As a former Kansas resident, I was overjoyed when I saw the headline announcing a medical marijuana bill had passed from the Kansas House to the Senate. Since leaving the state, I had only returned to visit family once due to law enforcement's harsh bias against cannabis workers. However, once I began reading through the bill, my spirits began to drop.
On March 6, 2021, the Kansas House passed H Sub for SB 158, effectively passing it on to the Kansas Senate. The 124 page document details the rules and regulations for a Kansas medical marijuana program. However, the bill is so full of contradictions, it is almost a joke to say it is a "legalization" bill.
Under New Section 30 (page 37 of the bill), plant material is listed as one of the legal products that would be allowed to be sold to patients under Kansas law. However, a few lines down, the bill states, "The smoking, combustion or vaporization of medical marijuana is prohibited."
This is just one of the glaring issues with H Sub for SB 158. The list continues with regulations such as;
"Plant material shall have a tetrahydrocannabinol content of not more than 35% in its final, dispensed form"
"Extracts shall have a tetrahydrocannabinol content of not more than 70% in their final, dispensed form"
"A licensed cultivator shall not cultivate medical marijuana for personal, family or household use"
It's safe to say the Kansas medical marijuana bill is full of contradictions and is designed to placate cannabis supporters while only creating a heavily restricted market that benefits the government. High licensing fees, a restricted list of medical qualifiers, and a number of other regulations contribute to a legalization bill that hardly holds up the term "legalize".
While this bill is a letdown for many cannabis advocates, it is hardly surprising. Kansas is one of the remaining few states without legal cannabis law on its books while its neighboring states have been raking in tax revenue. And while the headline appears positive, it is encouraged to take the time and read through the bill. After all, legal hardly means legal if the mass majority of the population is still restricted from the subject at hand.