Kansas’ medical cannabis bill makes headway in committee


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Kansas legislators are preparing to discuss a medical cannabis legalization proposal that could completely transform the state’s economy, not to mention make life easier for people who’ve exhausted alternative treatment options.

House Bill 2184 has already flown through the Kansas Committee on Federal and State Affairs and will now make its way to the full House of Representatives for further contemplation.

No other bill of this kind has progressed so far. Before it can gain the governor’s signature and be signed into law, it must first gain approval in the Senate.

What would happen if Kansas’ medical cannabis bill gains approval?

In a world where Kansas legalizes medical cannabis, patients would first need to register via a state health department and obtain a physician certification. Once in possession of a certification, the patient could be awarded with a medical cannabis card.

Businesses that are entitled to cultivate, sell and produce cannabis products would not be limited under Kansas’ medical cannabis bill. The same cannot be said for nearby Missouri, which runs a pretty tight ship in terms of its regulated program. Moreover, HB 2184 would impose much less harsh licensing fees than Missouri, and also Ohio.

Conversely, while Missouri’s medical cannabis market allows patients to procure smokeable flower and vape pens, Kansas’ medical cannabis bill forbids the use, sale and manufacturing of such products. Instead, the market would welcome cannabis edibles, tinctures and oils. Home-growing would also be prohibited.

“Five years ago, I don’t know that I would have supported it. Now, I’m more Libertarian on that aspect of it in the first place, so that’s partially why I supported it. And also because of the support my constituents have for it,” said Rep. Samantha Poetter (R-Paola), who noted that medical cannabis legalization in Kansas is supported by 80 percent of her constituents.

“If we legalize on the medical side, we get rid of the black market side and we lower that cost to those who are already doing it and taking tax dollars from that, so it’s a win-win,” Poetter added. 

Since this bill is the only one with GOP support – unlike others that have failed to win over the committee in the past – there’s a good chance that Poetter’s visions will transpire into reality.

Cannabis advocacy group support amendments to broaden consumption options in Kansas 

The Kansas Cannabis Coalition – which comprises Bleeding Kansas Advocates, KS NORML, Kansas Cannabis Business Association and Kansas Nurses for Medical Cannabis – back numerous amendments that would permit the sale, use and production of flower and vaporized cannabis products.

“We wanted to open up a dialogue and get it in the middle somewhere. There were a couple of things we just could not advocate for and license caps are certainly one of those,” said the co-director of KS NORML, George Hanna.

“When you regulate something down to that extent, you open yourself up to litigation and potential corruption. The ‘blue sky’ value of licenses, and it really muddies the water.”

Estimates published by NORML indicate that medical cannabis revenue in Kansas could top  $98 million within the first two years; projections are based on 120,000 people applying for a card. With ongoing efforts to eliminate cannabis from its Schedule I status, Kansas lawmakers are certainly feeling the pressure.

“If Kansas doesn’t act before it’s federally relaxed, then the narrative completely does a 180 and Kansas has to rethink their position on what they want to do,” Hanna added.

The bill will make its way to the House floor next week.