Kansas Senator Supports State Rights for Pot, Opponent Attacks Fed System


Senator Pat Roberts and opponent Greg Orman at a debate this weekend.

For years, marijuana advocates have warned folks from Colorado to think twice before taking cannabis over the state line to Kansas, which has some of the toughest weed-related penalties in the country and has been repeatedly accused of pot profiling. So it’s something of a surprise to discover that the two candidates in a suddenly competitive Kansas senatorial race — incumbent Pat Roberts and independent upstart Greg Orman — both have problems with federal marijuana policies.

After surviving a primary challenge from a Tea Party candidate, Roberts (no relation) seemed destined to cruise to reelection owing to Kansas’ ultra-conservative electorate. But then came a surprise. Democratic challenger Chad Taylor dropped out of what had been a three-way race between him, Roberts and Orman — and polling suggested that Orman actually has a chance to beat Roberts in a head-to-head contest.
In reporting about this development last week, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow argued that a Roberts loss had the potential of keeping the U.S. Senate under Democratic control, since Orman was likely to caucus with the Dems. And while the situation got considerably muddier a day later, when the Kansas Secretary of State refused to remove Taylor’s name from the ballot due to a technicality that just happens to benefit Roberts, whom he supports, Orman remains a viable candidate. Prior to Taylor’s withdrawal, Roberts had hardly been campaigning — but this weekend, he faced off against Orman in a debate at the Kansas State Fair.
More at The Latest Word blog.