Kansas businesses weigh in on the economic impact of medical marijuana

Kansas

WICHITA (KSNT) — With a 37 vote margin, Kansas is closer to becoming the 48th state to legalize marijuana in some form.

“There have been studies by economists of the impact of both medical marijuana legalization and then full legalization of marijuana,” explained Ted Bolema, Wichita State’s Director of the Institute for the Study of Economic Growth. “They’ve found there is a positive economic impact — although, it is usually exaggerated by those in favor of legalization.”

Bolema says the real winner could be the state of Kansas and the tax revenue this medical marijuana bill generates. “This is economic activity that was going on already,” Bolema added. “Now, it’s being conducted in a realm where it’s legal and taxed.”

Lucas Fitch is the manager at three CBD Plus stores in Wichita, and he thinks this bill isn’t doing enough.

“I don’t want anything passed if it’s just going to make things more restrictive,” said Fitch.

Finch’s response resonated with other local business owners. Justin Lane, the owner of High Hopes ICT, believes this bill pushes small businesses out of the picture because of high fees for licenses and other regulations that have to be met to sell THC to medical marijuana patients.

“We’re not going to have access to pay these crazy amounts they want us to pay to be able to operate a business,” Lane said.

“It would still cost us probably at least a quarter million dollars,” said Fitch.

Businesses are asking why they would make the transition to THC when it is expensive to do, especially with them seeing high sales with a new legal cannabinoid known as Delta-8.

“A lot of clients come in here and say they would rather come in here, this is a legal product,” explained Lane. “It makes them feel good, it does what they need it to do, and they don’t have to worry about trying to buy an illegal product.”

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