KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Five states had recreational marijuana on the ballot Tuesday. Missouri and Maryland voted “yes,” while Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota voted “no.”

The Missouri margin was 53 to 47%. Missouri already had medical marijuana in place as of 2018.

So, will that put the pressure on the Sunflower State to legalize medicinal marijuana? Some hope so, including lawmakers like State Senator Cindy Holscher, a Democrat representing Overland Park.

“We are past time to get this done,” she said.

Holscher serves on the Fed and State Committee in the Kansas Legislature, which is working on a medical marijuana bill right now ahead of the upcoming legislative session, which convenes January 9, 2023.

“We made progress last session,” she said. “A bill passed the House, came over to the Senate, but that bill was not picked up on and worked.”

That bipartisan bill passed 79 to 42. It was the first time a bill regarding marijuana had ever made it to the Kansas House floor.

“The biggest hurdle right now is getting a bill created,” said Amy Reid with the Kansas Cannabis Coalition, a nonprofit officially created a year-and-a-half ago to advance cannabis reform in Kansas.

Reid said the group is getting support from “super conservative legislators” who in years past had been against legalizing medical marijuana.

She’s confident the 2023 legislative session will be different because of pressure from surrounding states.

“The biggest hurdle is coming in agreement with everyone, coming into agreement where we know a bill will pass our very conservative state yet provide access to as many patients as possible,” she said.

“It feels like there’s more pressure on us to do something. The fact that we are one of just a few states that don’t have a medicinal cannabis plan is quite alarming to people,” Holscher added.

Many Kansans are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. A Fox 4/Emerson College poll found that 61% of Kansas are in favor of it, something that did not surprise Holscher.

She said she’s had a few meetings with lawmakers on the Fed and State Committee regarding a medical marijuana bill. They plan to hold another one next week to discuss what needs to be in it so that both Republicans and Democrats are happy with it.

She’s hopeful the bill can be introduced next year but can’t guarantee it will.

Democratic Kansas Governor Laura Kelly has previously said she’d support legalizing medical marijuana.

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