Kansas

Kansas: 16-Year-Old Running for Governor, Plans to Legalize

Jack Bergeson on Kimmel

Jack Bergeson, 16, a Wichita high school student, is running for Kansas governor

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Even though he won’t be able to legally cast a vote, Jack Bergeson, a 16-year-old from Wichita, is running for Governor of Kansas in 2018. His political platform includes legalizing marijuana for social use.

“Under Kansas law, there is no law governing the qualifications for governor, not one,” said Bryan Caskey, director of elections at the Kansas secretary of state’s office. “So there’s seriously nothing on the books that lays out anything, no age, no residency, no experience. Nothing.”

Kansas: NASCAR Driver Carl Long Forced To Remove Marijuana Business Logo From Car

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The Associated Press reported that NASCAR driver Carl Long showed up at the Kansas Motor Speedway Friday with the logo of a marijuana vaping company on his race car, and NASCAR officials forced him to remove it.

The logo for Veedverks, a Colorado-based medical marijuana dispensary, was on the hood of Long's No.66 car.

A spokesman for NASCAR said the logo was never vetted and approved, and that it violated rules governing sponsorship and paint schemes.

NASCAR officials said it will not adorn the car the rest of the weekend.

Kansas: Grandmother With Terminal Cancer Jailed For Prescribed Medical Marijuana

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Angela Kastner, a grandmother from Wichita, Kansas, was sentenced to 48 hours in jail this week for driving under the influence. There was no alcohol in her system, but she tested positive for traces of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that causes a "high."

However, the THC came from Marinol, a synthetic medical marijuana product approved by the FDA and prescribed to Kastner by her doctor to suppress nausea from chemotherapy. She is undergoing chemotherapy for what is likely terminal colorectal cancer. Kansas is one of only three states where medical marijuana remains completely illegal, but Marinol has been legal nationwide since 1985.

Kastner was locked up anyway. "I miss my chemo tomorrow and I miss my doctors appointment tomorrow," she said. "I feel sorry for the next cancer patient who has to go through anything I have had to go through. They shouldn't have to do this at the end of their life."

Kansas: August Hearing Set In Cancer Patient's Felony Medical Marijuana Case

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A motions hearing for a Kansas cancer patient facing felony marijuana charges has been scheduled for August to provide more time for review of his medical history.

Retired science teacher Terry Lynn Rugg, 64, of Ottawa, Kansas, is charged with marijuana cultivation, possession with intent to distribute, and possession of drug paraphernalia, all of which are felonies, reports Doug Carder at the Ottawa Herald. He was arrested on October 29, 2015.

Rugg's attorney, John Boyd, had already said he would provide the Franklin County Attorney's Office with Rugg's medical history, in hopes of reaching a plea bargain.

The prosecutor's office has indicated it wants to review Rugg's full medical records, which would require more time, Boyd said at his client's status conference on Monday morning.

Rugg has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, bladder cancer and urethral cancer, according to Boyd.

Kansas: Medical Marijuana Activists Say Hemp Oil Bill Would Help Very Few

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Medical marijuana activists gathered at the Kansas statehouse in Wichita Wednesday, pushing lawmakers for change.

Kansas for Change leaders say the THC levels allowed by the hemp oil bill are too low to really make a difference for most patients.

"With what they're hoping to pass right now I don't think there would be very much difference from products you can buy on the shelf from the health foods store right now," said Esau Freeman.

Freeman says he's fed up with what lawmakers have done to a hemp oil bill originally written to help hundreds, but he believes will have a much smaller impact.

"Very few people, maybe 15 people in the state," said Freeman.

A Kansas Senate bill was recently changed to include more than just those who suffer from seizures. It would allow 21-year-olds with cancer, Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis and PTSD to receive hemp oil with 1-percent THC and children who suffer from seizures to be prescribed .3-percent.

Lawmakers who oppose more THC in cannabis oil say they are afraid people will abuse this form of medicine to get high.

"You would have to have the doctor's permission and there's still a lot of uncertainty for who would produce this product," said Freeman.

Kansas: Marijuana Advocate Sues State Over Son's Removal

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A Kansas woman is suing the state for removing her 11-year-old son from her custody after he spoke up at school saying that she used and possessed marijuana.

Shana Barda's son was taken from her by authorities after he made comments at school during a drug education program that his mother and other adults at home consumed marijuana. A subsequent search of Barda's home led police to discover more than a pound of marijuana, as well as other marijuana items such as cannabis oil.

Barda filed the federal lawsuit Thursday, alleging the state of Kansas and agents were depriving her of her civil right to use marijuana to treat Chron's disease.

Barda has authored a book describing her use of cannabis oil to treat Chron's, an inflammatory bowel disease.

Acting as her own attorney in the lawsuit, Barda is seeking unspecified damages. She insists in the lawsuit that she educated her 11-year-old boy about marijuana and told him "it is a medication." She says she never allowed him to use the drug.

Barda faces marijuana-related charges in Finney County. The status of that case was not immediately available Saturday.

Kansas: Couple Whose Tea Was Mistaken For Marijuana Loses Federal Suit Over SWAT Raid

RobertAndAdlynnHarte[KCTV]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A federal judge in Kansas last Friday ruled against a couple who'd brought a lawsuit in response to a botched SWAT-style pot raid, in which their home was ransacked by drug agents after a a field test incorrectly identified tea in their garbage as marijuana.

U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum entered the annals of infamy with the ruling that police acted legally and reasonably in planning and conducting the botched raid on the home of Robert and Adlynn Harte, former CIA agents whose children were 7 and 13 ast the time, reports Jacob Sullum at Reason, working on a tip from Marc Sandhaus, a good friend of Hemp News.

The Hartes and their children "were intimidated, accused, traumatized and held under armed guard" for two and a half hours while Johnson County sheriffs' deputies ransacked their home, after which they presented the family with a receipt reading "no items taken," rather than an apology.

According to the lawsuit, when a team of Rambo'd out SWAT team deputies arrived at the suburban Kansas City home, Robert Harte was forced to lie shirtless in the foyer while a deputy with an assault rifle stood over him. The children reportedly came out of their bedrooms terrified, the boy with his hands in the air, reports The Kansas City Star.

Kansas: 80-Year-Old Marijuana Dealer Pleads Guilty In Federal Court

MarshallDion[JunctionCityKSPoliceDepartment]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The dramatic exploits of a lifetime of smuggling came to an end on Thursday when 80-year-old Marshall Herbert Dion entered his guilty plea in federal court to running a huge marijuana-dealing and money-laundering operation.

Dion, who owned houses in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Arizona, had $11 million hidden in a North Reading, Mass., storage facility, and once crawled away from a Wisconsin plane crash as thousands of dollars in cash -- suspected drug profits -- floated through the air around him, reports Milton J. Valencia at The Boston Globe.

Under his plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Dion could serve 5 to 7 years in a federal penitentiary, ending a lucrative career that spanned decades until a chance traffic stop in, of all places, Kansas.

“Over the course of the conspiracy . . . he had sold approximately 3,000 to 10,000 kilograms of marijuana,” Assistant US Attorney Leah Foley claimed during a brief court hearing.

"Mr. Dion has embraced his responsibility and is looking forward to the next chapter in his life," said his lawyer, Hank Brennan.

The end began for Dion's smuggling career with a June 2013 traffic stop in Junction City, Kansas. A police officer pulled him over for driving 80 mph in a 75 mph zone; during the stop, the officer searched Dion's old pickup and found nearly $850,000 in cash.

Kansas: Vietnam Veteran, 65, Denied Pain Pills After Testing Postive For Marijuana

GaryDixonVietnamVeteran[KSNT]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A nationwide argument between the Veterans Administration and groups which protect the rights of veterans emerged in Kansas on Tuesday.

The issue -- whether veterans should be denied prescription medications because they use marijuana for physical or emotional pain, even in states which allow marijuana use -- arose when a Vietnam veteran was denied his pain pills because he tested positive for pot, reports Tyler Carter at KSNT.

"I went in to get a refill on my pain medication and they refused to let me have it, because I have marijuana in my blood," said disabled Vietnam veteran Gary Dixon, 65. While in Vietnam, Dixon was exposed to Agent Orange.

"I hurt, and I hurt from something I got fighting for my country," Dixon said.

He now has Stage 4 lung cancer, apparently doesn't have much time left to live, and readily admits to smoking marijuana.

Dixon and his wife Debbie on Tuesday drove to Topeka from Fort Scott like they customarily do for Dixon's stroke group therapy and to pick up his pain medicine. But this time, he had to take a urine test and sign an opiate consent form.

"I said, if she was wanting to see if I still smoke marijuana, I said I do," said Dixon, who added he'd been using cannabis since 1972.

He takes 10 to 15 presription pills per day, but Tuesday afternoon he walked out of the VA hospital empty handed.

Kansas: Mother, Marijuana Advocate Shona Banda Faces Preliminary Hearing Nov. 16

ShonaBandaShowsBiceps[SupportShonda.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Shona Banda, a Kansas mother who faces three felony charges and two misdemeanors for medical marijuana, will face a preliminary hearing on November 16. Banda has not entered a plea, contrary to incorrect press reports; Finney County District Attorney Susan Richmeier incorrectly stated in a Monday email that Banda had done so.

Law enforcement authorities and the Kansas Department of Children and Families started "investigating" Banda after her 11-year-old son said during an anti-drug program at his school that his mom smokes "a lot" of pot, reports Gabriella Dunn of The Wichita Eagle. The 11-year-old could name various strains of cannabis, according to Banda's arrest affidavit.

In an interview last month, Banda told of how cannabis oil has helped her cope with her Crohn's disease, when other medical remedies did not. She wrote a book, Live Free Or Die: Reclaim Your Life ... Reclaim Your Country, about her marijuana use to treat her disease.

"When I'm dying, I'm going to do whatever it takes to save my life," she said during the interview last month. "It's instinct -- it's human instinct at its very core. You should not have to choose your life over a law."

Photo of Shona Banda: SupportShona.com

Kansas: Attorney General Asks State Supreme Court To Block Wichita Marijuana Decrim

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Perfectly embodying the definition of a sore loser, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking the state Supreme Court to strike down Tuesday's ballot initiative which Wichita voters passed to reduce penalties for marijuana possession.

"There are no facts in dispute -- only the legal question of whether the City of Wichita acted outside its authority by purporting to adopt this ordinance in conflict with state law," Schmidt claimed in a Thursday news release accompanying his filing, reports Dion Lefler at The Wichita Eagle.

"A quick, authoritative and final resolution in the Supreme Court will provide the clarity to guide everyone involved," Schmidt said.

A lawyer for the cannabis activists who forced Tuesday's successful decrim vote said it's kind of funny that Schmidt moved on the case only after his side lost.

"I guess if the wrong people win an election in Wichita, Kansas, the attorney general is going to want a do-over," said Scott Poor, the lawyer representing the Wichita Marijuana Reform Initiative group.

The decrim initiative was resoundingly approved by voters, 54 percent to 46 percent. It seeks to reduce the penalty for first-time marijuana possession for adults over 21 to a $50 fine. Violations would be considered infractions, meaning they wouldn't have to be disclosed on most job or scholarship applications.

U.S.: Report Says Legalized Marijuana Is Nation's Fastest Growing Industry

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Legalized marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the United States, according to a new report.

The legal cannabis industry expanded 74 percent during 2014, according to the study, from California-based research and investment firm ArcView Market Research, report Chris Oberholtz and Josh Marshall at KCTV.

The market grew from $1.5 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion in 2014 in combined retail and wholesale sales, according to the data, published in the company's third edition of the "State of Legal Marijuana Markets."

Five states -- California, Colorado, Washington, Arizona and Michigan -- now have cannabis markets greater than $100 million, according to the report.

"In the last year, the rise of the cannabis industry went from an interesting cocktail conversation to being taken seriously as the fastest growing industry in America," said Troy Dayton, ArcView Group CEO. "At this point, it's hard to imagine that any serious businessperson who is paying attention hasn't spent some time thinking about the possibilities in this market."

Colorado became the "new epicenter of the industry" as the first active adult use market, according to ArcView, and recorded $805 million total combined retail and wholesale sales.

Kansas: Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced; Senate Hears From Supporters, Opponents

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

State Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City) and state Rep. Gail Finney (D-Wichita) have once again introduced medical marijuana bills in the Kansas Legislature, as they've done every year since 2009.

None of the measures has ever gone beyond informational hearings, in which no action can be taken, but Sen. Haley thinks that might change this year, reports Amy Himmelberg of the Associated Press.

"I think the ice is beginning to thaw regarding the reasonableness of the issue among the leadership of the Legislature," Haley said.

Rep. Finney -- who has undergone chemotherapy for lupus -- thinks the bill will at least get a hearing after being ignored by Republican legislators for years. "Passing, I don't know about that," she added.

Rep. Dan Hawkins (R-Wichita), chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, said he's waiting to see what the Senate does with medical marijuana. "Nobody's come and really pushed it," Hawkins claimed, adding that he's heard "very little" from constituents about it. If you'd like to change that, you can click here and let Rep. Hawkins hear from the people he's supposed to be representing.

Kansas: Wichita Marijuana Supporters Not Giving Up, Despite Falling 47 Signatures Short

EsauFreeman(KansasForChange)TurnsInPetitionsInWichita

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Despite falling 47 signatures short of getting a marijuana decriminalization petition on the ballot in Wichita, Kansas, supporters aren't giving up.

Interim City Attorney Sharon Dickgrafe on Tuesday told the Wichita City Council that it could not legally put the issue on the ballot as a ballot petition, but the council then voted for city staff to work with the marijuana petitioners to address the language of a ballot petition that could be carried for a signature election, probably for a vote next spring when city elections are held, reports Kelsey Ryan at The Wichita Eagle.

But supporters also plan to fight the Wichita elections office on the signature count done last week during the primaries, and still hold the goal to meet the county deadline later this month to get the issue on the November ballot.

Initiative leader Esau Freeman said there have been concerns over two missing pages of signatures that were turned over to the county, with 2,928 valid voter signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot.

At least one of the missing pages contained the signature of his wife, Freeman said. He said petition gatherers weren't allowed to observe the counting, which was done by the Sedgwick County elections office.

"[Kansas Secretary of State] Kris Kobach says we have open and fair elections, but I think the first case of voter fraud has been perpetrated by the Sedgwick County election office," Freeman said.

Kansas: Marijuana Decriminalization Petition Falls Short In Wichita

EsauFreeman(KansasForChange)TurnsInPetitionsInWichita

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Supporters of a petition to decriminalize marijuana in Wichita, Kansas, have come up just short of the number of signatures they needed to force the city to put the issue to a vote.

Organizers got word late Thursday that the Sedgwick County Election Board has ruled they were just 41 signatures short of the 2,928 needed to qualify, reports KAKE.com.

Around 3,500 signatures were disqualified by the office, although reasons weren't immediately given. One possibility is that the election office wouldn't accept signatures from people who were newly registered by the petition circulators, or that those registrations were delayed at the office by proof-of-citizenship requirements, according to petition drive leader Esau Freeman, reports Dion Lefler at The Wichita Eagle.

"This is exactly what I expected from the election office," Freeman said, adding that he was "terribly disappointed" but isn't giving up.

The signature count was supposed to have been completed a year ago, but was delayed by the need to recheck rejected signatures and to conduct Tuesday's primary election.

Petition supporters said they'll be at Tuesday's city council meeting to encourage the council to put the measure on the ballot. The drive had been organized towards getting the decrim question on the November 4 general election ballot.

Kansas: Wichita Marijuana Advocates Turn In Petitions To Reduce Penalties

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana advocates in Wichita, Kansas on Thursday turned in petitions with nearly twice as many signatures as they need to put decriminalization on the November ballot.

City officials in Wichita said they may have questions and concerns about the wording of the measure, but they have no immediate plans to go to court to try to block the initiative, reports Dion Lefler at The Wichita Eagle.

Organizers Esau Freeman and Janice Bradley went to Wichita City Hall at 4:20 p.m. on Thursday and presented City Clerk Karen Sublette with a thick sheaf of papers. According to the advocates, those papers contain the names and signatures of more than 5,800 people in favor of decriminalizing possession of marijuana and paraphernalia.

They need 2,928 valid signatures of registered Wichita voters to put the issue on the ballot.

"We didn't verify every single one, but we're pretty confident with what we have," said Bradley, who added that an intern with the Peace and Justice Social Center had checked a large sample of the signatures.

The petition has garnered support from at least two state legislators and the Community Voice, a newspaper focused on Wichita's black community.

Kansas: Medical Marijuana Advocates Rally At Capitol

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana legislation went nowhere in either chamber of the Kansas Legislature, so the group Kansas for Change on Friday held a rally at the Capitol dome. They want to add Kansas to the list of states that allow access to medical marijuana with a doctor's authorization.

"Putting people in prison and trying to legislate your particular brand of morality is not what Kansans have asked for and not what we're going to stand for," said Esau Freeman, president and cofounder of Kansas for Change, reports Melissa Brunner at WIBW.

As medical marijuana supporters flowed into the Capitol for the event, sneers and jeers were in the air, reports Travis Perry at Kansas Watchdog. Security guards reportedly joked about setting up an "amnesty bin" to collect weed from those attending the rally, and state lawmakers laughingly asked why the rally wasn't set for 4:20 p.m.

"It shows a total lack of respect," Freeman said. "It shows a lack of respect for the patients that are suffering from cancer every day. It shows a lack of respect for those of us who get up every day and advocate for a change in our society. I expect more from our legislators in Kansas."

Kansas: Woman's Death In Jail After Marijuana Arrest Is Investigated

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The January death of a 58-year-old Kansas woman in jail after being arrested for marijuana she'd legally purchased in Colorado is being investigated by local authorities as family members continue to look for answers. Her sister alleges that jail guards stood by, ignoring her pleas for help.

Brenda Sewell and her sister Joy Biggs had been pulled over January 20 in Goodland by the Kansas Highway Patrol for speeding, reports Glenn E. Rice at The Kansas City Star. A trooper arrested them after finding a small amount of marijuana, according to relatives.

Family members want to know why Sewell started foaming at the mouth, and why jailers took so long to help as her sister and another cellmate tried to revive the woman.

While in Colorado, Sewell had bought some cannabis to help ease pain associated with her ailments, as well as to manage nausea and improve her appetite, according to her younger brother, Rick Ray of Kansas City. Sewell had 31 grams of marijuana in a sealed jar when she was stopped by the Kansas Highway Patrol, according to Biggs. The officer claimed he smelled marijuana.

Kansas: At The Crossroads of 'Marijuana Trafficking'

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With marijuana laws relaxing seemingly everywhere, the blossoming domestic cannabis industry has increased the quality of pot, and not just in states where it's legal for medical or recreational purposes. Neighboring states like Kansas have become way stations for the high-grade marijuana flowing to more populated cities to the east.

In the past, reports Roxana Hegeman at The Associated Press, most of the weed seized by cops came in the form of compressed bricks, much of it from Mexico and selling for between $400 and $500 a pound.

Just a few years back, 70 percent of the marijuana seized in Wichita was compressed, according to Chris Bannister of the undercover narcotics division of the Wichita Police Department. In contrast, today about 85 percent of the marijuana seized is "medical-grade," Bannister claimed, and just 15 percent is "traditional marijuana."

"The quality is there, the demand is there, and the price reflects that," Bannister said. "And it is driving down the price of traditional pressed marijuana."

"Drugs go east; cash goes west," said Chris Joseph, a Topeka lawyer who handles drug-related traffic cases. "Really the Colorado angle is that it is just a different source, it is not so much that the amount of drugs and money on the highways has really changed."

Kansas: Medicinal Marijuana Bill Introduced

By Lauren Garrison

Kansas: Medicinal Marijuana Law Introduced The state of Kansas has always had strongly enforced laws against the use of marijuana in any degree. However, things might be changing in Kansas Legislature.

A house bill has been created to allow the use of medical marijuana for seriously ill individuals. According to House Bill 2610, titled the Medical Marijuana Act, by the Committee on Health and Human Services, this would allow “the legal use of marijuana for certain debilitating medical conditions.”

The bill would also allow for the registration and construction of compassion centers, which are not-for-profit organizations that provide assistance to seriously-ill persons who might consider using medical marijuana for treatment.

According to the bill, a compassion center is a registered entity “that acquires, possesses, cultivates, manufactures, delivers, transfers, transports, supplies or dispenses marijuana or related supplies and educational material to cardholders.”

Through the bill, if enacted, seriously-ill persons who wish to use medical marijuana for treatment will be issued identification cards which identify them as a “registered qualifying patient,” caregiver or employee of a compassion center.

The Medical Marijuana Act states “the purpose of this act is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their practitioners and providers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal or other penalties.”

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