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kansas city marijuana laws

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Kansas

Is weed legal In Kansas?

No. In Kansas, marijuana for any purpose is illegal.

Only CBD with 0% THC is legal in the state. Kansas law places no restrictions on where CBD can be consumed but it may not be smoked or vaporized in flower form, as many cannabis consumption accessories are criminalized as drug paraphernalia.

Patients or parents of minor patients with debilitating medical conditions who possess CBD oil with less than 5% THC can avoid criminal conviction with a letter from their physician. But they can still be arrested, charged, and taken to court.

Possession of even small, personal amounts of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine for the first offense.

Legislation history

Before the 2018 legislative session, Kansas was one of the strictest states in the US when it came to prohibiting cannabis. Kansas first banned marijuana in 1927, as most states west of the Mississippi River did. Since then, Kansas has barely changed its stance on the plant.

On April 20, 2018, Gov. Jeff Colyer signed into law SB 263, also known as the Alternative Crop Research Act . The act instructed the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) to launch a program, in collaboration with Kansas’ public universities, investigating the viability of industrial hemp, defined as cannabis with no more than 0.3% THC content.

Shortly after, on May 24, 2018, Colyer signed SB 282 , which explicitly amended the legal definition of marijuana to exempt cannabidiol (CBD), thus legalizing broad access to CBD products so long as they contain zero THC.

Gov. Laura Kelly signed SB 28, Claire and Lola’s Law , in 2019. It provided an “affirmative defense” for patients and parents or guardians of patients who possess and use CBD oil with less than 5% THC. An affirmative defense is usually presented in a trial, meaning the person can still be arrested, charged, and held while awaiting trial.

In order to claim the defense, the patient or parent/guardian must have with them at the time of arrest a letter from a doctor licensed in Kansas that states the patient’s “debilitating medical condition.” The letter must be on the doctor’s letterhead and dated within the last 15 months. The law did not include a list of conditions but stipulated a medically diagnosed disease or condition that impairs strength or function, including seizures.

FAQ

What drugs are legal in Kansas?

That’s a very broad question. CBD with 0% THC is legal for anyone and CBD with less than 5% THC is legal for qualified patients and caregivers. The state’s schedules of controlled substances provide more detailed information on the regulation of drugs in Kansas. Marijuana is definitely illegal though.

Is being high in Kansas illegal?

It depends on what you mean by being high. Possession of any amount of cannabis or drug paraphernalia is illegal in Kansas. Driving while under the influence, or high, is illegal. For a deeper dive into Kansas law, start here .

Is Kansas a no-tolerance state?

There’s no set definition for the term “no tolerance.” Though there are very clear consequences for drug-related crimes in Kansas. For example, Kansas law states that operating or attempting to operate any vehicle while under the influence of any drug or combination of drugs that makes you unable to operate the vehicle safely constitutes a DUI. The first conviction for this offense is a class B misdemeanor, which carries a sentence of 48 consecutive hours to six months imprisonment (or 100 hours of community service) and a fine of $750 to $1,000.

When will marijuana be legal in Kansas?

While we can’t predict the future, we know that Kansas citizens cannot petition to have a vote on legalization added to the ballot. Only the state legislature can legalize marijuana by passing bills in both the House and Senate. Then the governor would have to sign it, veto it, or let it pass without signing. Several medical marijuana bills, the usual starting point for legalization, have been proposed in the last few years but none have made it through. The current governor, Laura Kelly, has expressed her support for legalizing medical marijuana but the legislature has to put a bill in front of her first.

What is the penalty for marijuana in Kansas?

Possession of even small, personal amounts of marijuana is a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine for the first offense.

What Kansas City clinics prescribe medical marijuana medical cards?

Kansas does not have medical marijuana cards because it’s illegal in Kansas. CBD oil with 0% THC is legal and available to anyone. Patients (or parents/guardians of minor patients) with a letter from their doctor confirming their diagnoses with a debilitating medical condition have a legal defense for possessing CBD oil with less than 5% THC but the state makes no provisions for purchasing said oil.

Where does Kansas stand on medical marijuana?

Several medical marijuana bills have been proposed in the last few years but none have made it through the state legislature, the state’s only route for legalization. Current governor Laura Kelly has expressed her support for medical marijuana but the legislature has to put a bill in front of her first. As the law currently stands, medical marijuana is illegal in Kansas.

This page was last updated October 23, 2020.

View the marijuana laws & regulations for Kansas.

Kansas City Councilmembers Say Not Prosecuting Marijuana Charges Is A Step Forward For Racial Justice

The director of policy in the mayor’s office testified that in 2017 and 2018, African Americans comprised over 60% of the marijuana arrests in Kansas City although they make up less than 30% of the city’s population.

Kansas City would no longer prosecute low-level marijuana possession cases at the municipal level, under a measure endorsed Wednesday by a City Council committee.

In a move that Mayor Quinton Lucas argued would promote racial equity and criminal justice reform, the Finance and Public Safety Committee voted 4-2 in favor of an ordinance to eliminate marijuana possession as a city code violation. The proposal goes to the full council on July 9.

“We see in studies that Black Americans, although having a similar percentage usage of marijuana as whites, are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana offenses,” Lucas said in testimony to the committee. “At a time when we are trying to have fewer adverse encounters between a community and police, this could be a situation where we could actually remove those.”

Lucas said if people are stopped, there are still grounds for a search and the ordinance does not remove a police investigative tool. Nor does it legalize marijuana under state or federal law or prevent county prosecutors from prosecuting more serious marijuana offenses.

The measure was co-sponsored by Lucas and the other African Americans members of the council: Melissa Robinson, Lee Barnes, Brandon Ellington and Ryana Parks-Shaw.

Parks-Shaw, Barnes, Robinson and Kevin McManus supported the proposal. Heather Hall and Katheryn Shields were opposed. Lucas didn’t vote because he’s not on the committee.

A.J. Herrmann, director of policy in the mayor’s office, told the committee that in 2017 and 2018, African Americans comprised over 60% of the marijuana arrests in Kansas City although they make up less than 30% of the city’s population.

He said that in the last fiscal year that ended April 30, there were 821 marijuana cases filed in municipal court, with 326 convictions.

“It’s our belief that removing marijuana from the code entirely would keep low-level possession cases out of court and off the criminal records of casual users,” Herrmann said. “Marijuana enforcement can distract us from larger priorities. City law enforcement and court resources can be better focused on violent crimes and offenses.”

Hall, however, worried that the proposal would increase confusion among both police and the public. She asked how many of the 821 marijuana cases also involved other offenses. Herrmann said he would try to get that data.

Hall asked Lucas what would happen if an officer pulled over a motorist driving erratically and discovered he was smoking marijuana. Would he have to let the motorist go? Aand what if the motorist then killed someone?

Lucas noted that driving while under the influence of drugs is still a violation of the traffic code, just like driving under the influence of alcohol.

Hall worried about a “slippery slope” of relaxing too many laws. “I think it’s a very fine line,” she said.

Kansas City Police Capt. Scott Simons said the police department has its own concerns.

“Eliminating this charge within the municipal code is going to create a lot of public confusion,” he testified. He said suspects may get the impression that marijuana possession is now legal when in fact it could still be investigated under federal or state statutes. And he worried it would hinder rather than help police interactions with the community.

In joining Hall in voting against the measure, Shields said she favors decriminalizing marijuana but worries about the proposal’s unintended consequences.

While Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker has said she won’t prosecutor minor marijuana possession violations, that’s has not always been the case in Platte, Cass and Clay counties. Shields warned that offenders stopped in the parts of Kansas City that straddle those counties, especially minorities, could find themselves with more serious state violations, rather than simple municipal court fines.

“We are putting them in an area where they are actually going to suffer greater harm,” she said.

Robinson urged support for the measure.

“African Americans are disproportionately impacted by these laws,” Robinson said. “This is an opportunity to address racial injustices that are happening.”

Lynn Horsley is a freelance writer in Kansas City. Follow her on Twitter @LynnHorsley

The director of policy in the mayor’s office testified that in 2017 and 2018, African Americans comprised over 60% of the marijuana arrests in Kansas City although they make up less than 30% of the city’s population.