Day 1 Hearing Recap for Kansas Medical Marijuana Bill SB560
Many Kansas residents were excited to show up or tune in to watch legislation in action. They even had to create an overflow room for onlookers of the hearing.
Overall the room and committee seemed very receptive to the bill, several of the proponent speakers quoted Winston Churchill in saying "Perfection is the enemy of progress." urging both sides to make concessions so that we can pass this effort for the good of Kansans.
Though there were some concerns brought up by Sen Longbine that there was only one source of revenue for the state - the tax revenue. Sen Longbine was also concerned that the lack of excise tax would disincentivize counties to allow dispensaries, which could easily lead to issues of patient access. It was proponent speaker Mr. Dunkin of Kansas Cannabis Industry Associates that jested in reply by saying "We in the industry generally aren't out there asking to be taxed - however, we're willing to listen to whatever suggestions you have."
The primary concerns of the day were the exorbitant Cultivation License costs and how those would impact the ability of medium and small businesses to get into the industry, and Mrs. Steppe of the Kansas Cannabis Chamber of Commerce voiced her concerns that these costs would only end up being transferred down to the patients, limiting accessibility for financial reasons. She stated, "No one wants to raise healthcare costs, and make no mistake - this is healthcare." She also brought up concerns of non-violent cannabis offenders who are "arguably the most qualified" being left out of the industry - especially since the bill states they must seek expungement, and Kansas courts cannot expunge a federal felony, thereby leaving them locked out.
There were also concerns about the unlimited number of licenses, first brought up by Mr. Corkins of Frontier Peace. Mr. Story, VP of Greenlight echoed this concern and cited that this tactic has shown to drive down prices to where businesses have to shut down or flood the black market with product because there are simply too many growers, not enough consumers in other states. It was suggested several times that they come up with a fair number based on population and a fair method of license distribution, whether it be a points system or lottery. There should also be provisions to increase the number of licenses as the industry grows and demand sees fit. Mr. Orland Yee, President, and CEO of Softbase Inc. walked the room through the basics of how Medical cannabis is tracked and traced to ease any discomfort about the possibility of "missing product" ending up on the black market. Sen Hercher later asked Mr. Yee if our current K-Track system would integrate with the cannabis tracking system - he replied "Absolutely!".
The other repeated concern was the timeline set up by the bill. which is currently as follows:
Provisions of the bill begin July 1, 2023
Rules and regulations are required by 1/1/24.
Board of Healing Arts 9/1/23.
BP, KDHE, and ABC implementation date 1/1/24
The consensus is - it's too long! Both Mr. Daniel Shafton of the Kansas Cannabis Business Association and Mr. Mitchell President at BesaMe Wellness and