Archive for Thursday, August 16, 2007

Former A.G. announces support of medical marijuana

Stephan says opinion based on own battle with cancer, chemotherapy

August 16, 2007


— Former Attorney General Bob Stephan said Wednesday he supports allowing marijuana for medical purposes.

But the state's chief law enforcement officer from 1979 to 1995, and a cancer survivor, declined to say whether he ever used marijuana to relieve pain.

"I don't think it's relevant, so I'm not going to get into that," Stephan said.

Stephan will lead a news conference in the Capitol on Friday by the Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition.

The coalition advocates for legal protection of patients who use medical marijuana and physicians who recommend the drug for treatment of pain.

Stephan said he has supported the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes for more than 20 years.

He said he formed this opinion based on his own experience with cancer and with talking with numerous other cancer patients.

"I was on chemotherapy for seven years, and there wasn't a time I didn't get sick," he said. He received treatments from 1972 to 1979.

"They tried everything and nothing worked," he said, referring to medications to neutralize the side effects from chemotherapy. Asked if he tried marijuana, Stephan said he wouldn't answer that.

In Kansas, marijuana is illegal even for medical purposes for ill people.

Twelve states that make up 22 percent of the U.S. population have enacted laws that allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, according to the coalition, which includes 400 members in chapters in Lawrence and Wichita.

Laura Green, director of the coalition, said the group would push for legislation to make marijuana legally available for physicians to prescribe when traditional medications prove ineffective.

"No one should face the ordeal or arrest and possibly prison because they want to feel better," she said.


matahari 10 years, 9 months ago

great post logrithmic! I couldn't have stated it better!

Doug Fisher 10 years, 9 months ago

Kansas wont legalize marijuana until hell freezes over. It'll never happen. Period.

salad 10 years, 9 months ago

My mom has Lymphoma. She's improving after 6 courses of chemo last summer and a stem cell transplant in January, but never really had nausea problems. However, if medical marijuana would improve her appetite, that would be great! In Jamaica, the rastas protest against why the white mans drug (alcohol) is legal, but the black mans drug (marijuana) is illegal. I believe they have an excellent point, and it goes double for this country.

Emily Hadley 10 years, 9 months ago

I found the website for the coalition Laura heads, if anyone wants more information. I couldn't find it by Googling 'Kansas Compassionate Care Coalition', but found it by trying the abbreviation.

justthefacts 10 years, 9 months ago

I have long wondered when he'd come out and publicly state his opinion on this topic. Good for RTS!! Our country would be far better off if more politicians would speak their minds more frankly and often (and not get crucified for it)!

As for the topic/issue - if this is a drug (which it must be, right - b/c it's a drug that is currently out-lawed) that people might (even a little) benefit from using in a time of serious illness - why not regulate, tax, and license it like we do with any other drug? That might put the illegal drug lord's out of business (or at least cut into their profits). The main difference from this and other drugs is that it was not created by some drug company that stands to make millions if it's marketed and the people who benefit the MOST from it remaining illegal are those involved in its illegal distribution and sale. Both are good reasons to legalize its use in case of illness. Or do we WANT to allow drug companies and drug lords to establish our public policies?

Centrist 10 years, 9 months ago

Personally I think the weed ought to be treated as alcohol. Legalize it, with similar restrictions as alcohol. Tax it, etc. Feel free to smoke pot in your own home, but don't drive or be intoxicated in public. The usual regulations as applied to booze.

The worst that potheads usually do is eat a lot of food, relax and get happy about their favourite music. Sure, the odd person gets crazy, but I think they are pre-disposed to it anyway. Alcohol is different; it removes much more awareness, in my opinion, and makes people angry or violent much more often than dope. I know; I grew up with an alcoholic parent. Not good, believe me.

Moral debates aside, I feel that medical use should be legalized, if regulated properly, considering that other, much more dangerous body-altering drugs are legal, and approved by the FDA.

outdoor55 10 years, 9 months ago

Right On!!!!! If someone is extremely/terminally ill, what is the harm in letting them smoke a joint?

kmat 10 years, 9 months ago

They need to legalize it for more than just cancer patients though. There are so many medical issues that can be treated with pot, but instead we are forced to put harmful pharma drugs in our bodies to deal with them instead of using a natural, less harmful med. I suffer from crushing migraines and have to take narcotics and barbituates in order to function (or else I end up in the hospital). Pot is one of the best treatments for migraines (helps the pain and ends the vomiting), but is illegal. Instead, the govt has decided that it's better for me to take addictive pain meds and barbituates that can and have done harm to my body. I've been on these meds for 23 years because of migraines, and now have to take high doses to get relief and be able to function.

So what's better - smoking a little dope or taking harmful meds that eventually I'd have to almost OD on to get relief? Our govt doesn't care about it's citizens and their health, they only care about giving big pharma our money. I should be able to grow my own to fight my migraines, but of course the govt doesn't consider any of us to be smart enough to know what's best for our own bodies. So, I am forced to take these harmful meds instead. I've had to take many this morning and now won't be able to drive for hours because of it.

If it was ok for Jesus to use, why isn't it ok for us now? It is mentioned in the Old Test and they have found many instances in Israel of it's use. They have also found evidence in many other civilizations of it's use (including being used in China for over 5000 years and is still available over here in the herbal shops).

RedwoodCoast 10 years, 9 months ago

Man, I think I just saw Jesus. Dude, and it was that Jesus you know. He said, "Pass it to Judas," before changing his mind. Dude it was awesome.

But seriously, it seems to me that it isn't the people who smoke pot that cause the problems; it's the people who freak out about the people smoking pot that causes the problems. So let's keep making a huge deal out of something that several million Americans are doing every day.

Sean Livingstone 10 years, 9 months ago

If people smoke pot for entertainment, that should be illegal. If people smoke it to relieve against pain caused by illness, that's fine. It's just like sex with your own wife is fine, sex with other people's wife is adultery, and sex with a minor is a rape!

Bladerunner 10 years, 9 months ago

Oh great! Just what we need. Another idiot standing on the corner with a honk for hemp sign.

KS 10 years, 9 months ago

Stephan is a has been. That picture is as old as Moses! It ain't going to happen in Kansas folks. All you pot heads just came out of the woodwork for nothing. US Supreme Court has already decided this matter, no? But then again, if nobody is going to enforce the law, like California, I guess it doesn't make much difference what the Supreme Court says.

situveux1 10 years, 9 months ago

BABBOY, if pot made you mellow and harmless, why did you stop when you had kids? Seems like if it's such a wonderful thing, you'd keep doing it, especially with kids, I mean, talk about needing a break, right???!!

Seems illogical to stop something that was so good to you. Kind of a moronic decision, no?

Kontum1972 10 years, 9 months ago

my arm hurts....HELP ME! OH THE PAIN...!

werekoala 10 years, 9 months ago

Not only that, but parents caught using marijuana could have their kids taken away from them. That same parent can be drunk every day, have 15 DWis, and no one will suggest taking their children away, as long as they have the most meager food and shelter.

I don't smoke weed myself. But I have to wonder how many traffic stops, arrests, and ER visits are due to alcohol, versus how many are due to marijuana. How much money are we spending to fight a war on a plant that is no worse for you, if not better, than alcohol and cigarettes?

And from a homeland security standpoint, our tolerance of a black market on this substance is a giant gaping hole in our borders. End its prohibition, you end the massive illegal importation of this substance, and you end a major avenue of unmonitored access to our country. You also put a bunch of criminals out of work, and free up a ton of law enforcement resources to fight more serious problems such as hard drugs, illegal employment, and homeland security.

KS 10 years, 9 months ago

And what person in their right mind can believe that if you make unlawful drugs legal, you will put the cartels and criminals out of work? It ain't gonna happen.

BABBOY - if it made you mellow, I agree with the other posts! Why did you quit? You would not have such a poison pen attitude in your writing. We would all be blessed with your yellow mello! I also have never seen one of your posts before. Can't get tired of what I don't see. Sorry!

Leprechaunking13 10 years, 9 months ago

yeah KS, cause you see so many black market tobacco pedlars huh? Others have pointed out the sound judgement in stopping such activites after having kids

jmatthews5 10 years, 9 months ago

Kmat-- please retract your statement about Jesus smoking dope. I find it very offensive that you would make that claim and then try to back it up with some quack website from one of your stoner buddies. It's that kind of irresponsibility that has really turned me off from the "legalize" movement. Rather than leaving the issue at "I like to get high and it helps my headaches and maybe it's not as bad as people think" you and the marijuana community always have to make some outrageous claim that you think helps your cause but actually just turns off moderates like me. As one of the few on this thread that is not an active marijuana user, I can tell the rest of you that there are many good arguments to be made for the legalization of marijuana and other drugs, so stick to that rather than going the way of kmat and making a fool of yourself. The message gets lost when it is presented that way and nothing will change unless you are able to convince the non-users.

Calliope877 10 years, 9 months ago


You seriously need to lighten up, or light em up. Out of everything kmat said, you chose to focus on that one comment and decided to find it offensive? That's utterly ridiculous. If you don't want to believe Jesus or the people of ancient times smoked pot, that's your perogative, but just because you don't believe it doesn't make it offensive.

jmatthews5 10 years, 9 months ago

Great point, Calliope877. I guess I should just lighten up when somebody claims that my Savior was a pothead. I could care less if other people in ancient times smoked weed (I don't see how it means that we should legalize pot today though) and I actually don't care if you and kmat do. What I do care about is ridiculous, irresponsible comments stated as if they are facts when they are not.

Nick Yoho 10 years, 9 months ago

"it's the people who freak out about the people smoking pot that causes the problems."

Um, have we seen an epidemic of such "freaking out"?

Yes,Scene booster,we have,its name is "the Drug War"

Actually Jesus used weed as an anointing oil, not smoke.

Calliope877 10 years, 9 months ago


Okay, first of all, noone called Jesus a "pothead." There is, believe it or not, a difference between being a pothead and smoking pot occassionally. I respect that you consider Jesus to be your savior...but honestly, it's not like kmat or anyone else called him a junkie or a pedophile, THAT would be a lot worse and would probably be offensive enough to be deleted from the forum. I think you were the only one who found kmat's comment offensive, and I don't think his comment was ridiculous or insulting, and as far as his "supporting links" are concerned, a lot of it IS fact from a historical perspective. And the reasoning behind bringing up the fact that ancient people smoked pot is to make the RELEVANT POINT that this substance has been with mankind for a long time much like alcohol and tobacco have been with us for a long time (yet they're legal).
It's true that the societal perception of this natural herb has changed with the times, but I don't think it's irrelevant to bring up ancient perceptions or the usage of it by ancient people. If anything, bringing up such points is like holding up a mirror to our contemporary perceptions, and it's never irrelevant to look to the past in order to determine the future.

jmatthews5 10 years, 9 months ago

Look 877, you're just going to have to trust me on this: saying that Jesus smoked pot, regardless of frequency, would offend most Christians. There is NO proof of that other than some hazy translation that kmat dug up on a website. Even that fuzzy reference is from the Old Testament and I'll have to check my Bible on this one, but I believe Jesus shows up in the New Testament. Find me some proof from a Biblical scholar or a website that isn't promoting pot use and then we can talk.

I still don't understand your point about ancient people using pot somehow justifying its use or legality. If something was done in ancient times, does that make it ok today? I'll let you think about the examples of why that probably isn't the case.

I understand the hypocrisy with alcohol and tobacco, but I think you will find many people that can use these substances in moderation without being impaired to perform their job or carry on a coherent conversation (tobacco far more than alcohol). From the experiences I've had, I don't find that to be the case with marijuana. I am by no means an expert though.

You seem like a halfway intelligent person, so I ask you to take a serious look at your position on this topic. If you truly believe that legalizing marijuana will benefit society and will not cause problems with it's newfound accessibility, you are definitely entitled to your opinion. I would ask you to keep your mind open to the idea that kids and also many adults who already suffer from various chemical and behavioral dependencies might not need another substance at their local grocery store to get them high. Maybe we can meet in the middle and talk about marijuana for pain and medical reasons only which is what I think this article was about.

Regardless of your conclusions, I would also ask you to keep Jesus out of the argument and not use his name as part of the propaganda machine that seeks to legalize drugs. Let people make up their own minds based on medical and societal facts.

Uhlrick_Hetfield_III 10 years, 9 months ago

I keep wanting to ask if he was stoned when he made this announcement. Would that be in bad taste?

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