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Kansas House committee passes medical marijuana bill to full House for vote

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    TOPEKA, Kansas (KCTV) — The Kansas House will likely vote on a medical marijuana bill later this week. It’s a historic event in the conservative state where legislation of its kind has never made it this far.

Supporters of the bill believe it’s likely to pass the House. Only 25 Republicans need to vote ‘yes’ in order for it go on to the Senate. There is bipartisan support, but there are still a lot of people against medical marijuana in Kansas.

The Kansas house will likely vote on that question later this week legislation of this kind has never made it this far.

“We’re confident that it will pass. If it doesn’t pass, we’ll go from there. But, I think that everything says it should,” Erin Montroy, Co-President of the Kansas Cannabis Association said.

Montroy is hopeful the bill will be on Governor Laura Kelly’s desk for a signature by the end of the month.

“Because we do have bipartisan support and we have a much less restrictive building than we started with, much less restrictive than I imagined it would be. And so, I think it’s a great jumping off point for Kansas,” Montroy said.

The measure passed out the House Federal and State Affairs Committee Tuesday with a 12-8 vote.

Among those voting ‘yes,’ was Paola Republican Stephanie Poetter.

“I would say we have a good 60% of Republicans who support,” Poetter said.

Poetter describes her views on marijuana as “more libertarian.”

She also polled her constituents on the issue of medical marijuana and discovered overwhelming support.

“Seventy-six percent of Republicans in my district, and I have a very conservative district, support it. And, if you add the Democrats, it’s over 80% support of constituents,” she said.

Poetter says she was also moved by testimony of those in support of medical marijuana, so much so she decided to be an active supporter of the measure instead of sitting on the sidelines.

“One of the biggest things that stood out to me during testimonies was studies in states that have passed it, veterans and the suicide rate dropped dramatically,” Poetter said.

But not all Republicans are on board.

“Marijuana is listed as a class one drug because it has no proven medical benefits and it has serious side effects,” Hutchinson Republican Paul Waggoner said.

Waggoner doesn’t believe the science is there to support medical marijuana in most cases.

“I don’t think it’s a good bill. I think it’s way too broad. I don’t think it’s really legitimately medical. I think the problems with it outweigh the benefits,” Waggoner said.

Among those against the bill are law enforcement groups, some medical associations, and conservative coalitions.

Supporters of the bill say it would be a game-changer for the Kansas economy, while improving the quality of life for many patients.

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