This Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 10:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M., the ACLU of Kansas will host a coalition of activists at the South Wing of the first floor of the Kansas State Capitol Building to collectively advocate for the state-wide legalization of medical marijuana. The event is called Medical Marijuana Day of Action.
“All interested press, legislators, and legislative staff are invited,” says Kansas ACLU Communications Director Esmie Tseng in a press release.
Speakers will include chronic pain patients such as veterans with PTSD or those living with cancer providing personal testimonies about how access to medical marijuana would improve their quality of life and their ability to manage their medical conditions. Other speakers will include Sharon Brett, Legal Director for the ACLU of Kansas, and Barry Grissom, former United States Attorney for the District of Kansas.
According to a press release from the ACLU of Kansas, Kansas remains just one of three states with no legal access to cannabis, even for medicinal purposes.
Kansas citizens face criminal penalties for using cannabis to ease their medical suffering. For example, according to the Kansas ACLU’s press release, last December a Hays, KS man who was terminally ill and and facing the final stages of inoperable cancer had police search his room after a hospital staffer reported the patient’s use of a THC vape pen and cannabis cream to medicate his symptoms. Though the misdemeanor the man face was quickly dismissed, the story received national attention and sparked a debate about access to medical marijuana in the state.
Further, according to the ACLU of Kansas, the criminalization of marijuana has disproportionately affected Black Kansas citizens, and Kansas ranks 12th in the nation for the largest racial disparities in arrest rates for marijuana possession in 2018. Likewise, in a 2018 study by the ACLU, Black Kansans were found to be 4.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white Kansans.
“Equitable legalization, regulation, and taxation could provide millions of dollars of revenue. By encouraging a responsible and sustainable marijuana industry, Kansas could raise millions of dollars of revenue for essential services like roads, schools, and safety—while creating new opportunities for farmers and for Kansans from all backgrounds,” says Tseng in a press release.
The Medical Marijuana Day of Action is open to the public. The rally will occur at the Kansas State Capitol Building, located at SW 8th Van Buren Road, Topeka, KS, 66612.
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