Kansas

Kansas Gubernatorial Debate: Legalizing Marijuana and Transgender Bathrooms

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) - Some issues impacting Kansans have made headlines recently and one of those issues is legalizing marijuana. 

We asked the candidates what their stances were on legalizing marijuana. 

Secretary Kris Kobach said he is opposed to legalizing marijuana in Kansas and certainly opposed to recreational marijuana legalization. 

"With medical marijuana, I do not think the time is right," said Kobach. 

Kobach said he would like to see if an individual would be able to find the treatment they need with CBD in a pill form, which the FDA has recently approved. 

CBD is a chemical component of the Cannabis sativa plant, also known as marijuana. 

"In every state that has tried with medical marijuana, there is always a doctor somewhere who will write a prescription for anyone," claims Kobach. "It is never professionally restricted. So let's see how CBD does in pill form and let's go from there." 

Senator Laura Kelly said she does support the legalization of marijuana in the state of Kansas. 

"There are many benefits for young children with severe seizure disorders and for end-of-life use," said Kelly. "It would also be incredibly helpful in helping to reduce the opioid crisis."

Kelly said fewer opioids would be prescribed if medical marijuana was available as an option for patients. 

"I think the legislature is prepared to pass this," said Kelly.  

Kelly said she also believes sentencing guidelines for marijuana possession should be revisited. 

"We are destroying our families and costing the state of fortune," said Kelly. "We need treatment options, not incarceration."

Greg Orman said medical marijuana should be legalized in Kansas partly because Kansas laws are driving residents to other states, like Colorado. 

"I went to Colorado to meet a young man who was having up to 200 seizures a day and had to leave Kansas to get treatment," said Orman. "He has now not had a seizure in months."

Orman also said the legalization could lead to lowering opioid addiction rates. 

"I do not see any reason why are we are not moving ahead with this," said Orman.  

Another issue at the forefront: transgender bathrooms in Kansas public schools. 

Senator Kelly said she supports the idea of bringing transgender bathrooms to Kansas public schools. Claiming the issue greatly affected North Carolina when transgender bathrooms were banned.  

"What happened was people who were packed up and ready to move to North Carolina said, never mind, we are not coming," said Kelly. "There was a huge economic impact on the state. They rescinded the bill."

Kelly also said she believes it would be discrimination to not allow transgender bathrooms and in turn would make it difficult for Kansas to attract younger people to the state. 

Greg Orman said he doesn't believe Kansas should be regulating how people use the bathroom. 

"I believe the kansas should be open and welcoming," said Orman.

Orman said if someone plans to commit a violent crime, they will commit that crime no matter the bathroom laws. 

Kobach, however, disagrees. 

"I oppose them in our public schools," said Kobach. "I have five daughters." 

Kobach also said the views of Kelly and Orman were "very liberal thinking" and disagreed with the suggestion that people will move to Kansas because of transgender bathrooms in public schools.  

"The opposite might occur if we allow transgender bathrooms," said Kobach. 

Kobach also suggested one way to solve the problem is to allow students to use a neutral bathroom, such as a faculty restroom. 

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