The Kansas Marijuana Best Practices, Bellwether, and Content Analysis Report
Given the likelihood of medical and adult-use/recreational marijuana legalization in Kansas within the next few years, Safe Streets Wichita realized the importance of preparing its coalition members, other substance use prevention coalitions, policymakers, and other stakeholders on how to proactively adapt and respond should marijuana be legalized in Kansas. Former coalition chair Angela Scott advocated for the creation of a report documenting best practices in cannabis policy, specifically on how to mitigate cannabis-related harms. To that end, Safe Streets Wichita partnered up with the Community Engagement Institute's Center for Applied Research and Evaluation (CARE) to write The Kansas Marijuana Best Practices, Bellwether, and Content Analysis Report. There were three parts to this report on cannabis policy reform in Kansas:
A literature review on how other states have responded to/prepared for marijuana legalization and the applications of alcohol and tobacco policy to cannabis policy. This literature review found that Kansas should prioritize public health rather than a business/market-oriented approach to marijuana legalization. Under this public health approach, Kansas should adequately regulate the cannabis industry, ensure the safety of cannabis products, emphasize prevention and education efforts, and closely monitor and evaluate the effects of marijuana legalization.
Bellwether interviews with seven leaders across Kansas to gauge their opinions and recommendations toward marijuana legalization. The interviews were conducted with proponents and opponents of marijuana legalization alike. Nevertheless, all interviewees believed marijuana legalization in Kansas was inevitable, that substance-related harms (specifically the opioid epidemic) continue to be a major issue in Kansas, and that there is a major need for behavioral health services.
A qualitative analysis (specifically content analysis) of legislative testimony regarding the Kansas Senate Bill 560 (SB 560), otherwise known as the Kansas Medical Marijuana Regulation Act. Through this content analysis, Safe Streets Wichita and CARE explored the positions and recommendations of proponents, neutral stakeholders, and opponents toward medical marijuana legalization. Proponents were predominantly private citizens and cannabis interest groups. Neutral stakeholders were predominantly state government entities. And opponents were predominantly law enforcement organizations.
Authors: Tara Gregory, Ngoc Vuong, Alexi Fernandez, and Jasper Thi.
Contact information: Inquiries can be directed to CARE Director Dr. Tara Gregory (email@example.com) or former Safe Streets Wichita staff member and current CARE Research Associate Ngoc Vuong (firstname.lastname@example.org).