KANSAS — On November 8th, voters in Missouri passed Amendment 3, essentially giving recreational cannabis the green light in the Show-Me-State. But, after Missouri marijuana laws go into effect on December 8, 2022, will legal weed in Missouri create complications for the Sunflower State, where recreational marijuana is illegal?

Since cannabis is illegal in Kansas (and federally), it is illegal to bring cannabis into the landlocked state of Missouri (or anywhere else). And a Missouri medical marijuana card won’t help your case if Kansas law enforcement catches you with cannabis. Possession of any amount of marijuana in the state could be punishable by six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Kansas law enforcement officials say they will arrest impaired or high drivers, but they don’t plan on waiting to stop people for cannabis once they cross the state line. This may not be the standard for all law enforcement in Kansas. Police officers in Johnson County, which has one of the largest city’s in the state (Overland Park), say they do not expect the impending new law in Missouri to change much about their operations.

The Marijuana Debate In Kansas

Legalizing cannabis for medical use was on the mind of Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe when recently asked about the possible impacts of Missouri voters’ approval of adult use of recreational marijuana.

Howe and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office both oppose legalization. But with Kansas one of only three states that haven’t legalized some form of marijuana use (Nebraska and Idaho are the others), pressure is on for some change in Kansas state law.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said she favors medical marijuana, and legislative hearings were already held in October 2022.

During testimony last month before a special committee, Greg Smith, a former Kansas state senator, represented the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office in opposing marijuana legalization.

He presented a list of negative effects it could have, including the potential for more car accidents and the expense of replacing dogs used in K-9 operations trained to sniff out marijuana. However, there are several legislators in the state house that believe a bill legalizing medical marijuana would pass.

Proponents say compounds in marijuana plants promise to treat pain, glaucoma, seizures, and nausea from cancer treatments. But until recently, it hadn’t been explored much as medicine because of its illegality.