Unlike three of its neighboring states, Kansas hasn’t budged on its policy toward marijuana, but several recently organized groups are working to change that.
The homegrown advocacy groups include the industry trade organization Kansas Cannabis Business Association KSCBA) and the lobbying organization Frontier Peace Advisors / Liberty Alliance.
The KSBCA has shared with lawmakers that from a strictly economic perspective, medical marijuana legalization in Kansas means increased tax revenues, job growth, and investment opportunities, KSCBA Vice President Erin Montroy told Greenway, a Missouri cannabis magazine.
“Our mission is legalizing, creating, and building a new industry for our state, generating prosperity and revenue in an unprecedented way, and bringing Kansas into a market already operating and thriving in other states,” Montroy told Greenway. “KSCBA’s overarching goal is to unite motivated, influential leaders in their respective markets and those who understand the work we’re doing.
Montroy and KSCBA President Andy Ericson are business partners in GreenSeed Insurance, a Kansas City-area based agency that specializes in selling insurance policies for cannabis businesses.
Frontier Peace Advisors / Liberty Alliance has taken the approach that marijuana use is a matter of personal freedom. “The Liberty Alliance is a private membership association dedicated to advancing libertarian principles in the Kansas legislative process,” chief lobbyist Bob Corkins wrote in a letter to the Kansas Legislature early this year advocating proposed bill HB 2686, which would have decriminalized marijuana in the state.
Corkins is a longtime Topeka/Lawrence-area attorney and lobbyist who has also held state posts with the Dept. of Children and Families and the Office of Administrative Hearings.
“Eighteen bills to establish a medical marijuana program have been introduced in Kansas since 2006,” Montroy said in Greenway. “Most of the legislation specified qualifying medical conditions, set taxes and fees and permitted the establishment of dispensaries.”
During the 2020 legislative session, two bills - HB 2740 and HB 2742 - were in committee when the session ended early due to COVID. Montroy said she feels some form of legalization will happen in the near future.
“I think people gave up on Kansas a long time ago, so no one knows what’s happening in the statehouse, the progress we’ve made, and the fact that a bill will almost certainly be passed, and would have likely passed this session if it hadn’t abruptly ended due to COVID-19,” she told Greenway. “I’ve had several Republican members of congress look me in the eye and tell me they’re ready to pass medicinal cannabis, right now, with the right bill.”
Three of the four states surrounding Kansas, OKlahoma, Missouri and Colorada have some form of legalized marijuana use.