Topeka 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.