“Although the Legislature has worked to address medical marijuana, further study is needed.”

By Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector

Republican Sen. Michael Fagg made a compelling case for scheduling joint House and Senate hearings on options for developing medical marijuana legislation in advance of convening the 2025 Kansas Legislature.

The Legislative Coordinating Council, comprising Republican and Democratic leadership in both chambers, on Tuesday granted the Senate Utilities Committee chairman’s request for two days of interim meetings to hash out opportunities for Kansas to join the 14 states that legalized medical consumption of marijuana. Two dozen other states, including Missouri and Colorado, allow recreational consumption of pot.

“Although the Legislature has worked to address medical marijuana, further study is needed,” Fagg said.

He said a conversation about medical marijuana was warranted after announcement in May by the U.S. Department of Justice that it proposed to move cannabis with THC content over 0.3 percent from designation as a Schedule I drug, viewed as having no medical benefit, to the less-restrictive Schedule III. The result could ease some restrictions on cannabis-related research, promote cannabinoid drug development and alter the legal framework for cannabis growers and distributors.

The change would be the most significant shift in federal drug policy in decades, but it didn’t mean commerce permitted under state law for medical or recreational marijuana would be matched under federal law.

“The special committee would also study the impact of this reclassification,” Fagg said.

In part, the committee would also consider how other states handled medical marijuana access for military veterans and patients suffering end-of-life medical challenges. Another element of the hearings could be the structure of CBD enforcement in Kansas.

This story was first published by Kansas Reflector.

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