A key Kansas Senate Republican proclaimed the potential legalization of medical marijuana dead Thursday, saying his committee had “bigger fish to fry” and that outstanding questions on the policy’s merits remained.
The development, which came after two days of hearings on the issue, will mark 2023 as the third straight year where the issue of legalization languished in the Senate.
It will be viewed as a major blow for advocates, who hoped that a more robust lobbyist effort and popular support for legalization across the state would be enough to get a bill to Gov. Laura Kelly’s desk.
But Sen. Mike Thompson, R-Shawnee, told reporters that it wasn’t to be, with his comments coming moments after the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee he chairs voted to table the bill in an unscheduled move.
“You’ve got all these questions that go unanswered,” Thompson said. “We’ve got bigger fish to fry at this point.”
In moving to table the bill, Sen. Alicia Straub, R-Ellinwood, said, “We really need to protect our children and I don’t think we’re ready to work this bill.”
“This definitely needs to be given a lot of thought,” Straub said.
More:Marijuana opponents descend on Kansas Statehouse, as hopes for legalization bill dim
Thompson has been skeptical of the prospects of legalization, calling a pair of hearings earlier this month where opponents of the idea exclusively presented and urged lawmakers against passing any bills.
While the subsequent debate over the bill on Wednesday and…
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