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Wichita Voters Will Decide Marijuana Decriminalization

Voters Will Decide on Stopping Cannabis Arrests in Kansas’ Biggest City

Wichita_Kansas_sealOrganizers delivered almost 3,000 valid petition signatures on a measure to reduce marijuana penalties in Wichita, Kansas. This week the city council certified the measure in a 6-1 vote that will send the issue to the public.

The ballot initiative will be considered on April 7, 2015.

Current laws for simple possession include penalties of up to 1 year in jail and a $2,500 fine. If enacted the new measure would create a fine of $50 for those over 21 years old caught with less than 32 grams of cannabis.

There would be no custodial arrest. Instead tickets would be issued. Offenders would also have their records automatically expunged if they remained out of trouble for a year.

The ballot question that voters will see will read as follows:

Shall the following be adopted?

An ordinance reducing the penalty for first offense conviction for possession of thirty-two (32) grams or less of cannabis sativa l, otherwise known as marijuana, and/or drug paraphernalia related thereto, by persons twenty-one (21) years of age or older, to an infraction with a fine not to exceed fifty dollars ($50.00).

Some city officials wondered if they could implement the new policy if voters approve the question or if it would conflict with state law. However many cities around the country, most notably Philadelphia, have created similar ticketing ordinances for marijuana without any conflict.