October 24, 2008
Written by Mary Clarkin
Hutchinson News

GREAT BEND - Democratic Kansas House of Representatives candidate Marty Keenan, Great Bend, chastised Rep. Bill Wolf, R-Great Bend, for being the lone state legislator to oppose a bill outlawing two hallucinogenic drugs.

"These drugs are devastating to our children, sometimes even resulting in death. For the sake of our children, we cannot afford a legislator who believes that legalization will win the drug war," stated a Keenan campaign mailing that included a picture of a coffin.

This year, the Kansas Legislature passed and Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed legislation adding salvinorum A and gypsum weed, or jimsom weed, to the Kansas Controlled Substances Act.

On Friday, Wolf explained his vote by saying he had received an e-mail from John Kabus, president of the County Weed Directors Association of Kansas, requesting that the bill be voted down because of the impact on the state's noxious-weed list.

Adding gypsum weed or jimson weed to the noxious-weed list would add to county responsibilities and expenses, Kabus had pointed out. Kabus also had noted that marijuana wasn't a noxious weed, which are weeds that threaten agriculture.

"I recall the vote specifically because I really thought that I had gotten a request from the Noxious Weed Department here in Barton County, which I didn't," Wolf said.

"I felt like if they asked me not to vote for that bill, that's the reason I did it. And I was the only one who voted against it," he said.

Asked if he was surprised he was the only House member on March 27 voting no on the measure, Wolf said it was quite apparent that no one else thought the weed directors association's concern was important.

"You can assume that I was the only one that voted right," Wolf said.

"This was about the noxious weed, it was not about drugs," Wolf said, calling the Keenan mailing "a distortion" by someone "who knows how to do that."

"Quite frankly, it was ridiculous," Wolf said.

However, the vote that Wolf cast March 27 - and that Keenan targeted - was on legislation that no longer contained the offensive noxious-weed designation. That language was deleted March 26, according to the Kansas Legislative Research Department.

Wolf narrowly defeated Keenan two years ago in the 112tth House District. The Nov. 4 contest is a rematch between Wolf and Keenan.

# # #