It’s no plan for legalization, but it’s something; as of July 1, qualified patients will be able to use low THC cannabis oil in Kansas. Claire and Lola’s Law a.k.a. House Bill 2244 does not allow for legal sale or production of the oil, but individuals and families who meet requirements will be able to leave the state to purchase it, then come back home to administer the medicine.
Prior to the law’s passage, Kansas was one of only four states without a comprehensive recreational or medical marijuana program — despite the fact that 18 pieces of medical marijuana legislation have been introduced since 2006.
The bill technically gives patients an affirmative defense, to be utilized should they be charged with a drug-related crime for taking the CBD oil. Additionally, HB 2244 bars the state’s Department of Children and Families from removing a kid from a family that uses CBD oil.
Claire and Lola’s Law was named for two sisters with microcephaly, cerebral palsy, and dwarfism. Older sister Claire Hartley died in December, and her parents were convinced that low THC cannabis oil was a must-try to save little sis Lola from a similar fate. “I know it would have helped her with some of the struggles in her life,” the Hartley father Scott testified to a House committee in March.
The Hartley family will now be able to make the seven-hour trip to Colorado in order to obtain the medicine for Lola.
The law was passed by the House of Representatives in March by a vote of 89-35, and got the go-ahead from the state’s Senate on Monday. It stipulates that patients need a doctor’s letter from the last 15 months that states that they have a debilitating medical condition. Testing of the product — limited to cannabis oil with a THC content of 5 percent or lower — will be required.
HB 2244 met resistance from the Kansas Bureau of Investigations, as well as some lawmakers who voted against it because the law simply did not go far enough. “Why wouldn’t we have done something that’s actually a solution to the problem instead of something that’s just a band-aid or something?” asked House Majority Leader Dan Hawkins.
Indeed, the state has been actually regressing on some marijuana issues, raising the chances of arrest and conviction for drug offenses. In 2018, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that it was unnecessary for police to seek a warrant to enter a house if they could smell marijuana from outside the domicile. Previously, the state had allowed officers to search automobiles if the scent of cannabis was apparent.
Former marijuana executive and attorney Barry Grissom recently declared his intention to run for US Senate. But perhaps the youth will be the ones to change things. In 2017, a 16 year old named Jack Bergeson launched a campaign to run for governor in the state. His platform included higher wages for teachers, a freeze on tax increases for low income salaries — and marijuana legalization.