Bill for Medical Cannabis Program Introduced in Kansas

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After stalled attempts over the years, a bill that would create a medical cannabis program in the Sunflower State has made an appearance.

On Monday, March 18, 2024, Senate Bill 555 was introduced in the Kansas state Senate with the short title of “Creating the medical cannabis pilot program act to establish the medical cannabis pilot program for limited cultivation, processing and dispensing of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products.” (1). In 2021, Senate Bill 158, which would have created a medical cannabis program, passed the House, but was not taken up by the Senate (2). If SB 555 is passed, patients with at least one of 16 medical conditions will be able to seek medical cannabis for treatment (3). The pilot medical cannabis program would remain in effect from July 1, 2024 until July 1, 2029 (3).

The program is considered by some to be one of the most restricted programs in the nation (5). “This bill was written to comprehensively address the concerns legislators had with previous bills,” explained Sam Jones, Chief Operating Officer of Kansas Natural Remedies (KNR) (4), “and to ensure that Kansas has the most conservative and controlled medical cannabis program in the nation.” Jones has been previously consulted on the development of the bill (2,5).


The qualifying medical conditions listed in the 50-page bill are (4):

  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome [AIDS];
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis;
  • autism;
  • cancer;
  • chronic traumatic encephalopathy;
  • Crohn's disease;
  • epilepsy or another seizure disorder;
  • fibromyalgia;
  • multiple sclerosis;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder;
  • sickle cell anemia;
  • spinal cord disease or injury;
  • traumatic brain injury;
  • ulcerative colitis;
  • pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable

Medical cannabis consumption methods and distribution to patients are limited. Edibles and smoking are not permitted, and patients will receive the approved products, such as tinctures, pills, and flower, through pharmacies rather than dispensaries (4,5).

Kansas Senator Cindy Holscher expressed concerns over some sections of the bill (3). “This bill could potentially cause the state to have legislation brought against us,” stated Holscher (3). “Because again, there are certain regulations in place when it comes to municipal cannabis that we as a state have to adhere to. And if we don’t, then that’s potential for litigation.” She also reiterated the need to prevent children from accessing medical cannabis products (3). According to the bill, the products must be in child-proof packaging (4).

On March 19, SB 555 was referred to the Committee on Federal and State Affairs (1). Kansas is one of 10 US states that does not allow either a medical or recreational cannabis (5). In recent news, Kansas’s neighbor to the north, Nebraska, has also seen some developments in its own medical cannabis program (6). Like Kansas, Nebraska does not currently have a medical cannabis program (6).

The group Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana reported last week that it had collected 40,000 signatures to place two initiatives on the ballot this year: one to decriminalize medical cannabis and one to regulate it (6). A recent poll revealed that 70% of Nebraskans support legal medical cannabis in the state (7). Nebraskans for Medical Marijuana has attempted twice in previous years to place the issue on a ballot, and now the group will need 87,000 signatures by July 1, 2024 (6).


  1. Kansas State Legislature 2023-2024 Legislative Sessions (accessed Mar 21, 2024).
  2. McEvoy, E. Kansas Moves Closer to its First Medical Cannabis Program (accessed Mar 21, 2024).
  3. Daughtry, J. Kansas bill pushes pilot program for medical cannabis (accessed Mar 21, 2024).
  4. Committee on Federal and State Affairs. SENATE BILL No. 555 (accessed Mar 21, 2024).
  5. EIN Presswire, Newly introduced bill could launch Kansas’ first pilot medical cannabis program (accessed Mar 21, 2024).
  6. Hoff, M. Medical marijuana and abortion rights could be on Nebraska ballot (accessed Mar 21, 2024).
  7. Hammel, P. New polling finds 70% support for legalizing medical cannabis (accessed Mar 21, 2024).