TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – After the national spotlight came to Kansas when police fined a cancer patient for his use of marijuana to soothe his symptoms, groups across the state will converge on the Statehouse to urge lawmakers to legalize the plant.
The ACLU of Kansas says that from 10 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, February 22, a collective of organizations from across the sunflower state will host a medical marijuana day of action at the Kansas Statehouse. They will ask lawmakers to act quickly to legalize medical marijuana in the 2023 session.
The ACLU indicated that Kansas citizens will share their perspectives on how banning the drug has compromised their medical care and negatively impacted their quality of life, all of which exacerbates their chronic disease suffering.
The organization noted that many who are sick in Kansas cannot legally access medicine that their medical providers have determined works best for them and the Kansans who have been affected will discuss how the government has become a barrier to getting treatment. medical. This includes the seriously ill such as veterans with PTSD or cancer patients who find the medicinal properties of marijuana to ease pain and suffering without debilitating side effects.
According to the ACLU, other speakers will include Sharon Brett, attorney general for the ACLU of Kansas, and Barry Grissom, former U.S. attorney for the Kansas district. The pair will discuss how state laws limit options for small business owners, how criminalization has impacted those with legitimate medical needs, and how criminalization contributes to unconstitutional outcomes.
The organization indicated that Kansas is one of three states left without a legal standard for cannabis, even for medical patients. At the national and state levels, public opinion about marijuana has shifted away from war-on-the-drug-era misinformation and toward acceptance of its uses. A 2021 poll found that about 68% of Americans supported legalization, including 83% of Democrats, 71% of independents and 50% of Republicans.
The ACLU also noted that the state’s restriction on medical marijuana received global attention in December when Hays police entered the room of a terminally ill Kansas man after staffers reported his use of a vape pen and THC paste to relieve symptoms of the final stages of inoperable cancer. While the misdemeanor ticket was quickly filed, the incident reignited the argument.
According to the organization, marijuana is also a racial justice issue, especially in Kansas. He said criminalization had a disproportionate impact on Black Kansans as the state ranked 12th for greatest racial disparities in arrest rates for marijuana possession in 2018. Likewise, he said Black Kansans had 4.8 times more likely to be arrested for weed possession than a white person in 2018.
Finally, the group said fair legalization, regulation and taxation of the drug could provide millions in revenue. With the encouragement of responsible, sustainable industry, he said Kansas could raise millions in revenue for essential services like roads, schools and safety as new opportunities are created for Kansas farmers.
The group will meet in the first floor south wing of the Kansas Statehouse at SW 8th and Van Buren in Topeka at 10 am on Wednesday, February 22.