Mother pleads with lawmakers for medical marijuana bill

TOPEKA, Kan (KSNT) – Kansas lawmakers heard testimony Monday on a bill that would legalize marijuana for medical use only.

Melissa Ragsdale testified on behalf of her 7-year-old son suffering from epilepsy. Ragsdale said her son Gavin has been using legal hemp oil to help relieve his symptoms. While Gavin’s improved, she said more is needed.

“When you’re dealing with a type of epilepsy that happens all over the brain, we need access to multiple strains, multiple cannabinoids to subdue the multiple seizure types,” said Ragsdale.

Ragsdale and others testified before the health and human services committee in the Kansas Senate. Supporters of medical marijuana believe the practice can provide Kansans a natural alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals.

“They then put me on depakote, cymbalta, gabapentin, topamax, provigil, xyrem,” said Derek Espinoza.

Espinoza is a former Wichita police officer. He told senators that he has gone into liver failure due to drugs he was prescribed after being injured in the line of duty.

Opponents, on the other hand, are worried about the side effects of increased marijuana access in Kansas.

“Young men who did not know that they had bipolar disorder, smoked pot because they were depressed and they went psychotic. Those people aren’t here today. Those people will be harmed,” said Michelle Voth, executive director of Kansas Family Partnership.

Committee Chairman Sen. Jacob LaTurner, R-Pittsburg, said that he does not know when the committee will get the chance to revisit the bill.