TOPEKA, Kan. - A Kansas state senator has proposed a medical marijuana bill, but legislative leaders say the measure likely won't get a hearing this year.
Sen. David Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kan., has introduced a bill that would allow Kansas to join 18 states and the District of Columbia in granting permission for qualified patients to consume marijuana with a physician's order, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported . The measure would also allow patients to have up to six ounces of marijuana and grow up to a dozen plants at home.
"Many people want an alternative to chemical prescription drugs. This is a natural, long utilized for centuries remedy, that has provided a cure for many people," Haley said.
But Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, the Republican chair of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, said she intends to block the measure from getting a hearing during the 2013 session.
"I don't think the Legislature would be for it," she said. "We have a very limited session. You have to look at the opportunity costs."
Currently in Kansas, anyone who illegally obtains marijuana to treat a health condition could be placed in jail for one year and fined $2,500 for a first-offense possession conviction. Subsequent convictions can mean up to three years in prison and a $100,000 fine. Personal cultivation of a marijuana plant is a felony in Kansas and carries a maximum penalty of up to 17 years in prison.
Haley said he would remain dedicated to the cause.
"I don't understand the opposition. Kansas is a conservative state, but this is not a conservative or liberal issue," Haley said. "This is a public safety issue. Many of the opioids and other narcotics these patients take now carry serious side effects."
House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said while he thinks "there are some very valid arguments to be made that we should take a look at the medical marijuana issue," he doesn't think "legalization of marijuana is not something the public is clamoring for."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
The campaigns of U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts and the Kansas Republican's primary challenger are sparring publicly over ethics issues, increasing the acrimony in their already contentious race.