A bill that would have legalized medical marijuana in Kansas is officially dead for this session. It was stalled three weeks ago in the Senate Committee on Health Care Strategies after members chose not to advance it, and under the rules of the legislature, it had to leave the Senate by last Friday.
Committee vice chairman Pete Brungardt (R-Salina) told the Kansas State Collegian the consensus among committee members was that more effective and legal drugs exist. "The impression you get with casual talk from members is that it was not supported," Brungardt said.
The bill, the Medical Marijuana Defense Act, would have allowed people with "debilitating medical conditions," including but not limited to cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, to grow, possess, and use small amounts of marijuana upon written certification by a doctor.
The bill was pushed by the Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition, which enlisted former Kansas Attorney General Robert Stephan as a legal consultant and prominent supporter. Stephan joined coalition head Laura Green in testifying before the committee.
"I hope these people who oppose medicinal marijuana never have to suffer like the people I have seen and talked with and the people who use it as a last resort," Stephan told the Collegian this week. "If I was a researcher, I'd probably say, 'May God have mercy on their souls.'"
Green said coalition members plan to reintroduce the bill during the 2009 Kansas legislative session. "That's very disappointing for us that they wouldn't take the vote in the committee to advance the bill," she said. "We'll hope that whatever committee it goes through next year that they'll have the political willpower to at least hold a vote in the committee."