A small majority of the Kansas House of Representatives rejected an amendment for medical cannabis on Monday
The medical cannabis amendment lost in a 54-69 vote
Rep. Cindy Holscher introduced the amendment in hopes of helping her daughter with rheumatoid arthritis
Rep. John Wheeler was concerned medical cannabis could lead to “absolute chaos on the streets of Kansas”
Kansas House did give preliminary approval for the sale and use of CBD
For a brief moment on Monday it appeared Kansas had abandoned there propaganda fueled views towards medical cannabis during the Kansas House of Representatives vote on the legalization of medical use.
While cannabis advocates agreed the vote entertained the most legislative discussion the Sunflower State has ever seen, medical use was rejected by a 54-69 vote.
Rep Cindy Holscher
The proposal for medical cannabis was introduced as an amendment to SB 282, which concerns the “uniform controlled substances act; relating to substances included in schedules I, II and III.” The amendment was introduced by Rep. Cindy Holscher, a Democrat from Olathe.
Holscher’s daughter suffers from rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and feels that cannabis could be a safer alternative for her than prescription pills. During Monday’s vote, Holscher read off some of the dangerous side effects of her daughter’s medication, methotrexate.
In 2009, a review of 21 studies showed that 73% of RA patients who used methotrexate experienced at least one side effect. Gastrointestinal issues is the most common side effect, affecting 20% to 65% of RA patients who take methotrexate. Hair loss, mouth ulcers and sores, headaches, and fatigue are other common side effects of the drug.
Rep. Linda Gallagher, a Republican from Lenexa, pushed for the amendment to go through on behalf of constituent Christine Gordon, who has been desperately fighting for years to try cannabis on her 6-year-old daughter Autumn’s for her severe seizures.
At this point, the Gordon family has no choice but to leave their life behind and move to Colorado in hopes of finding a medication that can help give Autumn somewhat of a healthy life. Autumn suffers from a type of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. Gordon has tried every conventional medicine on the market but nothing has been able to help with Autumn’s condition, and most come with horrifying side effects.
Even with an unprecedented level of support from the Kansas House, the small majority refuses to budge on their biased view towards cannabis use.
Rep. Abraham Rafie
Rep. Abraham Rafie, a Republican from Overland Park, who happens to be a radiologist, believes the science behind medical cannabis to be mixed. Rafie stated that there may be some truth to the claims of cannabis helping with nausea and seizures. However, he weighed it against public health hazards in states that legalized.
In specific, Rafie pointed out Colorado, which is a recreational use state making the comparison unmatched to begin with. Rafie claimed since Colorado legalized there has been an increase in youth use and cannabis-related car accidents.
Rafie’s claim of more youths trying cannabis since legalization is unfounded. According to PolitiFact, a survey from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment showed a scant increase in youths using cannabis since Colorado legalized recreation in 2012.
The 2015 survey includes 17,000 middle school and high school students chosen at random. According to the survey, 38% of high school students had used cannabis. In 2013, 36.9% of high school students had tried cannabis.
According to new federal data, youths using cannabis in Colorado is at the lowest it has been in the last decade. The state-level numbers from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that in 2015 and 2016 only 9% of children used cannabis monthly. The lowest percentage since 2007. It should also be noted that teen use of alcohol, tobacco and heroin are down as well.
According to the Highway Loss Data Institute, car accidents in Colorado, Washington and Oregon have gone up by 3% since legalizing cannabis. There is not a sufficient amount of data to correlate the direct relationship between cannabis and the increase in accidents. However, Denver alone saw a 6% spike in visitors from 2015 to 2016, so is it a huge surprise to see an increase in car accidents in an area that had 31.5 million visitors in 2016?
Rep. John Wheeler
Rep. John Wheeler, a Republican from Garden City, was against the amendment, claiming it had not been vetted by the House and over time “could open the door to absolute chaos on the streets of Kansas.” Wheeler believes medical use is just the first step to allowing widespread cannabis use among those who do not have medical issues.
Derek Schmidt VS CBD
After rejecting Holscher’s amendment, the House did give preliminary approval for the use and sale of cannabidiol (CBD), as long as no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is present. Stores in Kansas had been selling CBD products until Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt wrote an opinion in January deeming CBD illegal even if it lacked THC.
The House will most-likely take a final vote on the CBD bill on Tuesday. The CBD bill needs Senate approval to become a law. While it is a small victory for the medical cannabis community, the CBD bill means nothing for 6-year-old Autumn. Due to the severity of her condition, and many like her, it has been suggested that she try cannabis with THC.
While the old glory days of propaganda-fueled cannabis hate and fear mongering is close to an end in Kansas, it is clear that some will fight until the bittersweet end. However, after yesterday’s defeat the medical cannabis community has a new hope that the fight may not last much longer.