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Kansas Statehouse considers medical cannabis program that would be strictest in U.S.

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A bill creating what’s among the most limited medical marijuana programs in the country was introduced in the Kansas Statehouse, after several years of failed attempts at creating a program.

Kansas is one of only 10 states that doesn’t have either medical or recreational cannabis. The Kansas House passed a medical marijuana bill in 2021, but the Senate didn’t take up the bill and there hasn’t been movement on the issue since.

Senate Bill 555, introduced in the Senate on Monday, would launch a pilot program for people with one of 16 medical conditions. The types of marijuana available, though, will be more limited than in other states that have created medical cannabis programs.


It won't allow people to consume cannabis through smoking, vaping or flavored edibles but will allow people to purchase cannabis flower, pills tinctures, patches and ointments. Pharmacies, not dispensaries, will be the way that cannabis flower is distributed in the state.

“It is very important that physician-ordered medication goes through a pharmacist,” said Jared Holroyd, executive director of the Kansas Pharmacists Association, in a news release. “Receiving medication through a pharmacist, versus a dispensary such as in other states, gives patients a needed level of confidence in the prescription with expert answers to their questions.”

The Senate has been the main barrier to the passage of a medical marijuana bill over the past couple of years, raising concerns that medical marijuana programs have to be limited enough that it wouldn’t potentially lead to recreational legalization.

But Senate President Ty Masterson, R-Andover, signaled he would be open to a limited pilot program in an interview in January with KSNT TV.

“This bill was written to comprehensively address the concerns legislators had with previous bills and to ensure that Kansas has the most conservative and controlled medical cannabis program in the nation,” said Sam Jones, chief operating officer of Kansas Natural Remedies, the state’s largest indoor hemp producer.

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