This Wednesday, February 22, from 10am to 11am, the ACLU of Kansas will host a coalition of activists at the South Wing of the first floor of the Kansas State Capitol Building to collectively support the entire state for medical marijuana legalization. The event is called Medical Marijuana Day of Action.
Groups participating in the alliance include the Kansas Black Leadership Council, Kansas Cannabis Coalition, Loud Light, New Frontiers and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 2.
“All interested press, lawmakers, and legislative personnel are invited,” Esmie Tseng, communications director for the Kansas ACLU, said in a news release.
Speakers will include chronic pain patients such as veterans with PTSD or those living with cancer providing personal testimonials on how access to medical marijuana would improve their quality of life and their ability to manage their medical conditions. Other speakers will include Sharon Brett, general counsel for the ACLU of Kansas, and Barry Grissom, former United States Attorney for the District of Kansas.
According to a press release from the ACLU of Kansas, Kansas remains just one of three states without legal access to cannabis, even for medicinal purposes.
Kansas citizens face criminal penalties for using cannabis to ease their medical suffering. For example, according to the ACLU of Kansas press release, last December a man in Hays, KS, who was terminally ill and facing the final stages of inoperable cancer, had his room searched by police after a member of hospital staff reported that the patient used a THC vape pen and cannabis cream to treat his symptoms. Though the man’s crime was quickly ignored, the story received national attention and sparked a debate about access to medical marijuana in the state.
Additionally, according to the ACLU of Kansas, the criminalization of marijuana has disproportionately affected black Kansas citizens, and Kansas ranks 12th in the nation for the largest racial disparities in arrest rates for marijuana possession in 2018. Allo similarly, in a 2018 study by the ACLU, black Kansans were found to be 4.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites in Kansan.
“Fair legalization, regulation and taxation could provide millions of dollars in revenue. By fostering a responsible and sustainable marijuana industry, Kansas could raise millions of dollars in revenue for essential services like roads, schools and safety, creating new opportunities for farmers and Kansanians of all backgrounds,” Tseng said in a press release. .
Medical Marijuana Day of Action is open to the public. The rally will be held at the Kansas State Capitol Building, located at SW 8th Van Buren Road, Topeka, KS, 66612.