In February of this year the 2010 Medical Marijuana Act was introduced to the Kansas House by Rep Gail Finney; the bill is now before the Health and Human Services Committee.  As is the situation in the 14 legalized states, the bill proposes that medical marijuana use should be allowed by patients suffering severe and debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS, and glaucoma.

Ms Finney explained her position on the topic of medical marijuana as follows:

“… I introduced The Kansas Medical Marijuana Act (HB 2610) to the Health and Human Services Committee. It will legalize the use of marijuana with a prescription from a doctor. As a sufferer of lupus, I am very sympathetic to those with diseases such as cancer and HIV, and I think the chronically and terminally ill should be allowed to use the medicine that works best for them without having to fear being arrested or thrown in jail.  Also this bill makes sure the money generated from medical marijuana stays in Kansas by requiring that the marijuana be grown in Kansas.”

One experience that helped form Ms Finney’s sympathetic stance was meeting a man who not only battles with pancreatic cancer but with the judicial system too, since his prosecution for using marijuana to help ease the nausea and pain caused by his disease.

Rep Finney says, “To me, I think we’re making criminals out of a lot of our citizens, and those people are in some of the most vulnerable positions now. I just don’t think we need to penalize or criminalize our illest citizens.”

The legislation calls for the creation of  “compassionate care centers” where patients who have the backing of their doctors and who hold medical marijuana cards would be able  to purchase and use medical grade cannabis.

Opposing Finney is Kansas City Star, Rep. Scott Schwab, R–Olathe. “Let’s be honest,” he says, “this would be an attempt to legalize marijuana. It has no benefit for pain management. All it does is make you crave another bag of chips.”

Nevertheless, this is not the view of the Center for Medical Cannabis Research (CMCR).  The CMCR Report to the California Legislature stated   “… we now have reasonable evidence that cannabis is a promising treatment in selected pain syndromes caused by injury or diseases of the nervous system … and possibly for painful muscle spasticity due to multiple sclerosis.”

Supporters of the Kansas Medical Marijuana Act are in favor of legalization for several reasons, not least of which is its potential as a cash-crop.  Kansas, along with many states, faces a budget deficit of around $450m at the end of this financial year; and Kansas has acre upon acre of rolling cropland.  So could regulation and taxation of cannabis help pay off the debts?

One Kansas City resident, Erin Schwartz, believes,” The economy would most likely surplus if pot were to be legally grown domestically and taxed. It is, after all, the nation’s number one cash crop.”

Then, of course, there’s the cost of processing ‘criminals’ through the justice system – in 2006 marijuana arrests cost the state $69.41 million.  And then there is prison overcrowding…

It’s going to be a busy summer for Gail Finney and her supporters.


Author Dianne Morgan

More posts by Dianne Morgan

Join the discussion 28 Comments

  • Bill B says:

    I think that all of the people that represent us in Kansas should have to live with my pain for one day and this would be passed. It is crazy for a person that has not researched this to think people are just out to get high. If that is what we all wanted you could take extra pain ills for that. We are looking for something that helps us out day in and day out with our conditions. Mine is chronic pain. I get sick of taking all of the medication that js killing my body. Let us try something else. Why can’t the people of Kansas vote on something like this? I think they don’t want us to have a choice.lets figure out how to fight this…….

  • Paul says:

    I have a very stigmatized neurological disease, Major depression and anxiety…my neurological disease could be treated with a strain of cannabis that contains low levels of THC but plenty of CBD? I know that there are types of cannabis out there for my condition and the medication that I am on works yet lacks the effect of cannabis…I was symptom free for about a week from two puffs of some medical grade cannabis…I mean no symptomatic episodes…no voices, hallucinations or racing thoughts.. I wish someone would make a study out of me…

  • Judy Prawl says:

    I hope I am still alive when cannibus is legalized in Kansas. I have degenerative disc disease, osteoporosis, osteoarthritus, carpel tunnel in both hands, hypertension, chronic depression % anxiety. I have had one surgery on my neck &chin two on my lower back. I have nerve damage in my arms & legs. I have trouble walking due to nerve pain shooting down the back of my legs. I am also in follow up care from surgery to my left kidney for removal of cancer. Doctors refuse to give me adequate pain meds due to their addictive nature. Cannibus is my only hope to escape my pain. This is real & personal for me. Please join the movement for legalizing marijuana in Kansas NOW!!!

  • Deb says:

    I have MS..I am not on one of the ABC drugs because my Dr believes if I start the meds, I will be unable to work from the side effects of them. I currently work F.T. as a medical professional. I used to get shots for my migrains,,,put me out and unavailable to work for at least 24 hrs, sometimes longer. I found that pot makes them go away , or at least tolerable and shortens the episode considerably. It also eases muscle cramps, tremors…the list goes on. I am a fully functioning, working individual…Legalize it…or I may go to jail. Is that really what Kansas wants?

  • kansas needs to wake up if ur doctor say u need it then who r u come on man

  • ifoundit1 says:


    1.Lower crime rates in Kansas … Who are you Getting it from? The people actually in physical need wouldn’t have to go through Shady people to get there medicine keeping them from being exposed to unpleasant situations and other substances that should be and are condemned to be illegal.

    2.Good for the economy… How much are we willing to pay? It would bring much needed tax dollars to Kansas and create many jobs. Also by legalizing Medical Marijuana less people would get arrested. that means overcrowded prisons and jails are less packed costing less money to house Quote “Criminals” unquote ” who cant afford to pay extensive court fines due to our struggling economy.

    3.Less money leaving our country. How do we know who we are funding? not all Marijuana is grown in the USA. Marijuana is grown all over the globe. By buying marijuana illegally you could be funding a Foreign agency . Possibly but unlikely even terrorists / Gang Members

    4. Better for -us the people-. Do you know what the Food and Drug Administration is allowing pharmaceutical companies to put into our bodies? Marijuana in its natural unaltered state is safer for people than almost any other drug on the market. People die from faulty drugs and drug overdoses every day. You cannot overdose on marijuana.

    5. It would end the long dead WAR on drugs. What war is our government fighting? A civil war.
    a war on -us the people- who created the entity known as the United states government.

    Remember the government dose not create the people… -Us the people- create the government. What are you afraid of? The united states government keeps us in a state of fear to control us and to keep us quiet because they fear us. And to fear what the government could possibly do to -us the people- who created it is to give it the power that -we the people- had all along.

  • Jack says:

    I was diagnosed with severe RA and Fibromyalgia in 2004, since then, aniexiety disorder and depression have been added to my list, 2 back surgeries which forced me to quit doing construction, a neck surgery last year and my pain from all of this is either, narcotic medication, which runs out always way to soon.
    I can smoke some marijuana and feel relaxed, and functionable. I would think that legalizing this substance would benifit our State.

  • Bridgette says:

    I have a a few different problems where pot seems to be the only thing that relieves the pain.

    First off, I had reconstructive knee surgeries (patella realignment to be specific) when I was 13 and 14 years old. I was on pain killers for a few years and then on and off up until a few years ago. I am now 23 years old, and nothing seems to help with the pain, a few years after I fully recovered from my surgeries, I started smoking pot because the doctor prescribed pain killers weren’t helping at all anymore, but when i smoked, the pain was gone!

    I felt like i could run a mile ( beings how the doctors told me that i would be lucky to be able to walk up a flight of stairs) i was advised to do no impact sports which really sent me into a downward spiral all throughout high school. The lack of being able to do basically anything was making me severely depressed. I then began to have problems sleeping, no matter what I did, i just couldn’t sleep.

    I was on trazidone for a while but when I would take it, it would take forever to kick in no matter what time I took it and I would not be able to get up in the morning for school. I felt terrible every time I took the stuff. I find that when I smoke, I become more relaxed, not impaired, i fall asleep easier and the chronic pain in my knees is totally gone!

    The only reason that marijuana is illegal is because of the people that give it a bad name, i dont smoke to get high, i smoke to relieve pain, to get a good nights sleep, and to help with my depression. so please dont let everyone give this amazing all natural healing herb be punished. It really does help people. Thank you.

    • shane says:

      I too suffer form choinc pain of the lower back. I smoked pot for years to relieve the pain, and it did so well. Suddenly my doctor told me my ua’s were dirty and they were but they had been ever since i first seen him. He told me i was banned from his practice for two months.

      Ive been clean for years and have to live off of narcoyic pain meds none of which help as much as a combination of the two. If only people could feel my pain they would rather smoke pot istead of taking highly addictive and in time deadly drugs.

      Why arent doctors standing up for this natural pain relief it helps sleep,pain,depression and everything assosiated with back pain. I’v had two back surgorys and pot was always better pain manegment than narcotics and you dont have people threating you for pot but they will rob and kill for painkillers.

      Dont get me wrong without them i could not work but i would rather do it natuarly tyhan narcoticaly.Please help Kansas GOV i need and many need your help


  • norcal2ks says:

    gosh i cant imagen haveing such pain full diseases, an not beable to take th kind of meds i need.

    I’m 23 engaged aspireing to be a chef, getting merried my fiance works in kansas an i will be moving there, it seriously pains me to know that our politicians can be so crule an arrogant, has he ever seen someone suffering from cancer, has he ever had abest friend or loved one tht has MS or DDD.

    This man needs to read and go to a cancer ward and watch a 21 yr old suffer from leukaemia, I my self smoke medicanaly i have yet to be told what i have but i have nausea and a few pulled discs an muscle spasms, tests cost too much. I dont see how anyone who can be incontrol of anything could be so incompitant and im only 23!

  • Scott schwerdfeger says:

    I managed to get into a horrible car accident 2 years ago.

    The doctors said i was fine and that nothing was wrong. Not even 3 months later i went in for muscle problems and migraines. They gave me medicine for it. This medicine had bad side effects to the point i could not function when i need to take them. About 4 months ago i started to use marijuana medically.

    I have never touched the pills sense and i am doing better in school and can focus way better in my sports. I also suffer from ADHD so i noticed i was calmer as well. About 1 week ago however i had to stop using it for a job application in another 1 or 2. My pains and migraines are back.

    I would really appreciate it being legal. I am 19 now and will be leaving for college soon. I am a whole lot better off when i use it. My life has changed for the better. I do not intend to use it abusively OR do any harder drugs. I don’t even drink.

  • Leonard Krivitsky, MD says:

    When we advocate against Cannabis prohibition, we must stress not just the “denial of good” which it entails, such as the remarkable medicinal properties of the plant, its violence-suppressing potential, or its ability to induce calm and relaxed state which is “worlds apart” from the effects of alcohol and many “legal” prescription drugs.

    Cannabis Prohibition is an unadulterated evil, as it pushes the people to engage in a dangerous substance use, such as the stories with alcoholic caffeinated drinks just explicitly demonstrated. The cruelty and senselessness of the prohibitionists have also been made obvious recently, when an Oklahoma mom received 10-year sentence for $31worth of Cannabis, when the medicinal Cannabis providers and patients continue to be raided and harassed.

    What more evidence of political piracy can be presented than when the dogmatic “politicos” want to directly trample the Will of Montana voters with respect to Medicinal Cannabis, which Citizens lawfully enacted in their state, or when Las Vegas police and DEA continue to harass the Medicinal Cannabis establishments?

    To what level of hypocrisy and spiritual degradation can one descend when the medicinal Cannabis patients are persecuted in the city where alcohol abuse and compulsive gambling are rampant?! My only hope in the midst of all this prohibitionist outrage is that its collapse is philosophically inevitable.

    In particular, when the DEA and its allies blackmail politicians into voting against Medicinal Cannabis, they do so on the basis of an unreal “entity”, the so-called “gateway drug” theory that is fully discredited by now as “half-baked”!

    How can our so-called “representatives” be talking about massive cuts in social programs when these same people continue to waste tens of millions of dollars on the so-called “marijuana enforcement” opposed by most of the country? The Cannabis prohibitionists are guilty of crimes against humanity, they will get their own “Tahrir Square” sooner or later, and I would give a lot to be a witness to THAT!

    • riley says:

      I just wanted to say that I don’t think anyone could have put it more perfectly. Absolutely brilliant!!!

  • Shane Bradshaw says:

    I have D.D.D (degenerative disc disease), and have been living on prescribed oxyxodone7.5 for the last 3 years and wish I could legally take Marijuana instead, after reading about the side effects to my prescribed medication vs. marijuana, the long term damage to my body is greater, yet I can’t have marijuana because of random drug testing at my job.

    So I can poison myself with my doctors prescriptions all I want and it’s ok with my employer, yet I can’t take pot wich is actually more beneficial and much less damaging long term, or i’ll get fired.

    Does anyone see A problem with this system? I don’t now or have ever smoked pot, I just want to have A choice on what’s best for my pain relief, not some politician!!!!

    • Kirk Hamilton says:

      I totally agree with you. I degenerative disc desease also.

      I have to date had 6 back surgeries in the lumbar region which led to sciatic nerve damage and numbness in my right leg. My most recent surgery at L4-L5. After my last surgery 12-13 years ago. It seems as you say, the opiate pain meds and extreme muscle relaxers are okay.

      BUT what of my liver, kidneys and the other very possible damage these meds can take a tole on? So yes I agree and had sent a letter to one of the Senators that I know. We can hang in there till we are on kidney dialysis and other more expensive treatments to followq I guess. A fact is a fact. I don’t see that these amazing drugs actually BLOCK the pain, but just are kind enough to let you take your mind off the pain.

      I guess enough said. We in these dilibating conditions can either fight for the right, or relocate to a state that not only cares, but is healing their states economies by helping their citizens. Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Belenda H. says:

      I also suffer from DDD (neck and back), slipped discs in both, fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, insomnia, and nerve damage in both feet, excessive weight and water gain from prescriptions.

      I can’t understand the politics of making Medical Marijuana legal! Seriously, it is one of the largest cash crops ANYWHERE, U.S. and Overseas. When the government can control 90% of the drug trafficing, drug dealing. Taxing marijuana will pay off debt to other countries, could help fund medical diagnosis and medical causes, cancer treatments, nerve and pain treatment, etc..

      Instead of raising prices and hurting our economie, we can help it. Instead of spending money the U.S.A does not have on politics. This would help all states not just Kansas.

    • Steven Slaton says:

      Im in the same boat. I went on a “med vacation”, thats where you do not take any meds for about a month, the misery is indescribable. I quit smokin weed cold turkey when I signed on the USN and there are withdrawls from THC as to Opiates.

  • John James says:

    “I’ve had five seizors that almost killed me in the past three years! I’ve used alternative medications but most anti-seizor medications can trigger seizors! I use medical marijuana to prevent A medical problem that could harm myself and or people around me! Since I became A medical marijuana patient I have been seizor free!”

  • Collin says:

    I am a 13 year old boy with a disease of my intestines that causes me great pain on a daily basis, and so i know pain, and something that could ease mine and other peoples would be medical marijuana. ive had so much pain ive almost commited suicide 16 different times.

    This disease i have is incurable and would be nice to have something to treat it, no medicine works to ease the pain, and once i get older ill most likely just move to Colorado to ease my pain.

  • Susan Hughes says:

    I have continued watching with intrest the politics of Kansas. As a tax paying resident of Kansas, and a supporter of Compassionate Care Legislation, I believe we must demand our rights from our elected officials.

    It should be my right to try any treatment with the supervision and approval of my doctor. Why is the state of Kansas denying me this? I am experiencing the advanced stages of Multiple Sclerosis. I am fed up with too many Kansas laws being passed that protect us from ourselves. I expect personal responsibility, compassion and common sense from others. Is this to much to ask? Is this too much to expect from our elected officials?

  • J.B.S. says:

    Having severe back problems , I do not understand the reason for not allowing medical mariguana as long as it is controlled by a doctor.

    I am unable to walk a short distance without severe pain in my lower back. I would like to be able to perform everyday activities that most normal healthy people are able to do. PLEASE REVIEW THIS MATTER AS I AM SURE IT WILL BE VERY HELPFUL TO THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE SUFFERING WITH CHRONIC PAIN!

  • J.B.S. says:

    I am very unfortunate to have multible back problems that are very painful and prevent me from doing everyday chores.

    Now I have found out that I also have curviture of the spine. I am not a surgical candidate and feel that I cannot keep going on like this. I cannot walk a short distance without suffering from severe pain in my lower back.

    If this will ease even part of the pain, I would be content till further options are made available. PLEASE HELP!!

  • David Samuel says:

    My medical maladies are Borderline Glaucoma, Cervical Spine Stenosis, Spondyolites ,Degenerative Arthritis [neck, back, shoulders] Rheumatoid Arthritis [hands, wrists, ankles, feet] anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

    I used marijuana for 20 years after I left Vietnam not to get high but to tolerate people, surroundings extreme heat, cold and pain. When I stopped 18 years ago my health worsened exponentially and continues to worsen. Now days I take a long list of medications several times a day which are not fully effective and are making me sick.

    I would like to go back to using marijuana its proven itself to work. I am a fifth generation Kansan and unless some medical marijuana law is passed here I’m moving back out west where the bible thumpers are in the minority and reason prevails.

  • Diana Kline says:

    It’s bad enough politicians have a vote on medical marijuana, since when does the American citizen have a vote on any kind of MEDICINE?

    What do I know about medicine, I’m not a doctor. I thought we left medicine to the experts. I don’t remember voting in Viagra. As far as using marijuana to party and eat a bag of chips, I’m sure people in bad pain and dying of cancer are thinking about partying.

    When you are in bad pain it would be great to be able to eat a bag of chips, I know, I weigh 98 pounds. What an insult and total lack of compassion. If I really wanted to get high, I can get the most powerful drugs there are from the doctor, but I do not want to be flat on my back ripped out of my mind, I would rather lead a normal life on medical marijuana.

    Anyway, I just don’t understand why American citizens are voting on medicine, we never have before.

  • t. j. says:

    Schwab does not know what he is talking about.

    I might not be dying or in pain all the time but I would much rather smoke weed than take all the meds that my doctor had me on which made me so drugged up.

    I have p.t.s.d., social anexity, and suffer from migrains. Xanax, paxil, tramadol, and amatripilene is what the doctor want me on and those pills together turned me into a veggie. So just two or three joints a day keeps me off that crap.

    This isn’t the united states any more its the divided states how can a us citizen be put in prison for marijuana in one state and not in another?

    Our government needs to wake up and stop being ignorant if kansas don’t change the laws here I will soon be moving my family somewhere where I won’t be going to prison for medicating myself in a way that is actually better for my liver and kidneys than what is prescribed by doctors.

  • Joshua P. Mason says:

    My email response to Scott Schwabs’ opinion. “It (medical marijuana) has no benefit for pain management.”

    I would like to write to you because I feel that people such as yourself have not used or know anyone who does! So I offer this to you sir. Go to a VA hospital or even any hospital and go to the oncology dept., a pain managment clinic, any real place with real problems and ask 100 of them about medical marijuana and how they feel about it. Let the people make the choice that will affect them and not people who no nothing about it.

    I ask you to do the job you are placed in by the people, for the people. NOT to better your life, and make choices that high powered people want you to make. Think of the people!

    I wish you the best in peace

  • Richard Allman says:

    My email response to Scott Schwabs’ opinion. “It (medical marijuana) has no benefit for pain management.”

    How can you possibly say this in light of the facts. My wife died of lung cancer in 2002. Eatable marajuana eased her physical/phycholigical suffering and distress tremendously more than the disorientating synthetic opium the oncologist perscribed.

    Peggy only had to use morphine for two days before she passed. Now I defy you to say with a straight face that the cannibus did no good.
    I won’t overwhelm you with conflicting links that you probably wouldn’t read anyway so I would at least suggest that you do a detailed search on Google and youtube about cannabis/medical marijuana/pot and pain relief and see NPR’s broadcast

    This is the homepage for the series. All I can figure is that you are one of those people who uses conservative/religious ignorance to get votes. Do you not have compassion sir. You are probably a creationist (or worst) aren’t you? If you’re really this ignorant I doubt that the people in Opie Land will keep you around too long. I’ll tell my friends out there about your position on this subject. Peace on you!

    People, please write this misguided official and set him straight.

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