Kansas reduces penalties for marijuana possession and medical marijuana bills considered, but fail to pass in 2016.
Kansas Reduces Penalties for Marijuana Possession
Earlier this year, the legislature took a modest but important step toward more humane marijuana policies by enacting HB 2462. The new law, which took effect on July 1, 2016, reduces penalties for marijuana possession. The penalty for a first offense was reduced from one year to six months in jail. A second offense was reduced from a felony that could be punished by up to three and a half years in prison to a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year.
Given that recent polls show that 63% of Kansans support decriminalizing marijuana and imposing a civil fine, there is tremendous support for a further step — eliminating criminal penalties. If you agree, ask your legislators to remove criminal penalties for marijuana possession.
Medical marijuana bills considered, but fail to pass in 2016
During the 2016 legislative session, Rep. John Wilson introduced a low-THC medical marijuana bill, HB 2049. Unlike most other “CBD bills,” it would have provided in-state access for patients. The Kansas House of Representatives passed the bill 81-36. The Senate considered this and other, more restrictive bills, but did not manage to pass any protections for Kansas patients. Nevertheless, this year’s discussion was a significant step forward for Kansas, as medical marijuana bills have been introduced for several years but have never gotten a favorable vote in either chamber.
Hopefully, the Kansas Legislature will soon catch up with public opinion. Sixty-eight percent of Kansans support patient access to medical marijuana. Please take a moment to let your representatives know you support compassionate access to medical marijuana in Kansas as well.