The end of this year’s legislative session is fast approaching in the state of Kansas, and it’s quickly becoming evident that an agreement on the legalization of medical marijuana won’t be reached. On May 23rd, 2022, Kansas lawmakers will bring this year’s legislative session to a close, however, the debate on the legalization of MMJ is likely to remain unresolved.
On March 11th of this year, Senate lawmakers introduced Bill 560, proposing the regulation of medical cannabis in the state, however, votes on the matter have yet to be taken. With an ever-tightening deadline, it’s becoming more and more clear that Kansans will likely not have answers before the end of the year.
Running Out Of Time
According to Senate Spokesperson Mike Pirner, it is unlikely that a compromise will be reached at the final legislative session. Simply put, there isn’t enough time to hash out opposing views on the matter. “Given we plan to only be there one day, it’s unlikely that work could be completed on that item,” said Pirner in an e-mail to the Kansas Capitol Bureau.
Being that lawmakers are still in the very early stages of drafting up solutions that will pass in both the House and Senate, final conclusions are not yet on the horizon.
The Right Mix
Like most things, opinions on the legalization and regulation of medical marijuana in Kansas exist on two ends of a binary. For senators and lawmakers, it is about finding a balance that pleases both ends of that binary.
According to Senator Rob Olson, it’s not a matter of having enough votes in the chambers. Instead, it’s a matter of passing legislation that will feel appropriate for all Kansans.
While Governor Laura Kelly, who has been serving as a politician since 2019, has made it one of her top priorities to legalize medical cannabis for the last two years, some of her political counterparts are more reticent on the matter.
The lack of action on Kansas’ part could lead to opportunity loss. According to MJBizDaily, the legalization of medical cannabis in states like Kansas and North Carolina “would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in marijuana and ancillary business opportunities down the road.”
Further, Kansas finds itself in a bit of a geographical conundrum when it comes to the legalization of medicinal marijuana. The state is bordered by Missouri, Colorado, and Oklahoma, three states who have legal – and thriving – cannabis markets.
In the last 4 years, Oklahoma has seen more than $14 million in revenue for the state in licensure alone. Missouri has seen similar success, accruing $30 million in tax revenue in recent years. While neighboring states have profited from a fruitful market, Kansas has remained dormant in a flourishing industry.
In a global consumer market that largely saw plummets in profit at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the medicinal marijuana industry flourished. Between February 2020 and May 2020, medical cannabis sales in the state of Oklahoma increased from $47.4 to $73.8 million dollars.
With the final legislative session just a few short days away, it’s safe to assume Kansas won’t see any substantial governmental change regarding the MMJ debate for the foreseeable future. Time constraints and opposing views have made common Kansan ground difficult to obtain.
We have our fingers crossed that the state will soon learn of its potential to earn prolific tax revenue and join its neighboring counterparts in a necessary market that will only continue to grow.
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