Two Kansas bills would legalize medical marijuana in the state, effectively nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition on the same.
House Bill 2011 (HB2011) and Senate Bill 9 (SB9) were prefiled on Jan. 2 for introduction during the 2015 legislative session. Rep. Gail Finney (D-Wichita) is responsible for the house version while Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) is responsible for the senate version. Both bills contain the same language.
The bills are based on a solid foundation of anti-commandeering. They read, in part:
“States are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. Therefore, compliance with the cannabis compassion and care act does not put the state of Kansas in violation of federal law.”
Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana under HB2011 and SB9 include “cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, nail patella or the treatment of these conditions.”
Furthermore, medical marijuana would be lawfully permitted under the bills to treat “a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: Cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe pain; severe nausea; seizures, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of epilepsy or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to, those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.” Additional illnesses can be added at the discretion of state regulators.
Medical patients can possess “12 cannabis plants and six ounces of usable cannabis for each qualifying patient.” They can also designate a caregiver to possess that same amount of marijuana on their behalf. Dispensaries are allowed under the bill to distribute medical marijuana to eligible patients. “Compassion centers,” as they are referred to in the bill, would be regulated by the department of health and environment.
Qualifying medical marijuana patients operating under these bills will not face “civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau.” Schools and landlords are also barred from discriminating against medical marijuana patients and caregivers by denying them based upon their lawful participation in the program.
Employers are banned from firing patients and caregivers based upon their participation in the medical marijuana program “unless a failure to do so would put an employer in violation of federal law or federal regulations.” Custody rights are also not to be denied or infringed based upon lawful participation in the program.
The legislation correctly cites the 10th Amendment as the Constitutional basis for the proposed law:
The legislature of the state of Kansas declares that the cannabis compassion and care act is enacted pursuant to the police power of the state to protect the health of its citizens that is reserved to the state of Kansas and its people under the 10th amendment to the United States constitution.
The federal government currently lists marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic and attempts to prohibit it for any purpose. Tenth Amendment Center national communications director Mike Maharrey says this clearly violates the Constitution.
“The Constitution delegates no power to the federal government to prohibit marijuana in the states. This power remains with the state governments and the people. Doubt me? Then ask yourself why it required a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol. There is no fundamental difference,” Maharrey said.
As more states take marijuana policy into their own hands, defying the federal prohibition, the federal government has become increasingly incapable of enforcing its unconstitutional prohibition. They simply lack the resources to stop the tidal wave. For those concerned about the health care and personal choices of people living in Kentucky, this cannot come too soon.
“The last time half the states took action to nullify the federal government was in response to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850,” said Maharrey. “This is historic, and it can continue with the passage of HB2011 and SB9 in Kansas during this year’s legislative session.”
Medical marijuana is an incredibly important issue pertaining to nullification and states’ rights. Because it is so overwhelmingly popular, medical marijuana can act as a metaphorical ‘gateway drug’ to the idea of state and local resistance to onerous federal laws. With this issue, it is possible to show the residents of your state that local control better serves the needs of the people than the top-down federal approach that has failed for so many decades.
Although it draws a legal distinction between recreational and medical marijuana, HB2011 and SB9 mark an enormous step in the right direction for both medical marijuana supporters and advocates of decentralized government in the state of Kansas. It signals that the public is ready to throw off the shackles of ‘federal supremacy’ and take lawmaking into their own hands.
In Kansas: Contact your state representative, and urge them to co-sponsor HB2011. Contact your state senator, and urge them to co-sponsor SB9. You can find their contact information by clicking HERE.
In Other States: Contact your state legislators and politely demand that they introduce bills legalizing medical or recreational cannabis. You can find their contact information by clicking HERE.
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