Kansas lawmakers continue to push for medical marijuana legalization

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There’s still hope that Kansas will find a way to approve medical marijuana this year

The Kansas legislature appears to be getting a final push from Democrats to pass a bill seeking to legalize medical marijuana. This effort intends to have a decision made before today’s scheduled session ends.

Last year, the House of Representatives gave the go-ahead to a medical cannabis bill. At the same time, a bicameral conference committee met in April to engage in a discussion about a possible deal. While all this would indicate that the process was on the right track, in reality, the negotiations were stalled.

If the currently Republican-controlled legislature does not move as quickly as possible, it would mean that lawmakers would have to start from scratch next year. As a result, many patients who are in need of medical marijuana will have to wait patiently or visit states where they are allowed to obtain the plant for medicinal purposes.

Late last week, House Minority Leader Tom Sawyer made it clear that Kansans continue to demand access to medical marijuana. He calls for the conference committee on the issue to respond, indicating the House is more than ready to meet and hoping the Senate will not be an obstacle.

“Unless this happens on Monday, May 23, the process will restart in the next biennium. Legislators are accountable to constituents and have made it clear: legalize medical marijuana. It’s time to listen,” he added.

Several public meetings have been held over the past 30 days to discuss a way to merge the House-passed medical marijuana bill with a separate one that Senate lawmakers began considering this year. John Barker, the chairman of the House State and Federal Affairs Committee, said the body is willing to accept about a dozen elements of the Senate version in an effort to reach consensus as quickly as possible.