Opinion Columns & Blogs

Both sides of Legislature rethinking pot

The Kansas Senate’s 38-1 vote last week to lessen penalties for first- and second-time marijuana possession, on the heels of the House’s comparable action last spring, signals unexpected agreement at the Statehouse on the need to ease up on low-level pot users. The House also favors allowing medicinal use of hemp, while the Senate version includes an unrelated toughening of burglary penalties. Advocates of marijuana reform in Kansas are impatient to see the Legislature to go further, recognizing not only the costs to taxpayers of imprisoning marijuana users but also the lasting toll such punishment takes on lives. But getting votes out of both chambers toward reform is a big and welcome development. – Rhonda Holman