The election in Kansas of Democrat Laura Kelly earlier this month puts a medical marijuana supporter in the state’s governor’s seat, and she recently said she senses “some momentum” among legislators to legalize MMJ with strict regulations, The Wichita Eagle reported.
MMJ bills have been considered without success for years in Kansas, even though some Midwestern states have recently approved recreational or medical cannabis:
- Missouri voters on Nov. 6 approved an MMJ ballot measure.
- Michigan voted this month to approve recreational use of marijuana, and that market is projected to eventually bring in more than $1.4 billion-$1.7 sales as the industry matures in the state, according to the Marijuana Business Factbook 2018. Some experts suggest Michigan’s move could have a ripple effect on other states in the Midwest.
- Oklahoma voters in June gave the OK for a business-friendly MMJ program that has become one of the industry’s quickest to launch.
In Kansas, the election of a medical cannabis supporter “will definitely change the conversation,” said Esau Freeman, spokesman for the pro-legalization group Kansas for Change.
“We’ve had eight years with a governor who would not even hear of it, and now we have a governor who has indicated, if it falls within the right perimeters, that she would sign a bill,” Freeman said.
Previously, MMJ supporters would have had to gather supermajorities in both the Kansas House and Senate to override a likely veto from the previous governor.
With support from Kelly likely, advocates now need only simple majorities in both chambers.
Sen. David Haley, a Kansas City Democrat and medical marijuana supporter, suggests the state Legislature will approve MMJ within the next couple of years.
“I believe this issue has support from rural, suburban and urban districts across party lines,” he said. “I think the governor at the top indicating she would sign it is certainly the icing on the cake.”
However, proponents can expect opposition from the state’s medical community.
The Kansas Medical Society, a physicians group, doesn’t support bypassing approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to allow medical use.
– Associated Press and Marijuana Business Daily