Kansas Cannabis Laws

Is Cannabis Legal In Kansas?
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Kansas Law: 

StateRecreationalMedical MarijuanaCBD

Federal Law:

Recreational Medical MarijuanaCBD

Is recreational cannabis legal in Kansas?

No. Recreational use of cannabis has been illegal in Kansas since 1927. Possession of even a small amount can result in a misdemeanor crime. 

Cannabis legislation progressed in Wichita when it successfully voted to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis in 2017, but the state attorney general immediately voided the bill. Since then, there has been little advancement, with authorities continuing to undermine cannabis normalization. For example, police officials continually blame cannabis use for spikes in fatal car crashes, even after acknowledging a myriad of other factors contributing to the accidents. 

Is Medical Marijuana legal in Kansas?

No. There have been several attempts starting in 2013 to legalize MMJ, but it has stalled in the state senate every time. MMJ is still currently illegal in Kansas. 

In March 2015, resident Shona Banda, who was using medical cannabis to treat her debilitating Crohn’s disease, was arrested and charged with five felony counts. Her later arrest and prosecution have sparked a heated debate about medical marijuana in Kansas. Many criticize how harshly she was treated, stating it’s a “textbook example of why we need to seriously consider changing the laws in the state of Kansas concerning marijuana and especially medical marijuana.”

Most recently, democratic pro cannabis advocates attempt a different approach to persuade republicans to expand the state’s medical-marijuana program. Kansas governor, Laura Kelly, proposed medical marijuana would increase enough revenue to develop the state’s Medicaid plan. She believes more than 200,000 residents would gain eligibility for coverage by creating an MMJ program and inject billions of dollars into the economy. To be determined how Republicans will react to the proposal. 

Are CBD products legal in Kansas? 

Yes. Since the passage of the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, hemp-derived CBD products are legal under federal law in the United States; as long as they contain at most 0.3% THC. 

Any and all CBD in food and drink is still federally illegal.

Kansas Cannabis Timeline:

1927: Cannabis Prohibition in Kansas begins. 

1937: The Marihuana (archaic spelling of Marijuana) Tax Act was enacted banning cannabis at the federal level. Medical Marijuana use was still permitted.

1951: The Boggs Act, Sponsored by Hale Boggs and signed into law under President Harry S. Truman, This act set mandatory sentencing and increased punishment for cannabis possession. 

1969: The Marihuana Tax Act is deemed unconstitutional in the landmark Leary v. United States. Timothy Leary, a professor, and activist was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Leary then challenged the act on the ground that the act required self-incrimination, which violated his Fifth Amendment rights. (The self-incrimination clause provides various protections against self-incrimination, including the right of an individual to not serve as a witness in a criminal case in which they are the defendant, better known as “Pleading the Fifth”.) The unanimous opinion of the court was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Therefore, Leary’s conviction was overturned.

1970: The Controlled Substances Act is enacted (replacing the unconstitutional Marihuana Tax Act). Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug, determined to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use, thereby prohibiting its use for any purpose. This act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon. 

This legislation created five classifications, with specific qualifications for a substance to be included in each. The substances scheduling (classification) are determined by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Yet, Congress does have the power to schedule or de-schedule substances through legislation. Substance scheduling decisions are based on its potential for abuse, accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and international treaties.

Classification of Controlled Substances:

Schedule I: High potential of abuse, not acceptable for medical use

Schedule II: High potential of abuse, sometimes allowed with “severe restrictions” for medical use

Schedule II: Medium potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule IV: Moderate potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

Schedule V: Lowest potential of abuse, acceptable for medical use

1984-1986: Mandatory Sentencing and the three-strikes law were created under the Reagan Administration. This accounts for some of the harshest drug laws created including mandatory 25-year imprisonment for certain drug offenses and the promotion of the death penalty to be used against “drug kingpins”.

1998: House Joint Resolution 117, encouraged by the passing of California’s Prop 215, the House of Representatives passed this measure to support the existing Federal legal process for determining the safety and efficacy of certain drugs.  

2013-2015: Kansas Cannabis Compassion and Care Acts stall in the State Senate and House.

2014: The Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment passed in the U.S. House and signed into law prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws.

2015: Kansas v. Shona Banda, a citizen who was using medical cannabis to treat her debilitating Crohn’s disease, was arrested and charged with five felony counts. Her later arrest and prosecution have sparked a heated debate about medical marijuana in Kansas.

2015: Kansas Sheriff’s unsuccessful lawsuit against the state of Colorado.10 Kansas sheriffs from Kansas attempted to sue the state of Colorado, alleging that the state’s legalization of cannabis was placing an undue burden on law enforcement in neighboring states.

2017: Wichita citizens vote to decriminalize cannabis for the bill to be ruled out by the AG. The city of Wichita voted to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis, but the state attorney general ruled the bill to be void in the state 

2018: Farm bill legalizes low-THC hemp nationwide and effectively de-schedules hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) from the Controlled Substances Act.

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