Now that so many states have legalized medical marijuana, many states who have held onto their conservative views are starting to realize they need to make a change – especially as their residents move away where medical marijuana is legally accessible to them.
Kansas is an example of a state that has neglected to move forward on a single piece of medical marijuana legislation in previous years, but activists are hopeful that a new bill will have a better chance now that the general public acceptance of medical cannabis has grown so significantly.
“If there is something that helps somebody this much, there is no reason why they shouldn’t have access to it, to better their life,” Marling said.
Senate Bill 155 aims to legalize medical marijuana for a number of different qualifying conditions including cancer, epilepsy, and chronic pain. It would give physicians the right to recommend the medicine as well as create a licensed medical marijuana industry that would supply patients with different cannabis-infused products.
Introduced and written by Senator David Haley, the bill has already been heard in the Senate Federal and States Affairs Committee, who heard testimony from both supporters of the bill and those who oppose it.
Supporters cited things like giving people with no other option access to a medicine that works, the number of people who are prepared to move to get that treatment or already have, and the potential revenue that could come from the new industry. All the while, opponents from the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police cited that legalizing cannabis in any form would make it harder to keep illegal sales in check.
“Kansas should have the right to make decisions about their own health care, in consultation with their doctors,” Micah Kubic, Kansas director of the ACLU, told The Capital-Journal.
In the end, what it comes down to will be what the lawmakers decide – continue the failed policies of prohibition while some of their sickest residents suffer needlessly, or pass a law that could give these people a better quality of life.
If they choose not to pass this bill, then they will have to understand that activists and advocates will never give up – people deserve the right to make their own decisions when it comes to their health and many people are prepared to move in order to have that right, while others will be forced to live without it or to medicate illegally.