Esau Freeman went before the Health and Human Services Committee today, listing off the side effects of Humara. The FDA-approved drug is used to treat psoriasis and arthritis. He says the drug worked to cure his 58 year-old mother's ailments, but the side effects killed her. It's for this reason he believes medical marijuana needs to be legalized in Kansas.
Freeman's not alone. Dozens of people packed into Room 784 of the Docking Building on Tuesday, urging the committee to support the bill allowing the house to vote on it. There are plenty of opponents, too. Doctors and substance abuse professionals who believe if Kansas becomes the 17th state to legalize medical marijuana, the same issues other states are facing will plague Kansas.
Medical marijuana is believed to relieve a wide range of medical problems. But many feel, just like the abuse of prescription painkillers, patients would take advantage of the easy access to pot if it were legalized. Former Lawrence Dr. John Hauxwell says the concerns are understandable, but no reason to keep Kansans from deciding what's best for them. "Patients are often frustrated, and doctors too, trying to figure out how to manage pain," says Hauxwell. "We don't have all the answers."
Tuesday's meeting was described as an information hearing. A vote did not take place. We'll continue to follow this story and let you know what happens.