An amendment to legalize medical marijuana failed in the Kansas House yesterday, but lawmakers forwarded for passage the underlying legislation that would legalize CBD oil.
In February, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued an opinion that possession of the product, used to treat things like insomnia, anxiety, and pain, is illegal.
Most of the CBD oils available in Kansas stores at the time contained less than .3 percent THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana. The House’s proposal would only allow the possession and sale of CBD oil devoid of any THC.
Lawmakers debated the bill for more than two hours before agreeing to forward the legislation for final consideration. During the process, legislators shot down, 54-69, an amendment to legalize medicinal marijuana.
Rep. Cindy Holscher, an Overland Park Democrat, offered the 116-page amendment. She said her daughter suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and medicinal marijuana might offer relief without harsh side effects of other drugs.
“Give us an option for something that has proven to work,” she told lawmakers. Several legislators offered emotional testimony about constituents and family members suffering from a variety of ailments medicinal marijiuana might help, but Rep. Abe Rafie, an Overland Park Republican and medical doctor, said most arguments in favor of legalizing marijuana are anecdotal. He warned that lawmakers should also consider the full weight of the potential downsides.
In Colorado, Rafie said, marijuana traffic-related deaths are up 62 percent. Youth usage of the drug is up more than 20 percent, in contrast to a national decline of 4 percent of youth usage. Emergency room visits related to marijuana use are up 49 percent. Meanwhile, he said the potential state budget benefits have been small. He quoted a Colorado study that revealed that a mere half a percent of state revenues could be attributed to marijuana revenue. He said Colorado offers a real life experience of marijuana legalization.
“I don’t believe we should step into that experiment at this point,” he said. “One of the prior speakers said there’s an inevitability of this legislation. That may or may not be true. That’s an assertion that is dependent upon a good outcome in other states. We’ll see down the road.”