Friday, October 4, 2013

Kansas Silver-Haired Legislature endorses medical marijuana

By SCOTT ROTHSCHILD, The Lawrence Journal-World

TOPEKA, KAN. ---- The Kansas Silver-Haired Legislature, a senior-citizen advisory group, has approved a resolution in support of medical marijuana.

"We know it's controversial, but so is getting up in the morning when you get to be our age," said Jim Snyder, the 80-year-old president of the group.

The non-binding recommendation, which supports Senate Bill 9, will be forwarded to the Kansas Legislature.

SB 9 would allow people who have certain medical conditions, such as cancer, and have received recommendations from their physicians to use marijuana. It would also have the state regulate and license medical marijuana centers to provide the drug.

Similar measures have been filed in the Kansas Legislature over the past several years, but the issue has gained no traction.

Snyder, of Topeka, said Thursday that may change because of the Silver-Haired Legislature's endorsement and the increasing number of states that have approved medical marijuana.

He said older people are simply looking for ways to manage pain."When you get old, you get creaky, and you hurt," he said. And Snyder said sometimes prescription drugs that are currently available are too powerful.

Earlier, the Silver-Haired Legislature heard from Jack Cole, who leads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

Cole, a retired undercover narcotics officer from New Jersey, told the group legalizing drugs could actually reduce crime and violence and not increase use.

The Silver-Haired Legislature is a unicameral legislative body consisting of 125 representatives. All members of the group are age 60 or older.

Members submit forms to be candidates and are elected during elections run by local area agencies on aging. The group's recommendations are then forwarded to the Kansas Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback.

The group provides an educational experience in the political process and an opportunity to identify policy concerns for Kansas’ older adults.