Support For Kansas Cannabis Legalization Grows 10% Over Last Year

Despite having no legal cannabis access, a statewide survey of Kansas adults shows that more than 63 percent favor marijuana legalization.

Kansas residents have no legal access to adult-use or medical marijuana, but a new survey suggests that could change if it were up to the people. More than 63 percent of adults living in Kansas support legalizing recreational marijuana and taxing its sales, a study shows.

In a random sample survey of Kansas adults, respondents were asked about different options to increase state tax revenue. More than 63 percent said they “strongly” or “somewhat” support legalizing recreational marijuana for people 21 years of age and older to allow state taxation, compared to nearly 26 percent opposing such a change.

The new survey shows a more than ten percent increase in support over the previous year. In the 2018 version of the Kansas Speaks Survey, only 52 percent of respondents “strongly support” or “somewhat support” legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older and to allow the state to gain tax revenue from it, while 39 percent opposed legalization at the time.

The “2019 Kansas Speaks Fall Survey” was conducted by the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University from Aug. 26 to Oct. 14. A random sample of 352 adult residents of Kansas age 18 and older were surveyed by telephone to evaluate attitudes and opinions regarding various issues.

Despite being surrounded by neighbors with legal marijuana — Colorado, Oklahoma and Missouri — Kansas state law still prohibits cannabis for recreational and medical purposes. It’s one of the few remaining states in the country with no legal access.

Legalization Efforts

Hope for the legalization of medical marijuana in Kansas began to build with the election of Democratic Governor Laura Kelly. In a report by the Wichita Eagle, the newly elected Kelly spoke about the road to medical marijuana access.

“I think that there is some momentum in the Legislature to pass, to legalize medical marijuana. I think we would do it Kansas-style, where it would be well-regulated,” she told the Wichita Eagle.

State lawmakers and law enforcement have been firm on their cannabis policy. Many from the state’s medical community, including the Kansas Medical Society, will not support medical marijuana until the Food and Drug Administration approves it.

Kelly faces a Republican-controlled legislature, but steps were taken to advance a medical marijuana bill in October. If support can be gathered, the state legislature would require a simple majority in both chambers to approve a medical marijuana bill. While the new governor supports medical marijuana, she told the Wichita Eagle Kansas is not ready for recreational-use.

In 2017, just across the state line from Kansas City, Kansas in the twin city of Kansas City, Missouri, voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to decriminalize low-level amounts of cannabis. The measure gained 75 percent of the vote to eliminate jail time and lower the fine for those caught in possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana from $500 to $25.

In April, Kansas Gov. Kelly signed into law a bill to legally allow Kansas farmers to grow hemp for industrial use. Learn more about Kansas cannabis laws as well as other states in the country by visiting our Where Is Marijuana Legal? page.

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