Mallory Houser
KU Statehouse Wire Service
The House Health and Human Services committee heard strong debate over HB2152 on Wednesday that would allow regulated access to hemp products for certain medical conditions.
Rep. John Wilson (D- Lawrence) has worked for the past four years on various reiterations of this bill, but has not been successful in it getting passed. Wilson said the difference between this bill and others in the past is restricting the cultivation of the cannabis plant grown to only varieties that are high in cannabidiol, also known as CBD, and only up to 3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. CBD has no intoxicating effects, while THC is the chemical that induces most of marijuana’s psychological effects.
“I think 2152 represents a Kansas solution that is designed for specific medical conditions, and for very limited forms of consumption and access,” Wilson said.
Qualifying medical conditions that HB2152 would cover for a patient 21 and over include Alzheimer’s, cancer, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder or a condition causing seizures, such as epilepsy. For patients under 21, conditions causing seizures is the only qualifying condition.
Families who are affected by these conditions supported HB2152, such as Great Bend resident Jill Lane. Lane’s son, Trenton, suffers from a rare disorder that causes seizures to occur frequently since he was 10 months old. As a special education teacher, Lane has spread awareness around her community about HB2152.
“My principal, my priest; They are behind us and they are behind this bill. They want whatever will help these children,” Lane said.
Opponents were torn about their reasoning against HB2152, one being that it did not do enough, and that the entire cannabis plant should be included for medical treatment.
Representing Bleeding Kansas Advocates, Lisa Sublett compared the ban of marijuana to the 1920’s prohibition, further providing a baseless stigma to the drug. Sublett emphasized that people suffering from such conditions deserve the best treatment that medical providers recommend.
“God made an amazing plant. When it is taken as a whole, it works the way it’s supposed to. But when you take things out and make them synthetic… We can’t fake what God did,” Sublett said.
Sublett also stressed that children suffering from diseases such as epilepsy have been treated with highly addictive drugs, such as benzodiazepines, and continue to suffer.
“If you are worried about these kids being high, I’m sorry, you are late to the game,” Sublett said.
Legislative Liaison for Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police Ed Klumpp raised concerns about public safety, such as the burden it places on law enforcement. Some law enforcement implications include adopting new policy, training new drug dogs, and the enforcement of marijuana violations.
Rep. Daniel Hawkins (R- Wichita) adjourned the meeting abruptly with no clear date set for further discussion on this bill.