One lawmaker in Kansas has taken it upon himself to help his constituents by pushing to make medical marijuana legal for the purposes of treating seizures. The Democratic Rep. John Wilson was very moved when he witnessed the hardships of a family in his district as they struggled to provide care for their son, who suffered from debilitating seizures.
A Family’s Plight
The non-psychoactive CBD oil that comes from marijuana is an extremely effective treatment for seizures. Oil that is very high in CBD and very low in THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, is legal in 16 states around the U.S. and used as a very powerful treatment for those suffering with seizures and other debilitating conditions. It provides powerful medical treatment without the high. Unfortunately, since the treatment was not legal in Kansas, the family had to move to Colorado in order to help their son receive treatment, so he could have a normal, healthy life.
Making Marijuana Legal in Kansas
Wilson was frustrated that the family had to move to Colorado in order to help their son, stating, “If you want to move to Colorado because there’s mountains and skiing, that’s one thing. But you shouldn’t have to move there because you want medical treatment.” He has been spearheading a measure to make medical marijuana legal for the purposes of treating seizures.
A bill like this already passed in the House last year, allowing for the legal use of CBD oil to treat specific conditions. That bill was also approved by the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee. Democrat Jim Ward, a member of the House Health and Human Services Committee, said they are prepared to discuss details of the measure when Legislature returns on April 27.
The Consequences as They Stand
There is a version of the bill that focuses on reducing the charges for those arrested for marijuana possession. Right now, a first time offender can be incarcerated for up to a year with a second possession charged as a low level felony with up to 42 months of prison time.
“For simple possession of marijuana, you can do more time or as much time as a person who commits a fairly serious offense,” says Jennifer Roth, a representative from the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The bill proposes that charges be reduced to up to 6 months jail time for first time offenders and that a second offense incur a serious misdemeanor as opposed to the low level felony with up to a year in jail. Any more than 2 offenses could result in up to 42 months in prison. These changes would free up bed space and resources for those who are committing more serious offenses.
These changes in Kansas marijuana law could help residents receive the best medical treatment available for common conditions. By making medical marijuana legal, the state would create new financial streams of income through medical marijuana tax. Reduced sentences would save the state money on the cost of imprisoning those caught with marijuana. Dedicated lawmakers are researching the best ways to implement these changes for Kansas so that no one else needs to leave the state in order to get the best care for themselves and their loved ones.