Pro-cannabis Governor of Kansas says she must prioritize medical cannabis over recreational legalization

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

The Governor of Kansas has confirmed that she is supportive of legalizing recreational cannabis across the state. However, on Thursday, January 2, 2020, Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced that – in spite of her support – she is obliged to deal with the medical aspect of legalization before dabbling in the adult-use sector.

Nonetheless, if lawmakers send a bill to legalize recreational cannabis to the Governor’s desk, she admits that she would likely pass it. If this were to happen, Kansas would become the 12th U.S. state to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes

For 2020, the Governor’s main focus is to assist families with poorly children in obtaining pharmaceutical-grade cannabis treatments. Gov. Kelly also made a point of noting that medical cannabis legalization could help resolve the opioid crisis; responsible for killing tens of thousands of people across the U.S. on an annual basis.

“I haven’t really decided what I would do. This is something where what the people want is probably more what I’ll want on something like that,” Kelly explained to an interviewer for WIBW. “I don’t have a personal ideology regarding it. If the folks want it and the legislature passes it, would I sign it? Probably.”

2020 legislative session will see Governor focus on medical cannabis legalization in Kansas

Kansas Gov. Kelly hasn’t been shy about voicing her opinion on the subject of cannabis redorm. Back in 2018, during her election campaign, she frequently declared her support for medical cannabis. Even though she is all for legal weed in Kansas, she will be pouring her energy into medical cannabis legalization for the 2020 session. 

“I have always said that I want it well-regulated so that it’s controlled so that it’s not the first step to legalization of [cannabis]. I don’t want that. I want it to be seen as a pharmaceutical and controlled as we do that,” she said, adding that, “I do believe that medical [cannabis] needs to be legalized. I also think that it would help with the opioid crisis.”

Gov. Kelly acknowledged the fact that cannabis possesses medical benefits, stating that she feels it would make a major difference to the lives of families who have children diagnosed with rare types of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome. In June 2018, British drugs company GW Pharmaceuticals gained FDA approval for Epidiolex, which is the only cannabis-derived medicine to gain such approval. The medicine is specifically for patients aged two and above with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-gastaut syndrome.

Annual survey reveals growing support for cannabis legalization in Kansas

The pro-cannabis Governor of Kansas – although supportive of the prospect of legal weed – said that she doesn’t “think Kansas is ready to go there.” Nonetheless, the general public seem to have a different opinion.

Data gleaned from the annual Kansas Speaks survey indicated that 63 percent of Kansans want cannabis to be legalized for recreational purposes. On that note, it’s clear that legalization would ensue if a bill makes its way to Gov. Kelly’s desk in the near future.

“I’m fully aware of the desire that people have for the legalization of medical [cannabis],” Kelly affirmed in an interview with KSNT. “I support it and I hope the legislature deals with it.”

Taking into account Gov. Kelly’s words and the fact that the majority of Kansans want legal weed means that the probability of cannabis being legalized to some extent in the near future is high. (No pun intended.)