Topeka — About 25 people rallied Tuesday in support of a bill that would legalize marijuana for medical reasons.
Jason Selmon, chairman of the Kannabis Project, said he hoped the Legislature would vote on House Bill 2330, the Cannabis Compassion and Care Act.
“That’s what Kansans deserve. Popular opinion is overwhelmingly in support for medical marijuana,” Selmon said.
The measure would legalize marijuana use for people with debilitating conditions, such as cancer.
In addition, it would provide for the registration and operations of not-for-profit “compassion centers,” which would have the authority to possess, cultivate, manufacture and dispense marijuana. Buyers would have to have a doctor’s prescription and a license from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Sarah Smith of Lenexa said she has never used marijuana because it is illegal but would like to have it as an option to help with chronic ailments that she said are so painful she had to quit her job as a police officer.
Esau Freeman of Wichita said he wishes medical marijuana had been available for his mother, who he said died from side effects of a prescription drug.
“If the FDA can push a drug so dangerous … they can pass something that is as safe and effective as aspirin,” Freeman said.
Dennis Romero of Wichita said legalizing marijuana would reduce crime.
“Legalize it and take the bullets out of the guns of the cartels,” he said.
Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, who introduced the legislation said, “This is a first step. People want a fair and honest debate. We are tired of being ignored.”
A reported 16 states have laws allowing for marijuana use for medical reasons.
The rally was held outside the Docking Office Building before an informational hearing on the bill before the House Health and Human Services Committee.
Committee Chairwoman Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, said she didn’t expect the committee to vote on the proposal.
“No one on the committee has said this is a pressing issue,” Landwehr said.
And Gov. Sam Brownback said he opposed efforts to legalize marijuana for medical use. He said the Legislature already has a full plate of issues.