Medical marijuana bill appears dead in 2023 session

TOPEKA, Kan. (KWCH) – Medical marijuana legislation in Kansas likely won’t advance this session. Thursday, following two days of hearings, a Kansas Senate committee tabled a bill to legalize medical marijuana.

On Wednesday, state lawmakers heard from those in favor of medical marijuana. On Thursday, those opposed to legalizing medical marijuana had their turn to speak in the hearing. Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter was among those speaking against the measure. Easter, speaking on behalf of a law enforcement organization, highlighted one of his concerns.

“We currently have a case in Sedgwick County where a deputy, Deputy Sidnee Carter was killed in a traffic accident. That is an open case, I can’t go into a lot of detail, but what I can tell you is that the individual that was doing 88 mph when he ran a stop sign out in the county and killed our deputy was high on marijuana,” Easter said. “The problem that we’re having — [the Kansas Highway Patrol] is working that case — which is very similar from what we’re hearing from Colorado (is), ‘how much is too high?’”

After hearing Thursday’s testimony, Sen. Rick Kloos, R-Berryton, vice chair of the Federal and State Affairs Committee, said he previously was a proponent of medical marijuana reform, but his perspective shifted.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly expressed her disappointment with the legislation stalling.

“I am sorely disappointed that some legislators are saying they don’t want to move forward with legalizing medical marijuana this year, effectively turning their backs on our veterans and those with chronic pain and seizure disorders,” Kelly tweeted. “If they get their way, for yet another year, thousands of Kansans will be forced to choose between breaking the law and living without pain. I encourage Kansans to call their state legislators and tell them to legalize medical marijuana this session.”

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