Advocates upset over medical marijuana switch

Advocates are upset about a Kansas Senate committee switches out a bill that would legalize marijuana.

TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT)  –  A bill to legalize marijuana for medical use will go to the Kansas Senate for a vote, but supporters are upset that it’s not the bill they advocated for. The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee voted Thursday to strip Senate Bill 155 and replaced it with Senate Bill 151. The new law would only allow medical professionals to prescribe “non-intoxicating” cannabinoid medicine.

“This is not the scope of what those who want to see prescriptive authority for medical marijuana want,” said Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City).

Haley, who introduced the bill, and others testified for the original proposal back in February. Melissa Ragsdale pleaded for access to a variety of marijuana types on behalf of her son, Gavin.

“Children like Gavin who have multiple seizure types all over the brain, one medication will only stop one type so they layer them. Cannabis can be used in the exact same manner,” said Ragsdale.

Still others fought against the proposal. Some argued any medical cannabis should come through the pharmaceutical industry. Others worried about what legalization could mean for the state.

“Perception of harm influences use. Just in Shawnee County kids as young as 10 are using it,” said Michelle Voth, executive director of the Kansas Family Partnership.

There is apparently still hope for Haley’s original bill. He said he plans to make an attempt to restore it while it’s being debated on the floor. He expects that will happen sometime next week.

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