In Kansas, marijuana is entirely illegal and penalties for possession are exorbitant. As Benzinga recently reported, 69-year-old Greg Bretz, who was in the final stages of terminal cancer, was visited by police in his room allegedly for possessing a vaping device and edible THC paste earlier this month.
Although Greg was not arrested, he was issued a ticket from the Hays Police Department. Now, a week after the unfortunate event, the charge was dismissed, per a local news outlet.
However, Greg’s son Lee Bretz said it’s just not enough. “Well, it makes me feel good, but it still doesn’t stop the fact that you know, the damage is done to him.”
In their defense, Hays Police chief Don Scheibler said “that day, the officer emailed the city prosecutor requesting that the charge be dismissed.” Scheibler affirmed that officers “were concerned about the potential fire hazard, but more importantly, they were also concerned about how it made him feel sick.”
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The Hays Police Department and Hays Medical Center are now receiving threats. According to Scheibler, a mischaracterization of this incident as a “raid” resulted in the story spreading worldwide.
Medical Marijuana Legalization Is Needed
“Kansas really needs to legalize medical marijuana and help those who need it,” said Lee, who added that more needs to be done in Kansas to help terminally ill patients. “The chemo hadn’t been too kind to him, so he’s been exploring some other options, and it seemed to be helping him out a little bit, but that all went south when he got turned in by one of the hospital staff.”
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Scheibler said that while the conversation around medical marijuana should continue, he stressed that the officers involved were acting in accordance with state and city law.
“We shouldn’t have laws on the books that we don’t want enforcing, and if we want to be compassionate, if we want to help people, we have to address this issue in some fashion,” added Scheibler.
Kansas Legalization Efforts
Even though a special committee is preparing a medicinal marijuana legalization bill for the 2023 session, Kansas residents with terminal diseases and other conditions continue to lack access to medical cannabis.
“I think what I’m going to do is — and any member is more than welcome — is to take this information and create the bill,” Sen. Rob Olson, chair of the 2022 Special Committee on Medical Marijuana recently said.
This article originally appeared on Benzinga and has been reposted with permission.