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Medical marijuana from Colorado illegal in Kansas, court rules: More fuel for profiling?

Categories: Marijuana

Several of our posts about alleged profiling of cars from Colorado due to the state's marijuana laws have focused on Kansas. One involved Westword contributor Britt Chester, who was rousted there during a cross-country trip -- and another featured a Kansas attorney who encouraged Coloradans to ditch their weed before driving over the border.

One more incentive to do so? A court ruling establishing that Colorado medical marijuana remains illegal in Kansas. Details and the complete ruling below.

The case, heard by the Kansas Court of Appeals, which released its ruling on Friday, is officially entitled State of Kansas v. Troy James Cooper.

The decision was written by Judge G. Gordon Atcheson. Here's how he synopsizes the facts of the case:

As a resident of Colorado, Cooper lawfully obtained medical marijuana there. Cooper came to Kansas with his medical marijuana and intended to stay here for several weeks visiting family and friends before returning to Colorado. A law enforcement officer stopped Cooper in Ellsworth County and found him to have the prescribed medical marijuana. The State charged Cooper with simple possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor.... The district court acquitted Cooper on the grounds the prosecution contravened protections afforded him under the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and impermissibly interfered with his constitutional right to interstate travel.
g gordon atcheson.jpg
Judge G. Gordon Atcheson.
The Kansas Attorney General appealed this ruling, presenting the Court of Appeals with a question stated thusly by Atcheson: "Does the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment preclude Kansas from enforcing its statutes criminalizing the possession of marijuana against a Colorado resident in this state with marijuana lawfully obtained under the laws of that state?"

In his view, the answer to this question "must be in the negative."

Atcheson acknowledges that "legalized medical marijuana is becoming more prevalent" not only in Colorado but elsewhere, pointing out that "according to one clearinghouse, eighteen states and the District of Columbia have authorized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.... As more states permit the use of medical marijuana, more people may be traveling through Kansas with their medication."

After weighing rulings in previous rulings seen as related to this one, the court determines that "the Privilege or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment does not bar the enforcement of Kansas criminal statutes prohibiting possession of marijuana against someone traveling through or staying temporarily in this state even though the individual possesses the marijuana in conformity with another state's law allowing its use and possession for medical purposes. In those circumstances, the right to lawfully possess the marijuana rests on state law and, therefore, is outside the scope of the Clause."

In his opinion, Atcheson stresses that the ruling is "a narrow one had has nothing to say about other constitutional grounds that might bar such prosecution," adding, "We...express no opinion on other constitutional rights or protections that conceivably might afford a defense to a person prosecuted under the Kansas Criminal Code for possessing marijuana obtained legally through another state's laws permitting its use as medication."

In other words, the court doesn't preclude the possibility of another argument against such an arrest being upheld. But the judges didn't buy this one.

Continue for more about Colorado medical marijuana in Kansas, including the court's ruling.


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68 comments
NotWorthIt
NotWorthIt

Why don't you guys ignore the Donkey? He clearly gets off on your replies to him. If everyone ignores his inane commentary he WILL go away. Please, please, please stop engaging him. It doesn't matter what he says or thinks. He's a nobody who clearly has absolutely zero life outside of internet boards. So let him whither by ignoring him and the rest of the folks can engage in actual discussion. This fool is not worth your time and energy. 

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Yet Kansas' stupidity remains welcome .

See Denver Post subscribers .....

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Hmm...how about the civil rights acts? If people can be forced to carry people in wheelchairs up stairs to get to running tracks in gyms, simply because someone in government granted them a disability, how can a state deprive anyone of legally obtained medicine? 

Contract clause anyone? Someone who's gay and married in California can go to Nebraska and still be married.Maybe that's privileges or immunities too. I look forward to more creative challenges.

The obvious objection here is federal law, and it's a good one. Let's say first that cannabis indica may not be "marihuana," and secondly, the question would still stand if "marihuana" was removed from the DEA schedule (or put in a prescription category.) If so, I think states could probably be pressured to accept it as prescription medication. Obviously, the federal issue screws it all up, which is why some conscientious federal representatives are trying to work out some cooperation with the DEA.

As a patient, with a legitimate condition diagnosed by a neural surgeon, it's more than dismaying that my medicine is contraband in most places to which I may be required to travel, and there should be protection from that, even if it requires some cooperation.

All that said, in the long term, I support people's natural right to put whatever they wish into their bodies, and to be responsible for their actions when doing so.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

For anyone worried about taking your medicine with you on US trips, I recommend using FedEx to ship a tiny amount to wherever you're staying. Yes, it's a little sketchy, but they don't search their packages, and it's better than going days or weeks even without the relief you may be seeking. Just be cautious, pack it well, and you should be fine. It's not an option for everyone, but at least there is an option on the table that might help.

Ed Haas
Ed Haas

We're not in Kansas anymore.......for a fucking reason.

Suni Daze
Suni Daze

i HATE Kansas !! It takes like 11 hrs to get thru that God forsaken state. Extend your trip and go around Kansas wherever your going .

Alicia Patches Schuster
Alicia Patches Schuster

I';m driving to cali in april..... pretty scared. Not going to bring anything but scared about getting harassed. I shouldn't be afraid to drive where I need to because where I am from. This is crap

kadargo
kadargo

Why is this news?  This has always been the case.  A COLORADO MMJ card only protects the patient from within COLORADO.  This has been the case for about 13 years now. WTF?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@NotWorthIt "Why don't you guys ignore the Donkey?"

1) that'd be too easy

or

2) they lack the willpower and self control


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident "If people can be forced to carry people in wheelchairs up stairs to get to running tracks in gyms, simply because someone in government granted them a disability,"

Spoken like the mentally unbalanced Glenn Beck listening Liberkookian fool that you are.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Suni Daze ... so you prefer North Kansas a.k.a Nebraska ?

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Suni Daze That's kinda hard for people traveling from eastern Colorado to mid-Missouri. Kansas is what's between. Then again, I've found Missouri law enforcement to be much more unfriendly anyway.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Alicia Patches Schuster"I shouldn't be afraid ..."

It's hard to not be afraid when fear drives and defines your life.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Alicia Patches Schuster You certainly shouldn't. In fact, I suspect stopping people for the state whence the vehicle comes is fertile ground for a big fat civil rights suit. We've seen that cops aren't afraid to say they stopped people because they're from Colorado. That, in itself, is the kind of behavior which prompted the interstate trade clause (ironically--not because interstate trade needed to be interfered with, but protected.)

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Joe Ponce de Carrano ... they won't miss you.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@kadargo ... yet, after 13 years, CRIMINAL cases like this prove that you can take the Stoner out of Colorado, but you can't take the STUPID out of the Stoner.


orson
orson

@DonkeyHotay 

Your fight is a noble one DH but, no matter how many windmills you conquer, it will not get you dulcinea.

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay @NotWorthIt What we lack, for the moment, is an address to find you at and beat the living shit out of you. 

Time brings all things, though.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident Spoken like a thoughtless troll. I haven't listened to a word Glenn Beck has to say since the first twenty minutes I gave it a shot. Your confusion about libertarianism may be related to your mistaken idea (not to mention his) that he's libertarian.

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay It's hard to not be a troll when anger and stupidity drive and define your life.

BEEF
BEEF

@DonkeyHotay 

 "It's had [SIC] to not be afraid when fear drives and defines your life."

YOU FUCKING FAIL.

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay And you can take the whiny pussy Jackass troll out of Colorado, but you can't take the whiny pussy out of the Jackass troll.

orson
orson

@DonkeyHotay

I've grown tired of battling windmills (that means YOU stupid stoners).  It's time for me to return to la mancha.  Adios.

orson
orson

@DonkeyHotay

Women of that nature are just more windmills.   HTH

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@orson

Es natural condición de las mujeres desdeñar a quien las quiere y amar a quien las aborrece.

stuka1
stuka1

@DonkeyHotay Keep talking like you were tough from behind that computer screen, punk-ass bitch.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... BEEF quoted the original, with a super-rare typo.

Better save and archive it, something that rare will one day be a collector item.

stuka1
stuka1

@Cognitive_Dissident He's hiding the TYPO he made, since he makes a big deal about everyone else's, as if making typos (especially with this shit blog software) somehow made one stupid.

What a pathetic loser.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay So, what did you hide when you deleted your post, hypocrite? I fully disclosed why I deleted one post here, and did so before you called me on it.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@BEEF ... read that in a  Bostonian accent.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... if the Government decides to grant them.

A64 proves -- incontrovertibly -- that supplicant citizens won't dare demand rights for themselves.


Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @Cognitive_Dissident Governments don't have rights. People have rights!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident ... so you DON'T believe in "state's rights" and concede that Federal Law reigns supreme within the United States themselves, eh?

stuka1
stuka1

@Cognitive_Dissident 

"You're really good at quoting me for things I never said." 

 That's 90% of what the Jackass DOES, is distort and misrepresent what other say, and outright lie. 

 

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

When have I ever stated, or even implied, that states even have rights? Show me. You're really good at quoting me for things I never said.

HipTip: individual rights are nearly fully "incorporated" and soon will be fully incorporated in the rights afforded against states according to the United States Constitution and the United States Supreme Court. Amongst these incorporated rights are patients' rights. You don't have to like it. You have to suck it.

Further, you once again fail to recognize that patient ≠ stoner.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident

HipTip: there is no right to violate the laws of Kansas while in Kansas.

Or do you now -- in another one of your convenient hypocrisies -- suddenly NOT believe in the "States Rights" you're always blathering about ?

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