recreational use for a lot of good reasons.
But that doesn’t mean medical use has to be off the table.
We’re heard far too many stories about how terminal patients have snuck in smoking a little bit of weed that greatly reduced their pain when nothing else did. We should legalize it for that reason alone.
We urge our legislators to reconsider medical marijuana. It’s about time Kansas caught up with the rest of the country.