Kansas sits in a shrinking pool of states with the strictest marijuana and hemp laws, surrounded by a wave of decriminalization and legalization that’s swept most of the U.S.
So it’s no surprise that the topic of cannabis keeps cropping up in the Kansas Statehouse, where some lawmakers and lobbyists want the Free State to jump on the bandwagon.
That means terms like cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol make their way into bills and debates. Here’s a primer on pot and policy in Kansas and elsewhere.
The marijuana boom
As far as the feds are concerned, marijuana is illegal.
Sure, the Obama administration nudged prosecutors not to go after people who sell it for medical use in states where that’s allowed. And it didn’t step in when states began allowing recreational use, either.
But administrations change. And Trump’s is showing more interest in a showdown between state and federal rules.
There’s potential, at least, for quite a clash. Tallies by the National Conference of State Legislatures show at least 29 states now allow medical marijuana, nine permit recreational use and some others allow derivative products (more on that below).
Amid that patchwork, Kansas is one of just four states not allowing any of this, for any purposes.
Notably, next-door Colorado was one of two states to lead the charge on recreational use in 2012. It’s reasonable to think some skiers leaving the state on eastbound Interstate 70 might have a little skunk in the trunk. Yet Kansas law enforcement agencies told the attorney general in 2016 that they aren’t seizing more of the drug — but the stuff they find is stronger than before.
Hemp and marijuana come from the same plant species, but hemp has so little THC in it that drug users can’t get high from it. THC