FAIRWAY, KS (KCTV) -- With recreational pot legal in Colorado and medical marijuana legal in Oklahoma and soon to be in Missouri, Kansas is nearly surrounded by states with access to pot.
So what does that mean for Kansans? Some are simply packing up and moving out, like Dawn Murrell, who called Kansas home for nearly five decades.
"I always said I'll never move to Missouri," Murrell said.
Murrell's sentiment began to change last year when voters in Missouri approved medical marijuana. It's a painful subject as Murrell has been dependent on opioids to help relieve her unrelenting pain. Doctors have prescribed fentanyl, morphine and oxycodone for Murrell since she suffered a back injury in the late 90’s.
"They had me on 2,000 micrograms of fentanyl for about three years,” Murrell said.
Murrell says while her fentanyl dosage has since decreased, she takes the drug every single day. It is a powerful painkiller. The Centers for Disease Control lists fentanyl as 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine.
After her back injury, Murrell had two surgeries that eased her pain for about a year. When her pain returned and worsened, she underwent more surgery.
"My last one was a three-level fusion where they put rods in and cut me in the stomach and in the back," Murrell said.
In all, this mother and grandmother has undergone six surgeries. Tuesday, she has permanent nerve damage and several herniated discs in her spine. But Murrell worries what kind of a toll the opioids are taking on her body.
"I'm wondering what it's doing, you read the side effects. I don't understand how my body is not just falling apart," Murrell said.
So she began searching for an alternative.
"I saw people saying, ‘I got off all my meds. I'm weaning off my meds,’ and I was like, ‘how?’ And they said, ‘cannabis’. And these were mostly people in California or Colorado," Murrell said.
That's when she began experimenting with marijuana and CBD oil to see if it would help. Murrell says not only has it helped, it’s allowed her to cut her pain medication by nearly 50%. She credits it all to marijuana.
Because of her back problems, 20 minutes is the limit doctors have given her for walking or sitting or driving a car. She says she can deal with those inconveniences, but not the opioids.
Murrell says, "People were telling me you have to move. You need to move and get off these opiates, they're going to kill you."
One big problem was still a factor. Turning to marijuana to help wean her off opioids is illegal in Kansas. So she packed up her things and moved across the state line to Missouri where she hopes to be among the first to legally use medical marijuana in the Show Me State.
"And I moved a mile. A mile," Murrell expressed.
She likes her new Missouri neighbors, but says she will always be a Jayhawk at heart. Afterall, Kansas had been her home since 1974.
She says moving to Missouri for access to legal medical marijuana is the right thing to do for her, but it hasn’t been easy.