Pipe dream: Kansas lawmakers propose medical-marijuana bill (again)

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Kansas' medical-marijuana community is taking its semi-regular shot at legalizing medical pot. As usual, it's a bit of a Hail Mary.

Lawmakers on Monday introduced the Kansas Compassion and Care Act, which would make growing, selling, prescribing, buying and smoking medical marijuana legal under state law.



Just a few years ago, even passing such a bill would have been nothing more than a legislative gesture, since the feds would have raided the stash of anyone who bothered to grow the stuff. But with the Obama administration looking the other way, states such as Colorado and California have partially plugged budget holes with help from tax revenue generated from marijuana sales.

But there's not enough weed in Gary Busey's weed garage to make the Kansas Legislature think twice about pot.

The bill is introduced every so often and dies the same death every time, thanks to Republicans' stronghold in the state Legislature. Too bad: With Denver's program still in its infancy, that city alone raised more than $2 million in local sales-tax revenue in 2010, while making the city noticeably more mellow, man.

A lot of sick people probably felt better, too, although it's hard to equate the laws with medicine because anyone with access to Web MD can identify an ailment sufficient enough to get an MMJ card. It's thinly veiled legalization, at least in Colorado.

Read the full bill here and see NORML's full press release below.

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On Friday, February 12th 2011, Kansas Lawmakers introduced House Bill 2330, The Kansas Compassion and Care Act which would legalize medical cannabis under state law in Kansas. HB 2330 has been referred to The House Committee on Health and Human Services for consideration and debate.

Under this measure, patients with certain debilitating conditions would be able to cultivate, own, and use medical marijuana without fear of legal reprisal under state law. This bill would also protect a patients rights as an employee, tenant, and parent. HB 2330 would also establish a registry system, not-for-profit care centers, and a board to oversee the whole program.

A "qualified patient" is defined as someone with a physician's recommendation that medical cannabis will help their "qualified condition." A "qualified condition" is defined as; 1) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, nail patella or the treatment of these conditions; (2) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or (3) any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the department, as provided by further amendments."

HB 2330 would allow a qualified patient to cultivate 12 seedlings and 6 mature cannabis plants at a single time. It would also allow a patient to legally possess 6 ounces of useable (harvested) cannabis. All grow sites must be enclosed and secure, and no grow site, may be within 500 feet of a preexisting school. This bill would also allow patients to legally possess paraphernalia used for the consumption and production of medical marijuana under state law.

This measure would also protect a patient from discrimination when it comes to leasing a home or parental custody rights. HB2330 would also protect patients from coming up positive for marijuana use in employment drug tests, providing that they were not medicating on the job or it affected their job performance.

HB 2330 would also establish the guidelines, regulations, and standards for not-for-profit medical cannabis dispensaries for patients who were unable to grow their own medicine. Under the proposed law, a grower may only take payment for expenses they incurred while producing the cannabis (nutrients, power, growing medium etc.) but may not take payment for the cannabis itself. Compassion centers and primary caregivers would not be able to practice if they or any of their employees are convicted felons. Compassion centers must comply with all local zoning laws as well as being at least 500 feet away from a school.

"Legalizing Medical Marijuana in the state will not only allow those with debilitating conditions an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, but will also help lower the amount of people that have to turn to the black market to obtain their medicine," says Kyle Norton, Director of Johnson County NORML.

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