TOPEKA, Kan. (Feb. 8, 2017) – A Kansas bill would legalize medical marijuana for qualifying patients in the state, setting the stage for people there to nullify in practice the federal prohibition on the same.
Introduced by Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City), Senate Bill 155 (SB155) would legalize medical marijuana in pursuance of “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.”
Patients would be able to qualify for medical marijuana if they suffered from one or more of the following ailments listed in SB155:
(1) 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;
(2) 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; or
(3) any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the [department of health and environment]
Medical marijuana patients would be allowed to designate a caregiver under SB155, which would permit another individual the legal authority to grow the plant on behalf of the qualifying patient. Dispensaries, called “compassion centers” in SB155, would be permitted to operate as well provided that they comply with the tax and regulatory structure established under the legislation.
“I think the ice is beginning to thaw regarding the reasonableness of the issue among the leadership of the Legislature,” Sen. Haley said in a Washington Times report.
Despite the federal prohibition on marijuana, measures such as SB155 and its House counterparts remain perfectly constitutional, and the feds can do little if anything to stop them in practice.
The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970 prohibits all of this behavior. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.
Legalization of medical marijuana in Kansas would remove a layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana, but federal prohibition will remain on the books.
FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By curtailing state prohibition, Kansas sweeps away much of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.
Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly annual budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution either. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.
A GROWING MOVEMENT
Kansas could join a growing number states simply ignoring federal prohibition, and nullifying it in practice. Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have already legalized recreational cannabis with California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts set to join them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization were passed in those states earlier this month.
With more than two-dozen states allowing cannabis for medical use as well, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition any more.
“The lesson here is pretty straight forward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.
SB155 has yet to receive a committee assignment at the present time. It must be referred to a committee and approved before the bill can receive a full Senate vote.
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