Southeast Kansas Education Service Center photo

For more than 20 years, Kansas secondary students have taken a survey to track alcohol and drug abuse. But a new law requiring parents to give written permission to allow their children to take the survey is affecting the survey data, and those who use it say it could be more challenging to obtain funds for prevention efforts.

For the first time, a Kansas House committee has approved a bill allowing some form of medical marijuana.

House Bill 2282 was limited in scope to begin with, and Rep. John Wilson, the bill’s sponsor, proposed amendments to further limit it Monday in the hopes of assuaging concerns about opening the state to legal pot abuse.

The effort worked, and Wilson’s bill passed the House Health and Human Services Committee verbally with only a few “nay” votes. Wilson said the somewhat anti-climactic vote was appropriate.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

Rep. Kevin Jones interrupted Tuesday’s hearing on House Bill 2282 to question a woman sitting in the front row of the gallery holding her young son.

“I hope it’s not too personal,” Jones said. “But did he just have a seizure?”

Kiley Klug, a resident of the small central Kansas town of Odin, nodded.

Jones, a Republican from Wellsville, told her he watched the entire seizure and found it hard to imagine experiencing it firsthand.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor


A prison space crunch amid a state budget crisis is lending urgency to legislative proposals aimed at steering drug offenders toward community treatment rather than prison time.

The House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, chaired by Rep. John Rubin, is looking at a couple of bills that he said are meant to try a new approach after decades of stiff penalties spurred by the unsuccessful “War on Drugs.”

Danny Danko / Flickr -- Creative Commons


About 50 supporters of medical marijuana rallied Thursday at the Statehouse amid news that a Senate committee has scheduled informational hearings on the issue.

Sen. David Haley, a Kansas City Democrat, and Rep. Gail Finney, a Wichita Democrat, have introduced bills that would allow marijuana use to treat a range of illnesses and symptoms. 

The last hearing on a medical marijuana bill in Kansas was in 2012. The briefings scheduled next week in the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee are not formal bill hearings, but Finney remains encouraged.

Aleks / Wikimedia Commons

Missouri marijuana activist group Show-Me Cannabis is planning to push lawmakers to reform marijuana laws in the 2015 legislative session.

The group is specifically interested in creating a medical marijuana program and lifting the ban on hemp production for farmers.

Show-Me Cannabis Executive Director John Payne believes that the Republican supermajority in both chambers will be more likely to support hemp production, but a medical program shouldn't be counted out yet.

File: Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

  Humans have been growing hemp for centuries. Hemp-based foods have taken off recently. So have lotions and soaps that use hemp oil. There’s evidence that different compounds in cannabis could be used as medicine and hope that its chemical compounds could hold keys to treatments for Parkinson’s disease and childhood epilepsy.

Danny Danko / Flickr -- Creative Commons


Kansas Sen. David Haley said he’s made some tweaks to a bill legalizing medical marijuana for this year’s legislative session, but it’s largely the same as the bill that failed to get a hearing the last two years.

Haley, a Democrat from Kansas City, said he’s relying on an increase in public pressure to convince the Legislature’s Republican leadership to give the issue its first committee debate since 2012.

Dank Depot / Flickr-CC

Last month, Missouri marijuana legalization group Show-Me Cannabis filed a ballot initiative for 2016 that seeks to regulate marijuana consumption the same as alcohol. Now, another petition is trying to give Missourians a broader option.

The Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act of 2016 seeks to fully legalize marijuana use and cultivation for all residents of Missouri, with no age limit.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

  When Colorado legalized recreational marijuana use earlier this year, it also opened up the sale of food products infused with the drug to anyone over the age of 21. That means a whole set of bakers and food companies have to ensure their products aren’t contaminated with foodborne pathogens, and that they’re not falling in to the hands of children or too potent to eat.

Chuck Grimmett / Flickr-CC

Marijuana has been part of college culture for a long time, but is the drug’s legalization in Colorado changing the way college kids use it? Some see it as a way to relax occasionally, but others make it a daily habit that can have destructive consequences.

On Monday's Up to Date, psychologist Wes Crenshaw joins us to talk about the shift in pot culture among college students, especially when it comes to our western neighbors.


Dr. Wes Crenshaw, psychologist

Trevor Graff / KHI News Service

Ryan and Kathy Reed celebrated their son Otis’ third birthday last week, hoping that better days are ahead for him in the family’s new Colorado home.

Otis suffers from uncontrollable epileptic seizures. His body stiffens with them hundreds of times each day.

The Reeds left Kansas for Colorado in early May to gain access to medical marijuana for Otis. He received his first dose of non-psychotropic marijuana extract – known as Charlotte’s Web – on May 8. In the weeks since, steady increases in the dosage have helped Otis to sleep better but haven’t reduced his seizures.

Edward the Bonobo / Flickr/CC

In 1942 the U.S. Department of Agriculture produced a film promoting the many uses of hemp and touted its production as part of a patriotic mission to win the war effort. But, shortly after World War II domestic production of any form of cannabis, hemp or otherwise, became prohibited. But, the legacy of this once cash crop lingers and you don't need to look far off the roads of Kansas and Missouri to find wild varieties of "ditch weed" growing.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Colorado made history when it opened up licensed marijuana retail shops this year. Aside from just legalizing the purchase of smoke-able marijuana, it also means pot brownies have the potential to be big business. Food products infused with marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, THC, are available in stores across the state.

cannabisdestiny / Flickr-CC

John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” is Colorado’s state song, and the marijuana legalization law that went into effect this year might be what the late musician had in mind.

On Thursday's Up to Date, the Ethics Professors return to discuss the problems that surround marijuana, which is still illegal under federal law, but increasingly accepted in many states. Also on their slate is a look at anti-government protests in Ukraine and Thailand.



Jun 30, 2013

From the crackdowns on the drug in the 1950s and ’60s to its legalization for recreational use in two states last year, marijuana has a complicated past in America.

Some have called marijuana legalization the next big civil rights issue. Colorado and Washington have officially said it’s okay, and 19 other states allow it to be used for medical reasons.

But some big debates about the drug certainly persist. What exactly are the health consequences of using marijuana? What kind of impact is it having on our society? Should we be banning it or legalizing it in more states?

A St. Louis-area State House member is proposing legislation that would lessen penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana in Missouri, and would allow for some misdemeanor criminal records to be expunged.

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Senate has passed a bill that would outlaw K-2, a group of synthetic compounds that attempt to mimic the effects of marijuana. But the chamber also lessened the proposed penalties for possessing the compounds.

The version passed by the House would make possession of any amount of K-2 a felony. The Senate amended the bill to make possession of less than 35 grams a misdemeanor, the same as with marijuana.