What Is Kansas Missing by Not Legalizing Marijuana? Lawmakers Say Millions of Dollars and Thousands of Jobs Will Be Lost
What is Kansas giving up by not making some form of marijuana legal? Last week, voters in Oklahoma said no to a state question that would have made it legal for adults to use marijuana. The state continues to make millions of dollars from the medical marijuana business.
Kansas is one of only three states that hasn’t legalized marijuana in any way. Fact Finder 12 wanted to know what Kansas is missing out on.
Investigators from FF12 went across the state line to talk to Pura Cannabis Collective, one of Oklahoma’s almost 12,000 medical marijuana businesses.
Anjelica Ruvalcava is the owner of Pura Cannabis Collective, a dispensary and growers in Tulsa. She said, “Definitely, we’ve seen it in our economy and in our state as a whole. We’ve seen it just boom.”
Ruvalcava said that she is surprised that the marijuana business is doing so well in a state like Oklahoma, which is very conservative, but that the state is making the most of it.
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Ruvalcava said, “It’s just amazing to see it come out in the open and have a whole industry built around it.”
Every year, sales of medical marijuana bring in a lot of tax money for the state. Lawmakers in the state said that the money goes to education and services for mental health.
“It brings in $150 million in taxes and license fees,” said Oklahoma state house representative Scott Fetgatter.
What Might Kansas Miss out On if It Doesn’t Legalize Any Form? the State Is Almost Completely Surrounded by States Where Medical or Recreational Marijuana Use Is Legal
“To be honest, I think people from Kansas are going to Oklahoma to buy marijuana. They are buying it illegally and moving it across state lines, which is a big problem from a legal point of view. It makes it easy for people to break the law just because they want to use marijuana, Fetgatter said.
He said he has been against marijuana his whole life, but he wanted to learn more about it because many people in his district said they wanted it legalized for medical use.
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“There was a time or a “Come to Jesus” meeting where I had to say, ‘Well, I worked to help the aerospace industry, the oil and gas industry, convenience stores, car dealers, and grocery stores. “Because I don’t like your product, it would be a little hypocritical of me to say I’ll work to make Oklahoma a good place to do business for all these businesses except yours,” said Fetgatter.
Jason Probst, a member of the Kansas House of Representatives, said it would be a business for the state of Kansas.
“If you open up a new industry, which it would, you’ll get new investments, new spending, and new tax revenue, and I think Kansas is missing out on all of that in a big way,” said Probst.
He said that state lawmakers’ polls show that most people want some form of marijuana to be legalized, but it keeps dying in the legislature. He said he didn’t know when Kansas might pass it.
“I think it will change when enough people get upset with their government. We know that between 70 and 80% of Kansans want this based on polls. We know there’s a big push for it, but only a few people in this building have the power to stop it,” Probst said.
Governor Laura Kelly is one of the most powerful people in the state legislature, but she can’t do much to get this bill passed. Kelly has said more than once to 12 News that she thinks medical marijuana is a must.
Some shop owners in Oklahoma said that many of their customers say medical marijuana is helping them since it became legal.
“They’re getting off their medications and telling us that they’ve stopped drinking. People tell us that these products have made their lives better, happier, and less painful,” said Georgia King, manager at Pura Cannabis Collective.
At the moment, three bills have been introduced to the house and senate of Kansas. Legislators said that the bills will still be brought up.
“It’s not going away. There is no difference between alcohol bans and drug bans. I’m sure that when alcohol was legalized, someone sat in this office and had the same conversations we’re having now about marijuana. History keeps happening over and over again, and I don’t think it will stop any time soon,” Fetgatter said.