marijuana

SWARE. / Flickr-CC

Organizers are moving forward to decriminalize marijuana in Kansas City, Missouri.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws' Kansas City branch is collecting signatures to get an initiative added to the November ballot.

The folk-rock duo Brewer & Shipley, an act with deep ties to Kansas City, is still together more than 40 years after achieving a few international hits. They perform with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils at Crossroads KC on Saturday, July 2.

Three reasons we’re listening to Brewer & Shipley this week:

1. Brewer & Shipley’s relaxed, folk-rock sound is back in style. You can hear echoes of it in the music of young musicians such as Dawes and the Avett Brothers.

Attitudes toward marijuana are shifting, nationally. But which way does the wind blow in the Midwest? Are attitudes changing here, too? And what's happening on the legal front?

Guests:

  • Jamie Kacz, executive director, NORML KC
  • Jennifer Lowry, pediatrician, Children's Mercy Hospital
  • "Jessica", sufferer of an auto-immune disorder and advocate for legalization of medical marijuana
Dank Depot / Flickr - CC

Ganja. Weed. Pot. Dank herb.

Whatever you call it, marijuana is becoming a more prominent presence in American culture. Nearly half the country has legalized some form of medicinal marijuana, and four states (plus Washington D.C.) have gone whole-hog and legalized the substance for recreational use. 

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A bill to legalize hemp oil at the state level has drawn the ire of Kansas medical marijuana advocates who say it’s too watered down to do any good.

Members of Bleeding Kansas, one of the state’s largest medical marijuana advocacy groups, rallied Wednesday at the Capitol to urge legislators to ditch Senate Bill 489.

Christine Gordon and others said the bill would only add fees and regulatory hurdles to cannabidiol, or CBD oil — a substance that already can be accessed legally at the federal level.

File photo

Opponents of efforts to legalize marijuana in Missouri said states that have done so have seen spikes in crime, heightened risks of drug addiction and harmful effects on children.

“Legalization of marijuana for recreational or even so-called ‘medicinal’ uses makes communities less safe, and Missouri should not head down that dangerous path,” Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

The chairs and sleeping bags on the north steps of the Kansas Statehouse were empty Wednesday morning.

Raymond Schwab, who has been camping there for weeks to protest the state’s removal of his children from his custody, had temporarily moved to the opposite side of the Capitol for a rally with other marijuana legalization advocates.

James Dobson / Garden City Telegram

The Garden City, Kansas, mother who lost custody of her 11-year-old son over her use of cannabis oil says she wants to hold state officials accountable “so this doesn’t happen to people any longer.”

Shona Banda, who sued state agencies and officials late last week, is representing herself in the action, which asks the court to restore custody of her son, declare that she has a “fundamental right” to use cannabis oil to treat her Crohn’s disease and award unspecified damages.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

JJ Krentz turned away from his iPad and looked up as a blond woman walked into his classroom at Parsons State Hospital and Training Center.

With help from his teacher, he stood from his chair and greeted his mother, Tiffanie Krentz.

He knew she was coming and so he parroted the two-word phrase he’d been hearing all day from others when he asked them about “mama.”

“Gotta wait,” JJ said, grinning.

Tiffanie took each of his hands in hers and leaned down so their faces were almost touching.

“Well you don’t gotta wait now,” she said. “I’m here.”

James Dobson / Garden City Telegram

A Garden City mother facing criminal drug charges said this week that she still intends to file a lawsuit in federal court asserting a constitutional right to use marijuana to treat her Crohn’s disease.

Attorneys for Shona Banda prepared the suit months ago and posted a draft version online.

Lawrence attorney Sarah Swain teamed up with Long Beach, California, lawyer Matthew Pappas on the suit and Banda said the delay in getting it filed is largely due to logistics.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

The state’s $3 billion privatized Medicaid system has been without an inspector general for more than a year. The Kansas Senate unanimously approved a bill Wednesday that would eliminate the position.

For this 50th episode, we recorded Statehouse Blend live in front of a studio audience at Westport Flea Market. We explore the most pressing issues of 2016 with KCUR's Sam Zeff and Steve Kraske, and with guests Republican Rep. John Rubin and Democratic Rep. John Wilson.

Guests:

  • John Rubin, Representative from District 014, Kansas Legislature
  • John Wilson, Representative from, Kansas Legislature 
  • Steve Kraske, Host of Up To Date, KCUR
File photo

After hearings and debate on whether medical treatments should be approved through legislation, the Senate Corrections and Juvenile Justice committee Tuesday passed two bills concerning marijuana.

One — House Bill 2049 — would lower penalties for possession of marijuana.

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Eds note: This post originally stated that an initiative seeking to decriminalize marijuana in Kansas City would require more than 3,400 signatures from registered voters in order to be considered by the Kansas City Council for voters. That is true for referendum efforts, not initiative petitions.

Initiative petitions only require signatures equal to 5 percent of votes cast for mayor in the last municipal election. By that reasoning, only 1,708 valid signatures will be required. The text below has been changed to reflect the correct numbers.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Kiley Klug and Tiffanie Krentz had just finished giving emotional testimony about their children’s persistent seizures during Wednesday’s hearing on legalizing cannabis oil when Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer spoke up.

Ostmeyer, a veteran Republican legislator from a sprawling rural district in western Kansas, told the women he understood, because he has a 36-year-old daughter who was only expected to live to age 10.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

Signs of the toll amyotrophic lateral sclerosis has taken on Kelli Johnsen’s body are scattered throughout the living room of her Emporia, Kansas, home.

A wheelchair in one corner. A lift in another. A walker near the television.

Next to her chair there’s an Eyegaze system — a screen that tracks her eye movement and blinks — that she uses to control the TV, lights and other devices. She can still move her hands, but not much.

Backers of medical marijuana want Missourians to decide if doctors can be allowed to prescribe the drug to critically ill patients.

Two ballot initiatives that would do just that were filed on Thursday.

Dave Ranney / Heartland Health Monitor

If Kansas legalized marijuana for broad medical use, marijuana-related car collisions and accidental ingestion hospitalizations likely would increase but crime and illegal consumption would not.

Those are the findings of a nearly yearlong study of other states that legalized marijuana for medicinal use done by the Kansas Health Institute, a health-policy information and research group based in Topeka, Kansas.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Nilvio Aquino weaves through a tangled jungle of marijuana plants at an indoor grow facility in Denver.

“Throw your nose in there. It’s nice and pungent,” he said, pulling a seven-foot tall plant down to nose height at one of the company’s grow facilities.

Aquino, the lead grower for Sticky Buds, a chain of marijuana shops in Denver, is in his element among the plants. He’s like a proud gardener showing off blue ribbon varieties, bustling from plant to plant, picking out his favorites.

James Dobson / Garden City Telegram

Lawyers for Garden City resident Shona Banda have prepared a lawsuit against Gov. Sam Brownback and the state agency that has custody of her child, claiming she has a constitutional right to use cannabis to treat her Crohn’s disease.

In light of the recent hack of marital affairs website Ashley Madison, the ethics professors discuss whether it's right for hackers to appoint themselves judge and jury. Also, as laws regarding marijuana change, is it ethical to keep nonviolent drug offenders behind bars?

Guests:

James Dobson / Garden City Telegram

A Garden City, Kansas, woman whose home was raided March 24 after her son took issue with an anti-marijuana presentation at school turned herself in Monday at the Finney County Law Enforcement Center.

Shona Banda, 38, was booked into jail and later released after posting $50,000 bond. Her attorney, Sarah Swain, of Lawrence, said Banda was charged with five counts—four of them marijuana-related—plus endangering a child. If convicted on all of them, she faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.

File photo

For years, Garden City, Kansas, resident Shona Banda has been self-medicating her Crohn’s disease with cannabis oil and making no secret of it, touting her homemade vaporizer on YouTube and in a self-published book.

Now Banda could face up to 17 years in prison for doing so, in a case that has medical marijuana advocates enraged and legislators from both parties saying it is past time to re-examine the state’s drug laws.

KHI News Service file photo

A state senator and an aide to Senate President Susan Wagle listened intently Tuesday as Jennifer Winn made an impassioned case for legalization of cannabis oil for seizure disorders.

Winn, a Wichita business owner, gained notoriety last year when she faced off against incumbent Sam Brownback in a long-shot bid to become the Republican nominee for governor.

Andy Marso / Heartland Health Monitor

A medical marijuana advocacy group is collecting stories from Kansans who say they have been “persecuted” by the state’s child welfare agency for using cannabis.

Lisa Sublett, the founder of Bleeding Kansas, said the effort began after Shona Banda, a Garden City woman who uses cannabis oil to treat her Crohn’s disease, lost custody of her son after the boy spoke up at a school anti-drug presentation.

The Kansas House gave first-round approval by a 67-49 vote Thursday to a measure legalizing the use of low-THC marijuana oil for people with persistent seizure disorders.

Rep. John Wilson, a Lawrence Democrat, championed the oil legalization on behalf of Ryan and Kathy Reed, who moved to Colorado to access it for their young son, Otis.

Wilson successfully brought together House colleagues from across the political spectrum on the measure Thursday by emphasizing how much narrower it was than prior medical marijuana bills that never cleared the committee process.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Medical marijuana activists from Kansas and Missouri met at the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain Saturday to rally for expanded medical marijuana legalization.

Activist groups Bleeding Kansas and Sensible Missouri organized the rally. Sensible Missouri founder Nick Raines says that lawmakers should allow citizens who are suffering from chronic illnesses the choice of medical marijuana.

Danny Danko / Flickr--CC

The case of a medical marijuana activist in Garden City who lost custody of her son after the boy spoke up at a school anti-drug event has stirred legalization advocates.

Shona Banda had a custody hearing Monday after police went to her home and seized suspected marijuana that she said she used to treat her Crohn’s disease. She was stripped of custody, at least temporarily, and may yet face charges.

Banda previously lived in Colorado, where marijuana is legal not only for medical use but for recreational use as well.

Garden City is only about an hour’s drive from the Colorado border but a world away in terms of state marijuana laws. In Kansas, possession of any amount of marijuana is a felony on the second offense.

Legislative efforts to change that have gained little traction in recent years, with broad-based medical marijuana legalization bills generally not even getting a hearing.

For the past month, Kansas Rep. John Wilson has told everyone who will listen that his medical marijuana bill is different.

Wilson, a Democrat from Lawrence, proposed a bill to allow low-THC cannabis oil to be used specifically to treat seizure disorders. He was inspired to do so by parents in his district who moved to Colorado to access the treatment for their young son.

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.

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