Is there one final lawmaker push for medical marijuana in Kansas?

Capitol Bureau

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Medical marijuana is still alive this year in the Kansas Senate. The Kansas House passed the measure.

“So, yes, it’s up to the Senate,” said Sen. Jeff Pittman, D-Leavenworth. “But it’s just stuck in committee now, it may come out, but it may have to wait.”

Pittman says states all around Kansas have taken action on medical marijuana, but Kansas may have to wait.

“It’s been delayed by the Senate leadership,” said Pittman.

Pittman says it is delayed by being in a committee after the Kansas House passed the measure.

One leader in the Kansas Senate says the move could yet go onto the Senate floor for a vote, but there is technically only one day left in the lawmaking session this year in Topeka.

“We know it’s coming,” said Sen. Rick Wilborn, R-McPherson.

Wilborn is also the vice president of the Kansas Senate.

“This was a last minute, three hour debate in the House.”

Wilborn says it passed easily in the Kansas House, but there may not be enough time to sort out a fast track process in the Senate with the time remaining.

“We understand that states around us have passed some sort of marijuana legislatio, and we obviously recognize there is a need,” said Wilborn. “But let me point this out, there are a lot of constituents who are concerned about the camel’s nose under the tent. That is, is this the first step to expansion?”

Wilborn also says with medical applications in mind, he voted for medicinal use for low-level THC in the past, but he says questions for medical marijuana include police enforcement for driving while impaired as well as private businesses and drug testing.

“These questions have not been debated in the Senate this year,” said Wilborn.

The measure in the Senate would need 24 votes to get out of committee. It would need 21 votes to pass in the Senate. But, will it get out of committee with only one day remaining when lawmakers go back to Topeka on May 26 for the final day of the session?

“I think in the end there’s 21 votes to support medical marijuana. And that’s a guess by the way,” said Wilborn. “But I’m not certain there’s 24 votes to pull it out at this late date and force the vote on the Kansas Senate.”

“So it doesn’t die,” said Pittman. “But we only have one day left.”

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