Kansas Senate approves bill to lessen marijuana penalties

Marijuana (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

TOPEKA, Kansas (AP) – The Kansas Senate has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would lessen penalties for first and second-time marijuana possession.

The vote Wednesday was 38-1.

The measure would reduce the punishment for first-time misdemeanor possession to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, rather than the current year in jail and $2,500 fine. A second possession conviction would no longer be a felony, so an offender wouldn’t be sent to prison.

The measure goes next to the House, which passed a similar proposal last year.

The lone vote against the bill came from Democratic Sen. David Haley, of Kansas City.

He proposed imposing only a $50 fine for the first, second and third time a person is caught possessing small amounts of marijuana. The Senate voted 31-5 against Haley’s amendment.

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