Legislators show little interest in bill legalizing medical use of marijuana

? Even though a bill legalizing the medical use of marijuana is now in both sides of the Kansas Legislature, officials have shown little interest in making it a law.

Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, introduced Senate Bill 354, the Cannabis Compassion and Care Act, during Monday’s session. It was referred to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, where it will likely sit without a hearing.

“I have no interest on hearing the bill,” said Sen. Vicki Schmidt, R-Topeka, who leads the committee.

The bill would allow qualified patients with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, glaucoma and AIDS, to buy marijuana from registered “compassion centers.”

“Marijuana has been used by many people already,” Haley said. “It’s been a relief to those with a myriad of illnesses.”

Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, introduced the same bill in the House last February.

The Health and Human Services committee, responsible for hearing the House bill, held an informational meeting on the issue last Tuesday.

Committee Chairwoman Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita, said she didn’t expect the committee to act on the bill either.

Haley said he is pushing to have an official hearing, even if committee members are opposed to it.

“Let’s hear the pros and cons,” Haley said. “For those who oppose it, let them come forward.”

Gov. Sam Brownback has said he opposes the medicinal use of marijuana.

According to the bill, 15 other states allow the medicinal use of the drug, including Colorado and Michigan.