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State representatives propose to legalize medical marijuana - KOAM TV 7

State representatives propose to legalize medical marijuana in Kansas and Oklahoma

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The fight to legalize marijuana moves into the Four States as state representatives in both Oklahoma and Kansas propose legislation to legalize its use for medical purposes.

The bill in Kansas would allow patients to have up to six ounces of marijuana and grow up to a dozen plants at home.

Currently, possessing this amount of marijuana could land you in jail for a year.  Growing your own marijuana bumps the sentence up to 17 years.

But Kansas state senator David Haley hopes to change that.  He wants Kansas to join 18 states and the District of Columbia in allowing people to use the drug with a doctor's orders.

"I just don't want Kansas to be the last state to do it, and we'll just try to do what we can, by way of education to move us forward into what is a certain future," says Haley.

Haley says he is not for legalizing marijuana, but he does think people shouldn't go to jail for the purpose of alleviating pain from the drug.

Opponents wonder whether a passage of medical marijuana would lead to a decrease in pharmaceutical sales.

"With different kinds of medication with anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, pain medicines, it could add somewhat of a decrease," says Laura Sullivan of Lindburg Pharmacy in Pittsburg.

But Sullivan says it would likely take years for the decrease to show up on a pharmacy's bottom line, if it passes at all.

She is not the only Pittsburg resident with doubts.

"I don't think that Kansas is ready for it," says Raymond Taylor.  "I think that Kansas is a little too conservative, but personally, I think it should be legal."

"I do know, in fact, that it helps a lot of people and their pain conditions, people with chronic pain," says Sean Perry.

"It leads to something that has been illegal for so long, and now we're going to turn around and make it legal, and I fear that we won't initiate the controls to take care of that and balance it out," says John English.

The chairwoman of the Kansas Senate Health and Welfare Committee says she will use her position to ensure the measure will not get a hearing during the current legislative session.

Senator Haley hopes the chair others will approach this with an open mind.

A state senator in Oklahoma is proposing a medical marijuana program in that state.

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