TOPEKA, (KSNT)—A medical marijuana bill is back on the table in Kansas.
Lawmakers in a Special Committee on Medical Marijuana held their first meeting on Wednesday. Law enforcement, state agencies and local government representatives testified, and some voiced a list of concerns about the bill.
Robert Jacobs, Executive Officer of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, said the agency would like lawmakers to consider prohibiting marijuana in its vegetative form. Jacobs said it’s one of the main things they’ve noticed with illegal THC extraction labs, which can be highly explosive.
“Do we see extraction being done on edibles, patches, tinctures? And, we don’t,” Jacobs said. “We see it in vegetative form predominantly and that’s it.”
However, industry advocates pushed back at Jacobs’ claims.
In an interview with Kansas Capitol Bureau, Dolores Halbin, who has advocated for marijuana use in Missouri as part of the American Cannabis Nurse Association, said the proposed ban could prevent people from growing marijuana at home.
“You’ve seen it come up, you’ve watched it grow from the back of your dispensary…you know you’re getting a pure product,” Halbin explained.
Lawmakers will hold a second meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 19, where they’ll be hearing testimony from supporters and opponents of the bill. Senator Rob Olson, a Republican from Olathe who chairs the committee, said the series of meetings gives lawmakers an opportunity to work on “improvements” ahead of next year’s session.
“Legislators need to feel comfortable that we’ve got good legislation, that works, that meets all the needs, and there’s no loopholes,” Olson said.
Kansas has lagged behind other states on marijuana reform. Legislative researchers referenced the National Conference of State Legislatures, during Wednesday’s meeting. According to the organization, Kansas is one of three states without public access to medical marijuana, recreational marijuana or a CBD market.
Olson said Kansas has a unique opportunity to learn from other states that have already taken steps toward marijuana reform.
Representative Christina Haswood, a democrat from Lawrence who is sitting on the special committee, said while it’s important to consider feedback, lawmakers should also be mindful of the amount of restrictions in the bill.
“We hear all the agencies and department concerns… but also keeping in mind that we don’t get too restrictive with the policies,” Haswood said.
To watch the full meeting, click here.