Kansas Woman Forced to Move for Medical Cannabis

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by Dan Larkin.

Dawn Murrell is a Kansas woman who has been forced to move for medical cannabis. And this is not a move she took lightly. You see, she had lived in Kansas for over 40 years. It’s home. Or, at least it was until now.

Murrell is a mother and a grandmother. Oh, and maybe most important of all, she’s a Jayhawks fan. That’s something that will never change.

Why does this Kansas woman need medical cannabis?

But, Murrell suffers from excruciating back pain. Pain so bad that doctors limit her to 20 minutes of walking, sitting, or driving at a time. The pain is from a back injury she suffered in the ’90s.

Dawn Murrell has metal rods inserted to stabilize her spine. Source: kctv5.com

Since then, she’s undergone 6 surgeries. That includes one surgery where they opened her up from the front and back and inserted metal rods to stabilize her spine.

Her doctors were quick to get her on pain meds. Prescribing fentanyl, morphine, and oxycodone. 

Dawn Murrell is worried about taking fentanyl to help ease her back pain. Source: kctv5.com

“They had me on 2,000 micrograms of fentanyl for about three years,”

Dawn Murrell

While Murrell has been weaning herself off of the fentanyl, she still takes it daily. Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin. 50 times. Let that sink in. Oh, and while we’re comparing, it’s also 100 times more potent than morphine. So, now you see why opioids are so dangerous.

Graphic courtesy of kctv5.com

Murrell was legitimately worried about the toll these opioids were having on her body. She started researching alternatives. It soon became clear that lots of people were finding relief and getting off their meds by switching to cannabis.

Could this Kansas woman access medical cannabis?

She began to experiment with CBD and cannabis to see if it would help her too. It did. In fact, she was able to reduce her meds by nearly half.

But, there was a problem. Murrell lived in Kansas. It’s a state with no legal cannabis program. Not medical nor adult use. Yes, CBD is now legal in Kansas, but only if it contains 0% THC.

Take a look at Kansas on a map:

Kansas is virtually surrounded by states with cannabis programs. Source: kctv5.com

You can see that it is virtually surrounded by states with legal cannabis programs. Colorado has full legal adult-use while Oklahoma (and soon, Missouri) have medical programs. Only Nebraska has similar prohibitions to Kansas.

What could she do?

So, Murrell did what many Americans who need access to cannabis are doing. She moved to a state that will allow her to treat her pain naturally. For her, that meant moving to Missouri where she will soon have access to legal medical cannabis. (Recreational marijuana is illegal — but decriminalized — while medical marijuana is legal for qualifying patients. )

For Dawn Murrell, her move has improved her quality of life. But for others, they don’t have the option to move. We can do better.

Dawn Murrell walks her dog in her new neighborhood in Missouri. Source: kctv5.com

Now for Murrell, the move out of state actually meant a one mile move into Missouri. But it still meant uprooting her life and leaving her neighbors and home behind after 40 years. All because she wants to have the legal right to treat her pain with cannabis. But for thousands of others, it has meant moving themselves, their children, and their families. It’s meant giving up jobs and income and homes. Certainly we can do better by these people.


It’s time to legalize adult-use cannabis on a federal level. Let’s do it and end the prohibition on a plant that helps so many people in so many ways. Keep talking to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers when you can. But most importantly, talk to your elected representatives. Make sure they know where you stand. Share your personal experiences if you can. We can make this happen.

Read more from CannabisIRL about cannabis legalization here.

Original reporting from KCTV5 here.

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