Some Kansas hemp growers and shop owners hope new bill legalizing medicinal marijuana becomes law
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - A recent survey shows a growing number of Kansans say they want the legalization of medical marijuana.
Most voters thought the issue was dead for the year, until a new bill showed up.
This new senate bill gives new life to the fight for legalizing medical marijuana. It's never made it past the senate before, but that could change later this week.
"This section would stay... you wouldn't have to be 21 to enter because we would sell other things...," Natalie Greenlee, owner of The Health Connection, said Monday.
Greenlee was describing how her business would look if it were a dispensary and one allowed to sell medicinal marijuana. She owns three shops.
"I would like to go west, but we would have to see what happens with this bill first," she added.
She would love to see a newly introduced bill to legalize medical marijuana become law.
"It's exciting to see that this is the farthest its ever gotten. We are just hoping that we can make it happen and we won't be the last state," she said.
While the Kansas House passed a medical marijuana bill last year, senate leadership basically buried it this year. Now, with this new bill, the idea of legalizing medical marijuana has new life.
Greenlee says there are many positives, including the taxes it would bring to the state.
"This is no better time to do it... generate those funds to put back into programs, community projects things like that," Greenlee said.
Some Kansans agree.
"The people that need it, need it for the reasons that they need it for, the people that get it illegally, they end up getting it regardless anyway. So in my eyes, it makes sense to legalize it especially medicinally for those who are looking for that and who need it for their health and what not. I just think that people who want it get it anyway so you mind as well bring that money into the state and try to do some good things with it," Hesson resident Mick Maher said.
A local hemp grower says a benefit being of one of the last states to look at legalizing medical marijuana means Kansas can learn from what surrounding states have already done.
".... there is a ton of momentum around it and yes, Kansas is one of the last three states to pass any sort of medical cannabis reform. I think the benefit there is that we have been able to learn from all the states around us what has worked what might have some unintended consequences and how can we really roll out the best possible medical cannabis program in Kansas. I think something will pass... medical cannabis bill will very likely pass this session," Sarah Stephens, a licensed Kansas hemp grower, said. "There are small business that could really benefit form this being passed. Right now, the legislation says 75% Kansas ownership, so because you can't cross state lines with medical cannabis, you have to grow it here. You have to process it here. You have to distribute it here and it has to be sold in dispensaries that are 75% Kansas owned, according to the language right now... that could change."
Across town from Greenlee's shop, another shop owner, Justin Lane, says the bill passing would help his customers.
"I will say now probably 60% of my customers are coming here to cure either a physical or mental ailment, whether it is pain.. whether it is anxiety... what have you. They are coming here because this does help with that," Justin Lane, the owner of High Hopes ICT, said.
The annual Kansas Speaks Survey, released a few weeks ago, shows the number of Kansans who support legalizing medical marijuana has grown from 63% in 2019, to 71% this past year.
State senators plan to hear from Kansans on this bill later this week.