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Wichita Voters To Decide Marijuana Decriminalization Issue

A proposal to reduce penalties for marijuana possession will be on the ballot for Wichita in the April election.

KMUW’s Deborah Shaar reports.

The ordinance that the City Council considered Tuesday would make marijuana possession a criminal infraction with a $50 fine for adults charged with a first-time offense.

Under current city and state laws, that crime carries a penalty of one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

The Marijuana Reform Initiative submitted the petition with enough valid signature to bring the issue before City Council.

Group representative Bonita Gooch was one of the 10 people who spoke in support of the ordnance at the city council meeting. Gooch says the change is needed because the current sentencing is too harsh.

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Credit wichita.gov

“We are ruining the lives of our citizens, we are destroying families, and we are costing taxpayers money,” she says.   

Council member Janet Miller says because the group’s petition was certified, the best option was to put the issue to a city-wide vote.

But she says even if the ordinance passes, there will still be legal issues.

“If the state strikes it down, it simply will not be adopted here,” she says.

Miller says either way the vote goes, it will send a message to lawmakers in Topeka.

The Question That Will Appear On The April Ballot:

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Credit wichita.gov

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