Veterans testify in Kansas on medical marijuana bill

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TOPEKA, Kan. | Navy veteran Raymond Schwab started treating symptoms from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder with a slew of prescription medications that he said nearly ruined his life. But he found relief in cannabis therapy that helped him to get a degree and be a more effective parent, Schwab told a panel of Kansas senators on a second day of hearings.

Raymond Schwab, an honorably discharged veteran, moved to Colorado last year to get treated for post-traumatic stress and chronic pain with medical marijuana. (Denver Post via AP)
Raymond Schwab, an honorably discharged veteran, moved to Colorado last year to get treated for post-traumatic stress and chronic pain with medical marijuana. (Denver Post via AP)

The Kansas Senate’s Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee heard Schwab — who was deployed during the Bosnian War in the 1990s — and other opponents testify about a bill that would soften criminal penalties for marijuana possession, allow for hemp oil to treat seizures and promote industrial hemp research. State senators heard from proponents of the measure on Wednesday.

The testimony came on the eve of an anticipated Kansas Supreme Court ruling on the legality of a voter-approved Wichita ordinance relaxing penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The court is expected to decide Friday whether to strike down the ordinance because it conflicts with state law. The case has been closely watched by activists in other Kansas communities.

In tearful testimony on Thursday, Schwab said that he moved to Colorado to gain access to medical marijuana that remains illegal in Kansas. He added that the section of the bill allowing for medical hemp preparations to treat seizures was “not enough,” so he testified against it.

Several other opponents echoed Schwab’s concerns that the bill did not encompass their ailments, which ranged from chronic pain to depression. The dissenters said that a broader version of the measure could reverse rampant abuse of prescription drugs.

Law enforcement representatives differed with the veterans, saying that the bill would be a gateway to medical marijuana usage. Ed Klumpp, a lobbyist for the Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police, said that the loose restrictions on the measure posed as a public safety threat.

“These bills tend to be a precursor to the broader legalization of marijuana,” Klumpp said.

He added that the bill would increase costs for crime labs and create a need for more personnel to differentiate the usage of medical marijuana from recreational.

Committee Chairman Greg Smith, an Overland Park Republican, said that the senators would continue discussing the bill next week.

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PhDScientist
PhDScientist
6 years ago

We need action at both the state and federal level to ensure that every American that can benefit from Medical Marijuana has safe, legal, access to it.
The current situation is NUTS.
This is a MORAL issue.
It is IMMORAL to deny the right to have safe, legal, access to Medical Marijuana to Americans who need it.
It is as IMMORAL to do so as it would be to deny Insulin, antibiotics or anti-retrovirals to Americans who need them.

Nick Campbell
Nick Campbell
6 years ago
Reply to  PhDScientist

Why aren’t these “immoral issues” being addressed at the federal level? I know, there isn’t anything that marijuana doesn’t treat or cure. If it works so well, then the non-hallucinogenic pill form or non-hallucinogenic Charlottes’ Web oil should produce the same results as medical marijuana with a THC level of 15-20%. I don’t understand what all the hubbub is about.

GOP-Party of Bigots
GOP-Party of Bigots
6 years ago
Reply to  Nick Campbell

For the relief that is provided by the flowering version of marijuana, the level you need to pay attention to is the CBD percentage. Charlottes’ Web is a THC product, I believe. I don’t know the pill’s chemical makeup.

Rob Shaffer
Rob Shaffer
6 years ago

Kansas politicians and law enforcement do not care about disabled veterans and sick children. Their cold, dead hearts are too consumed with worry that an adult might puff on a joint and enjoy it. Law enforcement knows marijuana is harmless. They are addicted to ‘stop and sniff’ where the great hope is to catch a whiff of marijuana, seize money, cars and property to fill up the department bank account. If they lose the ability to take things they are then forced to operate within their budget instead of creating more money.
Its a shame that political interests and dubious police tactics are more important than the will and health of the people. If you are able pack up your family and emancipate yourselves to Colorado as fast as you can.