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Kansas Senate Committee Struggles with Medical Hemp Oil Bill

Senator Greg Smith (left) and Senator Pat Pettey during the committee meeting. (Photo by Stephen Koranda)

A Kansas Senate committee has approved a bill that would lessen penalties for marijuana possession, sending it to the full Senate for consideration. The committee removed a section from the bill that would have allowed the medical use of hemp oil. KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports.


(SCRIPT)
Some lawmakers raised concerns because hemp oil hasn’t been evaluated by the FDA. Republican Senator Molly Baumgardenr says even if it’s legal, a hospital told her they won’t use it.

“Their physicians will not prescribe because it has not gone through the rigorous scientific clinical trials,” says Baumgardner.

Tiffanie Krentz has been asking lawmakers to approve hemp oil to treat children with seizure disorders, like her son. She says they’ve tried a medication in the past that wasn’t FDA approved, and they want the option of hemp oil.

“We’re stuck in a place where there’s nothing left for our son, so it’s hard to listen to them say the reasons why even though I know they’re well intended and not trying to harm our son,” says Krentz.

The hemp oil provision isn’t dead. The committee put it in another bill that’s likely to be considered by the health committee.

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(VERSION TWO)

A Kansas Senate committee has endorsed a bill that would lessen penalties for marijuana possession, but they removed a section that would have allowed the medical use of hemp oil. Republican Senator Greg Smith, chairman of the Senate Corrections Committee, said that’s a health care issue.


“That’s not the purview of this committee, that’s not the charge of this committee. We deal with criminal justice, corrections and juvenile justice issues,” said Smith.

Some senators raised concerns that the oil hasn’t been evaluated by the FDA. Democratic state Representative John Wilson, a proponent of the idea, says because the product is derived from marijuana it can’t be approved by the FDA. He says that shouldn’t stop Kansas from moving forward.


“We have to decide whether or not we let the federal government dictate what families can do in Kansas or we decide we have a Kansas solution that we want to move forward with. It’s not like this is groundbreaking, it’s already been done in over a dozen states,” says Wilson.

The medicinal hemp oil provision isn’t dead. The committee put it in another bill, which will likely be sent to the health committee.

Parents of children with seizure disorders say the oil could give them another treatment option that won’t have the side effects of other medications.

 

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