Kansas medical marijuana informational hearing scheduled

Update: Coverage of the hearing, including written testimony, is at Medical marijuana testimony presented in Kansas house committee.

Next week the Kansas House Health and Human Services Committee will hold an informational hearing on medical cannabis in Kansas.

Representative Gail Finney, a Democrat who represents parts of east and northeast Wichita, has introduced HB 2610, which would legalize the use of medical marijuana for “certain debilitating medical conditions,” according to the bill’s summary.

The hearing on this bill, which is informational only and will not result in a vote by the committee, will be held at 1:30 pm on Wednesday March 17, in room 784 of the Docking State Office Building, which is just west of the Kansas statehouse.

This week USA Today published an article Slowly, states are lessening limits on marijuana which describes efforts across the country to allow those suffering from certain medical conditions to make use of medical cannabis. The article mentions Finney and her effort in Kansas:

Even in conservative Kansas, where the Legislature recently voted to outlaw a synthetic drug that mimics marijuana, backers of looser marijuana laws say they have hope.

Rep. Gail Finney, a first-term Democrat, has proposed legalizing marijuana for use by the critically ill. The bill is unlikely to pass this year, Finney says, but she wants to use the hearings to educate fellow lawmakers and plans to reintroduce it until it passes.

“It’s time for Kansas to have an open, honest debate about this,” she says.

She thinks many of her House colleagues would support the bill if they didn’t fear backlash in an election year — a fear she says is unfounded. A Feb. 2 poll of 500 Kansans by KWCH-TV in Wichita found 58% supported medical marijuana.

“If they were in touch and in tune with their constituents,” Finney says, “they would know that this is what they want.”

The poll referred to is available here.

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