WICHITA, Kansas – Voters in Wichita went to the polls on Tuesday and approved easing penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. The final results came in at 9:15 p.m.
YES …… 20075 / 54%
NO …… 17091 / 45%
Precinct Reported 0153, Eligible Precinct 0153
The proposed ordinance does not legalize marijuana. It makes first-time possession a criminal infraction with a $50 fine. Under state law, it is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail.
Voters want to send the Legislature a message.
“Do something about changing these laws on the state level, whether it’s just reducing penalties, going ahead and getting a medical marijuana bill passed. Something so that we can move forward, and actually regulate these things and not be putting people in a cage for simple possession,” said Esau Freeman, Wichita Marijuana Reform.
Opponents contended the city has no legal authority to adopt an ordinance that conflicts with state law.
“Depends on what the city does with it now. It’s up to the city to decide how they’re going to handle it. It’s their deal, they should have never had put it on the ballot to start with, and again according to the Attorney General’s opinion, the whole initiative and referendum was done improperly or illegally,” said Rep. Steve Brunk, District 85.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has said he would sue the city if it passes. The initiative says they’re starting to raise money in case the state sues.
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