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Top Candidates For Kansas Governor Disagree On Medical Marijuana

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The top contenders running for governor say Kansas should not follow Colorado’s lead and legalize recreational marijuana, but they differ on medical marijuana.

At a debate this week, Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly said a well-regulated medical cannabis system could cut health care costs and offer a treatment alternative to opioids.

“We know from our hospice work and from opioid abuse that there’s a real use for medical marijuana,” Kelly said.

Independent Greg Orman also supports medical marijuana and says penalties for pot possession should be lowered.

Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach said those proposals should go up in smoke because medical marijuana systems can be abused and lead to recreational use.

“It becomes a ridiculously open gateway for people to just use it for recreational purposes,” Kobach said.

Kobach said products made from cannabis, such as CBD oil, already offer some treatment options.

Libertarian candidate for governor Jeff Caldwell wants to fully legalizing marijuana in Kansas.

Another independent candidate for governor, Rick Kloos, doesn’t fully support legalization but does want to decriminalize marijuana use.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio, a partner in the Kansas News Service. Follow him on Twitter @kprkoranda. Kansas News Service stories and photos may be republished at no cost with proper attribution and a link back to the original post. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.