When people think of states likely to legalize marijuana for medicinal use, unfortunately for Kansans, there is little hope that they would make that list. After all, the sober people of Kansas were among the first to sign on to prohibition of alcohol back in the day as well as the last people to let it go. But after this week, we all might have to change our thinking.
Rep. Gail Finney, a Wichita Democrat, introduced a bill which would legalize the usage of marijuana with a doctor's prescription.
“I just think it’s the right thing to do."
Finney’s bill would set up state-registered “compassionate care centers,” where those with prescriptions could buy marijuana for the treatment of pain or debilitating illnesses. Finney’s bill also would require the marijuana be grown in the Sunflower State; a nice revenue stream for the agriculturally based state.
But before we fire up the VW bus for the victory parade in Topeka, we should wait and see if it goes through.
The bill does not have much popularity in the state's House of Representatives. Also, Kansas lawmakers are more likely to outlaw a drug than legalize it. In the past five years, lawmakers voted to criminalize salvia divinorum and jimson weed. This year they’re targeting synthetic cannibinoids, lab-produced chemicals that mimic the effect of marijuana and are sold as incense.
“It’s a lot easier to outlaw (a drug) than it is to get one legalized,” said Rep. Rob Olson, the Olathe Republican who sponsored the House bill outlawing synthetic marijuana. The bill passed a final House vote on Wednesday. One member of the House, a Rep Scott Schwab made this statement in regards to Finney's Medicinal Marijuana Bill: “Let’s be honest, this would be an attempt to legalize marijuana. It has no benefit for pain management. All it does is make you crave another bag of chips."
While Rep. Olson's statement is funny, it is indicative of the many issues that the legalization of medicinal marijuana has in being taken seriously as a movement. All too often, opponents of medicinal weed like to go for the cheap zing, bring people an image of Tommy Chong from the mid 70s to mind... a hapless stoner coasting through life- his only real concern is scoring his next lid. But this ignores the millions of people who are using marijuana for self medicating purposes (and before you start rolling your eyes, non-believers, relaxation is a legit medicinal use. Millions of people are prescribed relaxation drugs, such as Valium and Xanex, for just that very purpose... not to mention the countless millions more who pop open a brew or two or end their day with a few glasses of wine.) And if all marijuana does is "... make you crave another bag of chips..." as the distinguished Gentleman from Olathe has so humorously claimed, then what is the big fucking deal in legalizing it. By Rep. Olson’s own admission, pot does nothing but makes you crave more snack foods. Not kick the shit out of someone in a bar, or sleep with the cute blonde making googlie eyes at you while your wife is out of town, or knock around said wife when she calls you on putting the stones to the afore mentioned cute blonde. Point is, if it does nothing but make you hungry then what is the big deal about it?
There must be something to the whole medicinal claim, what with so many peoples (for thousands of years mind you) using the funky green as a form of medicine- be it for pain relief, insomnia, or just plain ol' quality of life and relaxation (all conditions, mind you, that if you go to a doctor he can prescribe you something in a pill form that will help with that which can, according to their own commercials, can cause a variety of side effects including organ damage, bloody stool, addiction, and death via overdose).
To date, fourteen states have already legalized marijuana for medicinal use and several more are set to bring the issue to a vote in the coming year. A couple of the more daring states- California and Washington- are concerning full blown decriminalization, opening up avenues for tax revenues to go into overspent state coffers. While it looks bleak for Kansas' bid to making itself the 14th state to allow for the medicinal usage of marijuana, the fact that it is seriously being discussed in government chambers is a definite step in the right direction.