TOPEKA (KSNT) – Kansas legislators put the medical marijuana bill on hold after hearings ended Thursday morning.
Republicans on the Senate’s federal and state affairs committees voted to “introduce” Senate Bill 135. Both Democrats on the committee voted against the move.
“I think this definitely needs a lot of thinking,” said Sen. Elinwood Alicia Straub, who moved to introduce the bill. “And we really feel the need to protect our children, especially with the testimony we heard today, and I don’t think we are ready to do this today.”
The move means no further discussion or action will be taken this year. Members of the committee may introduce a bill later this year to resume work, but for now the bill will not progress unless further steps are taken.
This came after lawmakers completed two consecutive public hearings on the bill. The testimony even caused one Republican senator to change the tone of the bill.
“Today, I am no longer a supporter. I am a dissenter…because of the knowledge and all that we have been given,” said Sen. Rick Kloos of R-Berryton. About what this medicinal marijuana can do for an individual. “
Senators heard opinions from opponents on Thursday. This includes law enforcement officers, health officials, and Republican state leaders.
Some believe there are mental health and addiction issues stemming from marijuana use.
Tony Mativi, director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, has voiced his opposition to the agency’s legislation in the past and voiced his concerns at the hearing. Pointed out the lack of resources needed to test stuff. He also cited research by Dr. Eric Voss, another opponent of medical marijuana, to talk about the effects it can have on a child’s mental health.
“The most compelling thing he sent me was a study that showed a link between increased THC use in adolescents and mental illness,” Mattivi said. If there’s one thing I think we can all agree on, it’s that we don’t want to promote children’s access to things that have a negative impact on their mental health.
To view the full committee hearing, click here.