Growing issue: Forum to explore KS marijuana laws

The products in Jan Morton’s store, Essential Oils, are legal in all 50 states, thanks to the 2014 Farm Bill that distinguished “hemp” from “cannabis.” But should Kansas go further, as 30 other states have, and make at least some forms of marijuana legal?  The question of whether or not Kansas should legalize marijuana will be discussed Monday evening at a free public forum at the Best Western Courtyard, 2920 10th St.
“Grow the Economy – Should Kansas Legalize?” will start at 5 p.m. Admission is free but only individuals 18 years of age and older will be admitted. Morton recommends that people come early because attendance will be limited to 250 people.

Three experts in the cannabis industry will speak about the laws, hemp farming and other issues. That will be followed by a drawing for a gift basket, and then Kansas gubernatorial candidates have been invited to speak. So far, only Libertarian Party candidate Jeff Caldwell has committed to attend, Morton said. Democratic Party candidate Laura Kelly is already scheduled for another speaking engagement. Morton has had no response from Republican Jeff Colyer or Independent Greg Orman, but Republican candidate Kris Kobach has shown some interest. Whether or not he attends will depend, in part, on the outcome of the Republican primary.

Featured speakers will be:
• Lynn Honderd, co-founder and chief executive officer of Mary’s Medicinals, Mary’s Nutritionals and Mary’s Whole Pet Products.
“Honderd’s distinguished expertise, outstanding industry success and passion for transforming how people view and utilize cannabis has made her a highly sought after speaker and media expert,” Morton said. Her nutritional supplement lines are enriched with cannabidiol (CBD) and other plant-based nutrients that deliver effective, accurately dosed pain relief, the manufacturer claims.

• Barry Grissom, former U.S. Attorney for the State of Kansas (2010-2016). He founded the Kansas Civil Rights Symposium and the District’s first Human Trafficking Working Group. He also established the District’s first criminal prosecutor position assigned to carry out the Justice Department’s Smart on Crime Initiative. Objectives included reducing penalties for low-level, non-violent drug offenders, as well as pursuing new and innovative ways to promote public safety.
Since leaving the Department of Justice, Grissom has focused his efforts on Criminal Justice Reform. As part of that effort, he has written and spoken on the necessity of changing laws that relate to cannabis prohibition.

• John Bolsenga, consultant and cannabis agriculturist. He is the owner of Elevated Hemp (
A native of the Kansas City area, Bolsenga worked in the medical field as an engineer for Toshiba, specializing in CT equipment. He and his wife moved to Colorado for the benefits of legal cannabis.

Essential Oils
Before opening Essential Oils in Great Bend in 2016, Morton consulted with her attorney and with Great Bend City Attorney Robert Suelter, making sure local law enforcement understood her CBD products are legal. They contain virtually no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of the marijuana plant.
Morton likens CBDs to supplements available over the counter for a variety of uses.

“It sure has helped people,” she said. She was a nurse in Hoisington for 12 years and later found the products helpful with her own chronic pain. “I spent years chasing fixes with pills” before finding a natural alternative, she said.
Legal marijuana in states such as Colorado is helping even more people, she said, but Morton believes the relief shouldn’t depend on what zip code you live it. “We’ve got to offer this to people in central Kansas.”


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