State senator introduces medical marijuana bill to Kansas Senate - KCTV5

Lawmaker makes push for medical marijuana in Kansas

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Once again, Kansas is pushing to legalize medical marijuana, and one lawmaker says it is not a matter of if but when it will be a legal option.

In the case of medical marijuana, one will likely find more supporters, like a senator from the state of Kansas.

"It's just going to be a matter of time before all of this country has it, and I just don't want Kansas to be the last state to enact it," said state Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas.

That is why Haley has introduced Senate Bill 9, which would allow patients to obtain and use marijuana without fear of arrest.

The bill would allow patients with certain qualifying conditions who have received recommendations from their physicians to privately possess up to six ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 marijuana plants in their homes.

It also calls on the Kansas Department of Public Health to regulate and license medical marijuana compassion centers to provide medicine to qualified patients. The department would be able to limit the number of centers in any particular area.

"I do know people who are suffering from cancer, nausea from chemotherapy drugs, who've said they don't like breaking the law just to use marijuana ... a natural holistic substance," he said.

Whether marijuana helps people who are sick isn't really a question.

It's been proven time and time again it does help, and some say it's a much safer alternative than legal prescription drugs, which can carry some serious side effects. Not only that, supporters say it is a safety issue in general.

"Patients right now who use medical marijuana, they're getting it from drug dealers and gangs and cartels, that is who supplies marijuana in this country," said Dan Riffle with the Marijuana Policy Project.

Riffle points out no one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana, saying the same cannot be said for overdoses of conventional pain killers, which kill thousands of people every year.

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have already given the green light to medical marijuana. At least 10 more states are expected to consider similar legislation this year.

Haley is hoping Kansas won't be the last.

"That's how we're going to grow as a country. The question is, how long it takes before Kansas will join what will be the rest of the country, or will we be one of the leaders," Haley said.

This is the third year in a row that a Kansas state legislator has proposed legislation to protect medical marijuana patients. In previous years, supporters have been denied a hearing in the Public Health and Welfare Committee.

Supporters say they are hopeful and have no plans on giving up.

Under current law, Kansans who use marijuana, recreationally or to treat their conditions, face up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine for a first-offense possession conviction.

Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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