"Newer, greener methods of burial, like promession, may help conserve resources and less pollution into the air or ground," Zack Pistora, legislative director of the Kansas Sierra Club, said. "Why not rest in peace with peace of mind?"
Schmidt cautioned that a decision on whether promession is permissible under other state laws falls to the Kansas Board of Mortuary Arts. The board's executive secretary didn't respond to a request for comment.
Caldwell said Kansas is the first state where she has sought a formal legal opinion because of what she views as the state's relatively lax cremation laws. For example, Kansas doesn't require fire to be used in cremation. That's a helpful distinction because promession freezes bodies instead of burning them.
Caldwell asked her state representative, Overland Park Democrat Dave Benson, to seek the attorney general's opinion. Benson said Friday he wasn't surprised by Schmidt's conclusions because in his experience, attorneys general are hesitant to provide new interpretations of law.
Benson suggested he may draft a bill to authorize promession because of interest in alternatives to traditional burial or cremation, and because he's taken "a little bit of a libertarian" view.
"If that's what you want, hey, where's the government's interest in telling you not to?" Benson said.
Promession has gained attention over the past decade, often when news outlets mention it as an alternative to traditional burial or cremation, said its creator, Swedish biologist Susanne Wiigh-Masak.
"This is going to revolutionise the cremation industry," Wiigh-Masak told WIRED UK in 2013.
Caldwell said she's optimistic it could be used on a human body in the United States within five years. Promessa hears from people all over the world who want to undergo the procedure when they die, she said.
Still, it's likely to take a long time to turn promession into a reality.
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