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The State of Marijuana: Kansas

April 13, 2017


MY theory is this: The Wizard of Oz is an anti-marijuana propaganda film designed to teach the children of Kansas that marijuana has no place in Kansan society. It might sound crazy but just think about it: Dorothy and Toto get abducted by a Twister (just one step away from a Volcano) and they find themselves in a magical land with talking animals, singing Munchkins, and Technicolor. It all fits: Dorothy smoked some pot and got swept away from the safe Kansan society conservatives will do anything to protect!


Kansas is the quintessential fly-over state. Situated right in the middle of the country, this flat plain-land is no friend to the liberal politics of the coasts. This is especially the case when it comes to marijuana reform.


Kansas is one of five states left in the United States to continue the full prohibition of marijuana. Not only is recreational weed still classified as a Schedule I substance in the state, but medical marijuana is illegal as well. And, boy, do they have the penalties to match. If you're caught with any amount of marijuana less than 450 grams, you'll get a misdemeanor, a $1,000 fine, and possibly 6 months in jail. If you're caught with any intent to sell and distribute, you're an automatic felon that'll face a minimum of 14 months in jail. 


It's been this way for quite a while in the Sunflower State. In fact, it's been this way since 1927 when Kansas' prohibition on marijuana began. This doesn't go to say that the state hasn't tried to pass legislative reform since then. In 2013, what's been dubbed as the "Cannabis Compassion and Care Act" was pre-filed by Congressman David Haley (D). The law called for the legalization of medical marijuana for those with debilitating diseases. Patients would be allowed to posses up to 6 ounces of marijuana to treat the symptoms of serious diseases like cancer, PTSD, and multiple sclerosis. Unfortunately for those with debilitating diseases, they bill failed to pass in the state's Senate. 


This is affecting real people with real diseases. In 2015, Garden City resident Shonda Banda was arrested for using marijuana to treat her Chron's disease. Her son was removed from her by Child Protection Services and she was given 30 years of jai time. As you're reading this right now, she is sitting in a jail cell because her state deemed her non-violent, medically beneficial marijuana use as criminal.  


Wichita, the state's largest city, was able to pass a publicly supported  decriminalization bill back in 2015 that reduced the penalty of first time possession to a criminal infraction with just a $50 fine. The bill saw a great deal of opposition though, particularly from the state's Attorney General Derek Schmidt. He filed a suit against the city because of it's conflicting penalties with state laws. In January of 2016, Kansas Supreme Court ruled the bill invalid. 


Kansan law enforcement even took it a step further back in 2015 when 10 sheriffs from Kansas, along with others from Nebraska and Colorado, filed suit against the state of Colorado after they legalized recreational marijuana. They argued that Colorado's reforms put a burden on their neighboring states to keep the drug from crossing state borders. Luckily, the lawsuit was dismissed by the Supreme Court.


It seems like Kansas lawmakers will stop at no end to continue the War on Drugs. Their hatred for marijuana is affecting the lives of many people who could use the drug to treat debilitating illnesses. Though several new bills have been proposed for 2017 to introduce medical marijuana, the future doesn't look too bright for any sort of marijuana reform in the state. 


Dorothy spent the entirety of The Wizard of Oz trying to get back to Kansas. If I was her, I wouldn't just stayed on that yellow brick road. 




Now check out the 15 best songs for when you're stoned!

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