Kansas Moves Closer to its First Medical Cannabis Program

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Despite failed attempts in the past, new initiatives are showing potential.

Kansas could potentially see a medical cannabis program for patients in the state (1). Currently, there is no medical cannabis program and no option to obtain a medical cannabis card (2). Cannabis is illegal to possess, sell, cultivate, or use except under certain conditions (2). Cannabidiol (CBD) products containing no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) have been legal since 2018, and in 2021 Governor Laura Kelly signed a bill permitting CBD oil containing up to 5% THC to be used to treat medical conditions after a recommendation by a physician (2). Unauthorized possession of cannabis can result in six months imprisonment and a $1000 fine (2).

Medical cannabis legislation has had a haphazard journey in Kansas. While 38 states allow medical cannabis in some form and 24 allow recreational cannabis, Kansas remains one of the few states with neither medical nor recreational cannabis legalization, though its surrounding states have looser recreational and medical laws (1,3). A bill that would legalize medical cannabis (Senate Bill 158) passed the House in 2021, but has not been taken up by the Senate (1,3). Senate Bill 135, introduced in February 2023, would allow the regulated cultivation and sale of medical cannabis for patients with conditions including cancer, epilepsy, and chronic pain (3).


Recently, several new initiatives by advocates are taking place to implement a legal medical cannabis program. Indoor hemp cultivator Kansas Natural Remedies has reportedly been crafting a bill that would create the state’s first medical cannabis program this year (1). Senator Michael O’Donnell has been supporting this effort to create a medical cannabis pilot program (1).

“It’s still being worked,” O’Donnell said (1). “It’s not dead for the year. There will be a bill.”

Some are concerned that a pilot program would not reach enough patients, though it would be a good start (1). The issue continues to be debated, though progress is expected to be made this year (1). Recent polls reveal that a majority of Kansans are in favor of legalizing medical and recreational cannabis (1,3).


  1. Carpenter, T. Kansas House awaits introduction of Senate bill creating medical cannabis pilot program (accessed Mar 12, 2024).
  2. (accessed Mar 12, 2024).
  3. Caudill, D. Legalizing medical marijuana is popular in Kansas, so why hasn’t it happened yet? (accessed Mar 12, 2024).