In February, Senator David Haley introduced a medical marijuana bill in the Kansas Senate. Senate Bill 155, the cannabis compassion and care act, would create a distinction in Kansas state law between medical and non-medical marijuana. If this bill became law, Kansas would join 28 other states that have some form of medical marijuana law.

Senate Bill 155 borrows from other state laws regarding medical marijuana. It provides for medical marijuana cards and states that patients would qualify for medical marijuana if they have one of the following debilitating diseases: (1) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella or the treatment of these conditions; (2) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or (3) any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the department of health and environment. The bill also provides for the cultivation of marijuana for these patients and “compassion centers” to dispense it.

Senator Haley worked on a similar bill last year that never made it out of committee. However, he appears committed to continuing to raise the issue in the Kansas Legislature.

Although passage of this bill would be a dramatic step for Kansas, non-medical cultivation, possession, and distribution of marijuana would remain illegal even if this bill becomes law. (Note: Senator Haley has also introduced Senate Bill 178, seeking to legalize marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes. But that will be the subject of another post.) At this time, cultivation, possession, and distribution of marijuana are illegal in Kansas, no matter the purpose for it. Of course, this bill would not change federal law prohibiting cultivation, possession, and distribution of marijuana.

If you have been arrested or charged with a marijuana crime in Kansas state or federal court, contact Joseph Hollander & Craft’s criminal defense attorneys. With attorneys in Wichita (316-262-939), Topeka (785-234-3272), Lawrence (785-856-0143), and Overland Park (913-948-9490), we serve clients from the Oklahoma border to the Kansas City area.

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