Kansas has a “Reefer Madness” attitude toward the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, claims an Inman man who is actively pursing decriminalization of cannabinoids.
“We need to have, at the very minimum, an honest and civil and open discussion about what is really going on,” said Nick Reinecker, who operates Inman Harvest Cafe.
“Reefer Madness” is a 1938 film that overdramatizes the lives of people involved with the marijuana menace.
Over the past three years, Reinecker has advocated for elimination of criminal penalties for possession and use of cannabis as well as full legalization, regulation and taxation of the substance. He thinks marijuana should be subject to taxation, the same as alcohol and tobacco.
He expects to testify in Topeka again this year.
Sen. David Haley, D-Kansas City, and Rep. Gail Finney, D-Wichita, submitted bills in 2016 supporting the use of cannabis for treatment of medical disorders, but they died in committee.
This year, Haley planned to introduce two bills: one would allow for medicinal use of marijuana and the other would legalize recreational use.
The medical use bill would be similar to Colorado’s, making cannabis available through script, or through written recommendation; doctors cannot prescribe cannabis because it is illegal on the federal level. Legalization would allow for recreational use.
“We are in a very conservative state that requires a greater learning curve,” he said. “Not to demean the intellect of the average Kansas legislator, but we are more, as a body, more conservative and averse to change or to accept the new ideas accepted by legislatures of other states.”
Haley pointed to Colorado when asked the effect legalization of marijuana could have on the state budget.
According to the Washington Post, in the most recent fiscal years, recreational marijuana brought in $129 million in taxes in Colorado and $220 million in Washington.
“One focus for me is the loss in revenue and work hours for people who are needlessly being persecuted and prosecuted for simple possession of a medicinal, natural plant,” Haley said.
Haley said the Kansas Legislature became more moderate following the November election.
“There is a sense that both the Senate and the House will be more moderate and more receptive to potential revenue enhancement. I think we have enhanced the opportunity to do more this year,” he said.
Haley said he favors legalization over decriminalization.
“I am not a huge fan of decriminalization, especially if we are trying to tax and regulate,” he said. “Part of my fight is to keep marijuana out of the hands of young people, children. Decriminalization does not address that. Legalization and regulation will, as we have seen in Colorado and other states. It helps reduce the use of marijuana by young people.”
According to the Kansas Secretary of State’s office, Kansas does not have statewide statutory initiative. State laws and constitutional amendments are not proposed or adopted by petition as they are in some states; therefore, there would not be a public vote on legalization of medical or recreational marijuana use.
Medicinal use state
In November, eight states voted for legalization of marijuana. Massachusetts, Nevada, California, and Maine have approved recreational marijuana use by people ages 21 and older while North Dakota, Florida, Arkansas and Montana have approved marijuana use for medicinal purposes. Only one state, Arizona, rejected a marijuana measure.
According to the website medicalmarijuana.procon.org, 28 states and Washington, D.C., allow for the use of medical marijuana. Eight states have legalized recreational use of marijuana, according to various sources.
Reinecker said studies have confirmed that in states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana, the use of prescription opioids has been reduced.
He said pharmaceutical companies lobby against legalization of medical marijuana for that reason.
“The lobbyists of the pharmaceutical companies are advocating against the legalization of cannabis because their profit levels are going down,” he said. “Never mind the fact people aren’t getting addicted to the synthetic opioids; never mind people aren’t being fleeced out of their hard-earned money and never mind they are not creating public safety issues by driving like zombies on the highway due to the synthetic opioids they are being prescribed like candy.”
There is no known case of overdose with marijuana, according to sources.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 18,000 people, 332 from Kansas, died in 2014 from overdoses of prescription opiates.
As a restaurant operator, Reinecker said he is legally allowed to use numerous laboratory-made food additives such as monosodium glutamate, a rainbow of color dyes and spices such as parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
“Pie is still legal. It has plenty of sugar, fat, there is nothing real nutritional about it, but it’s not regulated. It’s not an illegal substance but people can eat too much of it and get that sugar high or get fat, but they are not called criminals,” Reinecker said.
“But this plant called cannabis, if I want to put it into the ground and raise it for food, fiber, fuel or non/FDA-evaluated therapeutic uses, I’m labeled as a criminal, mentally unfit and other things, while in the same breath I can use other potentially harmful chemicals such as monosodium glutamate and sodium hexametaphosphate, on and on and without any due regard.
“As an EMT, firefighter and police officer I realize the hypocrisy within the controlled substances act where alcohol and tobacco are exempt from it but cannabis is ranked as a Schedule I substance right up there with heroin and LSD.”
Marijuana used for pain
About 100,500 patients in Colorado were being treated with medical marijuana in November. That month, 148 different physicians had recommended medical marijuana for active patients.
According to the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, 342,976 patients have applied for treatment since the program began.
Eight conditions are treated by physicians using medical marijuana. The majority of patients — 93.2 percent in November — were being treated for severe pain.
In 2015, the Colorado Board of Health allocated $9 million to fund nine studies of the use of marijuana for treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, tremors in Parkinson’s disease, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, epilepsy, brain tumors and sleep disorders.
Emily Lindley, department of orthopedics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, is starting a study to compare the analgesic efficacy of cannabis versus oxycodone, a highly addictive opioid pain medication.
“I am not aware of any research directly comparing oxycodone to cannabis,” she said.
While Lindley’s study is just getting underway she pointed to a British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology study which concluded a “review of 18 recent good quality randomized trials demonstrates that cannabinoids are a modestly effective and safe treatment option for chronic non-cancer (predominantly neuropathic) pain.”
via: the Salina Journal (Tim Horan)
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