Kansas City, Kan., senator David Haley introduces medical marijuana bill

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.

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