Supporters of a house bill backing medical marijuana in Kansas rallied outside the statehouse in Topeka Tuesday, while collecting signatures on petitions to deliver to legislators.
Esau Freeman, one supporter at the event, said his mother lost a long battle to an illness and died in pain.
"We need options in Kansas, we need compassionate people that care about forming more perfect unions in this state and not just pushing people under the rug," said Freeman.
"We want a full hearing, not just an informational hearing. We don't need to waste the taxpayers' time nor their money on this bill," said Wichita Democratic Representative Gail Finney.
Finney wrote the Cannabis Compassionate Care Act two years ago. It would require doctors to sign off so patients could get state issued cards allowing access to cannabis.
"There are a lot of people with debilitating diseases, chronic illnesses, and pain and that want to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest," said Finney.
Sixteen states around the country have passed some form of medical marijuana laws and about half a dozen, including Kansas, continue to debate the issue.
The House Health and Human Services Committee listened to a packed room of supporters and opponents Tuesday.
"A vote to move something like this ahead bypasses the FDA and that is our safety net," said Dr. Eric Voth with the Institute on Global Drug Policy. "In the U.S., that would jeopardize consumers."
"I have not heard any support from committee members that this is a bill they want to work on," said Wichita Republican Representative Brenda Landwehr when KCTV5's Eric Chaloux asked if the bill will ever go beyond the information sessions.
Backers of the bill said they'll keep pushing for medical marijuana until someone in Topeka listens.
Click here to view HB 2330, the Kansas House medical marijuana bill and its fiscal impact statement.
The House committee took no action to advance the bill Tuesday. A similar medical marijuana bill was introduced in the Senate Tuesday by Kansas City, KS Senator David Haley. A senate committee has agreed to hear it and debate the issue, but no date has been set as of yet for the hearing and debate.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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