Politics & Government

Kansas House debates medical marijuana bill

TOPEKA — The peaceful plains of Kansas wouldn't seem to be fertile ground for medical marijuana.

After all, Kansas was the first to embrace Prohibition, and one of the last to end it. Even today, you can't find full-strength beer on a grocery store shelf.

Yet in the same week that state lawmakers voted to make Kansas the first state to outlaw a synthetic form of pot, a Wichita legislator introduced a bill to legalize marijuana with a doctor's prescription.

"I just think it's the right thing to do," said Rep. Gail Finney, a Wichita Democrat.

Finney has lupus, which she said makes her sympathetic to those with chronic diseases such as Parkinson's, cancer and HIV.

Finney's bill would set up state-registered "compassionate care centers," where those with prescriptions could buy marijuana for the treatment of pain or debilitating illnesses. Finney's bill also would require the marijuana be grown in the Sunflower State.

Fourteen states already legalize medical marijuana in some fashion, including Kansas' neighbor Colorado. Medical marijuana bills have been introduced in several other states, including Missouri.

But Kansas? The state that made Carry Nation and her hatchet famous?

Indeed, many lawmakers said they’re not convinced there’s a need.

"Let's be honest, this would be an attempt to legalize marijuana," said Rep. Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican. "It has no benefit for pain management. All it does is make you crave another bag of chips."

To read the complete article, visit www.kansascity.com.

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