Kansas State Rep. Introduces Medical Marijuana Bill

February 5, 2010 – TOPEKA — On Thursday, a Wichita lawmaker introduced n30004172168_9974a bill that would create state-registered “compassionate care centers” allowing for people suffering from chronic illness who have a doctor’s prescription to receive medical marijuana. State Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, brought up the bill to legalize marijuana for people with prescriptions.
“Mine is kind of personal,” Finney said. “I am a lupus patient and I have been through the treatment and I have met a lot of people with chronic conditions.

One of the reasons I ran was because I wanted to be an advocate for those people.” According to The Associated Press, Rep. Scott Schwab, a Republican from Olathe, opposes the measure saying: “It has no benefit for pain management. All it does is make you crave another bag of chips.”
Kansas is the 14th state to introduce similar measures. The Maryland Legislature is currently looking into the issue as well.

“We are very pleased,” said Kurt Gardinier, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “We are happy that a Midwestern state has taken the lead to proposed a measure to help the chronically ill patients.”
The bill comes during the same week that lawmakers voted to make Kansas the first state to outlaw a synthetic form of pot, known as K2.
However, Finney said that there has been a lot of support for her measure since the news got out Thursday morning.

“To be quite honest, my e-mail has been flooded with people supporting the legislation,” Finney said. “There have been quite a few legislators support it, but they can’t publicly support it. But, sometimes making the hard decisions is not always popular and I think Kansas should be able to debate it openly.”

Gardinier said that the bill was more about patients being able to access treatment needed for chronic illnesses than just legalizing marijuana.
“Patients throughout the country should have access to that medicine without the fear of being thrown in jail for having it,” Gardinier said.
He also praised Finney for her introduction of the bill as well as saying that lawmakers should realize that studies show 80 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana.

“She realized that this is an issue that is overwhelmingly supported by Americans,” Gardinier said. “It is not going to hurt lawmakers politically and once they realize constituents support it, they will come around.”
“It is always easy to make something illegal,” Finney said. “But, there are some people that have been secretly using marijuana because it helps with their pain.”

There has been no hearing scheduled for Finney’s bill.


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