The Kansas House of Representatives shot down an amendment to legalize medical marijuana on Monday, rejecting the Kansas Safe Access Act by a vote of 54-69.
Sunflower State lawmakers said more research was needed to implement a full-scale medical cannabis program, but showed strong support for sales of non-psychoactive, hemp-derived CBD products.
According to the Kansas City Star, the comprehensive medical cannabis legislation was added to the House of Representatives voting schedule as an amendment to a seperate update to the state’s controlled substance listings.
The amendment was inserted into the state’s larger legislative drug policy deliberations by Representative Cindy Holscher, who told fellow legislators her daughter suffered from ruhmitoid arthritis, and argued that she should be able to try cannabis as a replacement to her otherwise destructive pharmaceutical medication.
Like legalization supporters across the country, Holscher pointed out the state’s problems with prescription opioid abuse and overdose, and implored legislators to support cannabis as an all-natural replacement.
“Please don’t make us lawbreakers,” Holscher said, according to radio station KCUR. “Give us an option for something that has been proven to work.”
Even after Holscher’s amendment was narrowly rejected though, Sunflower State cannabis advocates have still expressed confidence that Monday’s vote, and the debate that preceded it, were positive steps for the notoriously prohibitionist state.
“Today was the most legislative discussion we have ever had in three years of the Kansas Safe Access Act,” Lisa Sublett, founder and president of legalization advocacy group Bleeding Kansas Advocates, told the Kansas City Star.
Further, even as Kansas Representatives put off a fully regulated medical cannabis program for at least one more legislative session, the heartland lawmakers did give preliminary support to a separate amendment that would legalize the sale of industrial hemp-based CBD products. Similar to businesses in prohibitionist states like Tennesseeand Alabama, Kansas health food shops have been selling hemp-derived CBD edibles and oils for years, but have recently faced cease and desist requests from state officials, who claimed last month that those products did not meet state-controlled substance requirements.
Now, if given final approval from state Representatives and the Kansas Senate, retailers could soon sell CBD products freely.
In addition to the initial support for industrial hemp CBD sales, Kansas Representatives also approved a provision to remove the drug kratom from the state’s controlled substance list. In the midst of America’s continued opioid addiction crisis, kratom has emerged as yet another plant-based alternative to the deadly pharmaceutical painkillers.
By Zach Harris – Merry Jane