I am very displeased with state Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook and the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

The decision to again try to sweep medical marijuana under the rug and hope it goes away is bad policy. Colorado legalized marijuana completely and Nebraska has partially decriminalized it, yet Kansas still maintains its ineffective and very expensive charade of prohibition. A number of us have attempted to contact the committee and its chair and have received absolutely no reply.

More than $14 million in Kansas taxpayer money was spent in 2009 to arrest, prosecute, and punish about 5,157 of the 277,000 Kansans who used marijuana that year. Is there any other “crime” where an arrest rate of less than 1.9 percent would be acceptable?

In comparison, Colorado received $7.34 million from medical marijuana dispensary license fees, $5.14 million in state income tax, and an additional $5 million-plus in local sales taxes in 2012 all from the medical marijuana industry. I believe I see opportunity costs.

Whether you support compassionate cannabis use or not, we should all agree this issue needs to be heard, not buried in committee. I urge everyone to contact your representatives and make your opinion heard.

— Jeff Lutes,