Kansas House Democrats aim to legalize marijuana, expand Medicaid by July 2023

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 11:00 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansans could see two new issues on the ballot in November 2022: marijuana legalization and Medicaid expansion.

On Thursday, Jan. 6, Kansas House Democrats announced their introduction of three amendments to the Kansas Constitution which would expand Medicaid and legalize medical marijuana as well as recreational marijuana.

According to House Democrats, Kansans want legalized marijuana and need easy access to affordable health care. They said the amendments instruct the legislature to enact new laws for the legalization and expansion by July 1, 2023.

“The legislature fails to expand Medicaid, and in the meantime, tens of thousands of Kansans suffer from inaction. It’s time for Kansas to catch up. It’s past time for us to listen to our constituents,” said House Democratic Leader Tom Sawyer. “Passing these constitutional amendments puts them up for adoption on the November ballot. Every voting Kansan will have their voice heard.”

House Dems said renewed hospital funding and access to care will revitalize western and rural Kansans. Those looking for medical relief will no longer have to travel across state lines to purchase marijuana, which they said would keep more taxpayer dollars in the state’s economy.

The party also said corporations and businesses would see greater success in recruiting employees if marijuana were to be legalized in the state. House Dems said it’s simple - Medicaid expansion and legalized marijuana are pro-business and pro-growth policies.

“House and Senate Republicans have gone on and on for years about how crucial it is for Kansans to have a direct say on important matters in our state. When it comes to violating the Constitutional rights of women, they couldn’t put their question to voters fast enough. Despite the longstanding and overwhelming support from Kansans for Medicaid expansion and reform of our marijuana laws, Republicans have done everything in their power to block any meaningful discussion on these policies,” said Assistant Democratic Leader Jason Probst, lead sponsor of the amendments. “During the upcoming legislative session, House and Senate Republicans will have an opportunity to demonstrate that they honestly value and trust the voters of Kansas to decide what’s best for the state, or if they simply support public votes when it’s politically advantageous to their re-election campaigns.”

If passed in the Kansas Legislature, the amendments to legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana as well as expand Medicaid would be put to a vote on the November 2022 ballot.

In May 2021, the Kansas House voted 79 to 42 in favor of a bill that would legalize medical marijuana in the state, however, the senate ignored it.

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