Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Critics of Medicinal Marijuana Make Case at Capitol

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Critics of Medicinal Marijuana Make Case at Capitol

Article excerpt

Topeka physician and anti-pot stalwart Eric Voth didn't mince words Thursday denouncing a legislation campaign that would legalize consumption of marijuana for medical purposes in Kansas.

Voth told members of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee that heartbreaking appeals in testimony Wednesday from families seeking to make use of the plant to address complex medical conditions afflicting their children didn't alter reality of a plant that was unstable and unpredictable in treatment.

"Marijuana itself is not a benign recreational drug," he said. "Marijuana has serious toxic and long-term effects. As a smoked drug, it damages the lungs. Its use is associated with violence and spousal, domestic (and) dating abuse."

"More recent research has demonstrated that one of its espoused medical applications, PTSD, is actually worsened with increased violent behavior," said Voth, who has opposed pot consumption for decades.

He said medicinal marijuana campaigns in the states were a ruse to attain legalization for recreational purposes.

Chairwoman Mary Pilcher-Cook, R-Shawnee, said she scheduled the two-day informational hearing on the subject to advance the learning curve for members of the Republican-dominated committee. It didn't constitute a formal hearing on Senate Bill 9, which would establish Kansas as the 24th state to authorize medicinal use of pot.

The Cannabis Compassion and Care Act is an improbable candidate for passage during the 2015 Legislature. Similar bills have been introduced since 2009, but none emerged from a House or Senate committee.

Ed Klumpp, a former Topeka police chief and now lobbyist for three Kansas law enforcement associations, testified the Kansas Sheriff's Association, Kansas Peace Officers Association and Kansas Association of Chiefs of Police recognized the difficult policy question faced by lawmakers across the nation regarding marijuana usage.

"Our association members are concerned about legalizing marijuana in any form, especially in a manner making a mockery of the physician-pharmaceutical system in place for the legitimate use of other controlled substances for medical purposes," Klumpp said. …

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