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Government

KS Attorney General Derek Schmidt Issues Opinion On Wichita Marijuana Initiative

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MendezEnrique, flickr Creative Commons
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Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt issued an opinion challenging the validity of Wichita's proposed marijuana initiative. KMUW’s Abigail Wilson has more…

The 13-page document from Schmidt says the proposed ordinance, which would lower penalties for adults in possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, conflicts with state statutes. If a public vote to adopt the change were to take place on Election Day, Schmidt wrote that it would “have no legal force or effect.”

Wichita’s current laws for possession of marijuana, or of paraphernalia related to the drug, are parallel to crimes and penalties for the state. Schmidt’s letter says that if a city ordinance provides a standard below the minimum set by the state, which the proposed Wichita ordinance does, the action is in conflict with state law and is invalid.

Interim City Attorney Sharon Dickgrafe says that because there is only a limited time to resolve the issue, the referendum question will stay on the ballot. If voters should approve the question, the City Council will weigh all of its options before taking action on the proposed ordinance.

For Derek Schmidt's full statement, see the document below:

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Follow Abigail Wilson on Twitter, @AbigailKMUW