medical marijuana

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This winter we reported that Kansas is one of just four states with the strictest cannabis laws in the country.

But the 2018 legislative session that ended earlier this month shook the state’s legal landscape. So what has changed and what hasn’t?

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Lawmakers in the Kansas House rejected an effort Monday to allow medical marijuana in the state.

But they advanced a plan to allow the sale of some products made from cannabis — if the high-producing compounds have been removed.

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Kansas sits in a shrinking pool of states with the strictest marijuana and hemp laws, surrounded by a wave of decriminalization and legalization that’s swept most of the U.S.

James Dobson / Garden City Telegram/File photo

Shona Banda, a Garden City, Kansas, mother who drew national attention after losing custody of her son over her use of cannabis, has pleaded no contest to felony charges in exchange for probation.

Banda, who has Crohn’s disease, has been a vocal advocate of medical marijuana and self-published a book about her use of cannabis oil to treat her condition, an inflammatory bowel disease that can cause severe abdominal pain and other symptoms.

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Kansas lawmakers are considering legalizing medical marijuana for certain medical conditions.

The Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee heard the bill Monday. If it passes, Kansas would join 28 other states that have some type of medical marijuana program.

Supporters say medical marijuana could help patients who have exhausted available medicine options.

Melissa Ragsdale, whose 7-year-old son suffers from seizures, told the committee industrial hemp cannabidiol helped her son but it only stops certain seizures and that broader access could help.


A Kansas lawmaker hopes legislation that would allow the medicinal use of hemp oil can make headway next legislative session. It would allow the use of hemp oil to treat certain conditions.

The oil is made from hemp, a plant that’s the same species as marijuana, but hemp oil doesn’t cause a person to feel high because it doesn’t contain enough of marijuana’s active ingredient.

Democratic state Rep. John Wilson says medical use of the oil can give Kansas families new options for treating children with seizure disorders.

James Dobson / Garden City Telegram

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by a Garden City, Kansas, mother who lost custody of her son over her use of cannabis oil in an incident that drew national attention.

In a brief four-page order Tuesday, U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten dismissed the action, finding that Shona Banda had failed to respond to the defendants’ “prima facie valid arguments.”


A Democratic lawmaker from Lawrence is hoping a medicinal hemp oil bill can win approval during the tail end of the legislative session. The bill would allow the use of hemp oil in Kansas to treat seizures.

Rep. John Wilson says the legislation has passed the House and he’s pushing for approval in the Senate before the session ends.

“I’m hopeful, and I’m getting a sense from other lawmakers that there is really strong interest in the issue, it’s just a matter of getting the right people on board with the idea,” Wilson says.

James Dobson / Garden City Telegram/File photo

The Garden City, Kansas, mother who lost custody of her 11-year-old son over her use of cannabis oil says she’s looking to vindicate her and other people’s rights.

Shona Banda sued state officials late last week, asking the court to restore custody of her son, declare she has a “fundamental right” to use cannabis oil to treat her Crohn’s disease, and award her damages.

“I want to hold these people accountable so this doesn’t happen to people any longer," Banda said, speaking from her Garden City home.


The Kansas legislature’s turnaround deadline was last week. That means many bills are likely dead for the session, including one to legalize marijuana oil for treating seizures.

The oil in question doesn’t have enough THC to get people high, but the politics of marijuana make the bill a tough sell in an election year.

Law enforcement and some medical groups think the bill goes too far. Medical marijuana advocates don’t think it goes far enough.

That leaves a couple of Kansas moms whose kids have persistent seizure disorders caught in the middle.