TOPEKA — Members of a state group focused on legislation affecting Kansas seniors have voiced support for a bill legalizing medical marijuana.
“Among the benefits of patient use of medicinal marijuana are relief from chronic pain, relief from nausea for those using chemotherapy and stabilization of appetite for those who suffer chronic loss of appetite because of medical treatments, conditions often found among senior citizens,” a resolution passed this week by the Kansas Silver-Haired Legislature read. “Additional benefits to patients using medicinal marijuana are the slowing of the progression of two conditions that are common among senior citizens: Alzheimer’s disease and glaucoma.”
In endorsing pro-pot legislation, the group drew a distinction between marijuana used for recreational and medical purposes. The resolution also stated that physicians and providers of medical marijuana should be shielded from arrest and prosecution penalties.
The group said research demonstrates that selective marijuana enforcement is a state’s rights issue.
“[Federal law enforcement data shows about] 99 out of every 100 marijuana arrests in the United States are made under state law, rather than under federal law,” the resolution read. “Consequently, changing state law will have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill patients who have a medical need to use marijuana.”
The Silver-Haired Legislature’s leader acknowledged the surprising nature of the group’s endorsement.
“We know it’s controversial, but so is getting up in the morning when you get to be our age,” Jim Snyder, 80, Silver-Haired Legislature president, told the Lawrence Journal-World.
The group’s endorsement is expected to be forwarded to the Kansas Legislature for the 2014 session.
The Silver-Haired Legislature is a unicameral, 125-person legislative body, which represents the interests of Kansans 60 and older. Members are elected from within various districts associated with the state’s Agency on Aging.