Kansas: Wichita Voters Approve Municipal Initiative Reducing Marijuana Possession Penalties

Voters in Wichita Kansas approved a municipal measure yesterday that seeks to reduce first-time marijuana possession penalties within the city.

Fifty four percent of local voters approved the initiative, which reduces penalties for first-time marijuana possession offenses (up to one ounce) to a civil infraction punishable by a $50.00 fine. Under state law, marijuana possession is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Despite majority support for the measure, state Attorney General Derek Schmidt has called the language unlawful and has threatened to sue the city if the provision goes into effect. The city is seeking a declaratory judgment from the courts in regard to whether they can move forward with enacting the new, voter-approved law.

25 thoughts

  1. Don’t you just absolutely love when the people’s vote only matters if its in accordance with the, in this case, the Attorney General? Voters say, ” we want this.”
    He responds by saying, “No, and your vote doesn’t matter and is useless.”

  2. Hah. That AG will learn his lesson come election time like the (politically) late John McCain did.

  3. Decrim in the heart of the beast? Yeah sure Derek, go ahead and sue. Let’s see how the State of Kansas stands up for State’s rights while they quash the the popular voting will of their most populated city.

  4. Cannabis has antioxidants and neuroprotectants and alcohol is brain destroying poison.

    Legalize Cannabis Freedom

  5. Just a perfect example of how prohibitionists will throw temper tantrums like babies when they don’t get what they want.

    Mr. Schmidt it’s time to look for a new revenue stream. The “Incarcerate all who celebrate cannabis” plan is OVER! We the people want taxing and regulation. You of all people should understand what a voting majority is. Evolve or get the hell out of the way!

  6. Decriminalization movements in the most hardlined prohibitionist Republican states is hilarious entertainment. Republi-can’ts like Gov. Greg Abbott here in my state of Texas must be sweatin over their veto-pen looking at Decriminalization measures pass through committee like they did yesterday. Congratulations to Texas NORML for organizing people for lobby day and SIGNING ATTENDANCE which is so important when you visit your state Congressman!
    Giv’m an ear full. If a staff member speaks to you, they get all the work done anyway, tell them why we need decriminalization in conservative states:

    -hemp is conservative: it uses half the water than corn or cotton while producing twice the protein and cellulosic fiber.
    -we cant survive another drought without hemp and farmers wont grow it unless we decriminalize cannabis across the board.
    -Want to create jobs without spending a dime? Decriminalize marijuana and legalize hemp.
    -build more schools, not more prisons!
    -Stop wasting our tax dollars on nonviolent marijuana offenders and do something about rape kit backlogs and dna from murder evidence that sits in an evidence room collecting dust.
    -Stop arresting the parents of epileptic children and separating families struggling with epilepsy for purchasing the only safe, non-toxic and most effective treatment for seizures available.
    -you want a more secure border without depleting domestic police investigations? Decriminalize marijuana.

    -And either he changes his ways quick or get rid of Greg Abbott: You ‘re on the wrong side of history Governor. You want more effective schools? Learn how to govern: stop filling prison quotas and meet your own education quotas!

  7. Did anyone expect something different to happen in Kansas? They will sue you for saying the world is round…LOL!

  8. This my fellow Kansans is why we need to stop supporting all of those bonehead officials who dont support our state in return. Time they had reduced pay and help with what we believe in ad a majoroty.

  9. “Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’ because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    This isn’t a Democrat or Republican issue, it’s an American one. Many, many conservatives are on board for legalization, this conservative for one! I hope supporters of legalization stop bashing the other side of their political ideology in this instance. There are a number of Democrat politicians fighting legalization as well.

  10. @Sean. Sean, what do you need is the ability to create a ballot initiative. There are only two states whose borders begin west of Louisiana that do not allow ballot initiative. They are Texas and Kansas. What happens the next time you want to change the law? You have to go back to kissing the legislators ass to get it changed. And they will ignore you for a decade again. I’m from Texas and we’re in the same crappy situation. Go to this website to learn more. http://ballotpedia.org/States_with_initiative_or_referendum

  11. @Julian. Texas needs ballot initiative to solve these types of problems. Term limits would be another venue to mitigate this problem as well. Term limits force new politicians into office, it would make them tell the public where they stand on issues. Currently, most incumbents don’t even have a debate because they do not have to. They can win reelection without debating or saying what they stand for. Check out this website for ballot initiatives… it is what every state that has marijuana of some REALISTIC sort has used to get it. http://ballotpedia.org/States_with_initiative_or_referendum

  12. Actually, the city does not have the right to ignore state law….sooooooo…..why doesn’t the AG put the vote to the state level and see what happens? You can bet he won’t suggest anything THAT democratic.

  13. Tyranny by the minority is not new to Kansas. Missouri proslavers crossed the border to vote the new territory into the union as a slave state. Burning kansas past left scars still visable today as parents holding their seizing children were greeted by state senators flanked by state patrolmen when the hearings began for SB9 and HB2011. The WSJ predicted Kansas would be the 47 state to accept cannabis, but we are the fifth to allow hidden guns without permits.

  14. State Attorney General Derek Schmidt is just your typical narrow-minded fool. History will show people like him to be nothing more…

    While visiting Jamaica President Obama said legalizing marijuana is not a “silver bullet” and said doing so would raise questions about where the line is drawn between pot and other drugs”.

    Well, I have a suggestion, how about being honest for a change about the relative dangers of the various drugs that are on the controlled substances list! Legalize those that are relatively safe and keep the dangerous ones illegal. How hard is it to figure that out???

    Cannabis is an extremely safe drug and should be treated as such! It does not make any sense to continue to enforce idiotic draconian laws that do a great deal more harm than good Mr. President.

    Why, in God’s name, is it so hard for politicians to figure out that allowing someone to enjoy their ganga, or to use it as a form of medication, is better than locking them up in a prison??? What the hell is wrong with America’s leaders?

    If President Obama does not do more to end this disfunctional policy before he leaves office, I will remember him as being just another politician and that his “Yes We Can” mantra was just contrived garbage!

    As a 60 year old man who has used cannabis since age 15 and has had a successful life (because I haven’t been arrested for it) I can say with certainty that it should be legal for adults. It is just beyond stupid that alcohol, which is so much more harmful, is so readily available and practically celebrated in our culture.

  15. @Mark I., practice drawing (and posting) this poster/leaflet/jpgfile: rieferlief rising toward top, at bottom a pistol broken in two, slogan: “Ban Guns– Not Ganja!” (Or alternatively, “Ban Guns, Breathe Ganja!”)

    Re Derek Schmidt–

    (1) a googlation of his name + “tobacco cigarette” etc. shows while he is not a fan of nico$moking he is eager to make sure Kansas collects the Taxes from it! Hey why not cannabis taxes then? Oh yes, dammit, maybe cannabis adepts are more clever than $igaddicts about finding non-tax alternative sources for herb? Lotta bellyaching in the news lately about Colorado not collecting enough herb tax money?

    (2) Guess what, we have a Derek– go to clear-uk.org daily and read the cannabis-related news articles Derek Williams has collected from around the globe!

    Re-read @Julian’s points (Apr9) about conservative hemp! Maybe we can pry Aynrand Paul out of that pro-tobaccopublican party and get him to run on a Hemp Conservative ticket? Just wonderin.

  16. @Don M, re: much more dangerous alcohol, try this poster– at top, a rieferlief rising, at bottom a broken bottle with puddle of liquid, slogan: “Start Work, Not Fights!”

  17. “What the hell is wrong with America’s leaders?”

    I have been studying this very issue for the last couple of years. Mainly, it is people emulating Marxism in really bad ways. The idea you can group people by race (or any other grouping based on physical features that people have no control over) like you can workers vs. capitalists (which are roles people choose), we aren’t going to be able to make sense of what follows: Jailing marijuana users because some of them commit crime (like don’t members of every other group also commit crimes??? Including the Police??? But no, lets single out marijuana users for no good fucking reason.)

    The problem is Politicians believe in these wack-job, dysfunctional way of thinking. If you don’t sound like a Marxist, they don’t actually understand the words you’ve communicated to them–they literally communicate on a different level than normal people.

    Hillary Clinton always mentions that she is a Feminist. Okay, so am I. But that is left over from our childhoods when women were still considered to have fewer rights than men. Things have changed, but Hillary doesn’t seem to have noticed. And she really should have as she is older than me. She has personally witnessed more positive change for women than I have! Yet she is still living in her Marxist Fantasy.

    American doesn’t need feminism: China, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, pretty much any Muslim Country and Thailand need feminism because those are still the places where women are treated like second class citizens, get beat up, denied rights, be aborted because you’re not male, and every time a women is raped it is her fault, so says the government and all its agents.

  18. Why do most of you here find the need to call out all Republicans as the problem? I have worked longer than some of you have been alive, for legalization. And yes I am a conservative Republican, This is an American problem, some of you talk just like the very ones in Washington that cause grid lock.

  19. @anonymous:
    Good pointing out that there are Republican conservatives out there supporting legalization, however fractured, such as Mitch McConnel supporting hemp but not marijuana. My post was meant less to “bash” conservatives and more to appeal to a conservative ideology in states likeTexas and Kansas where legalization faces the delay and lack of voter initiatives. Keep in mind, my Republican, conservative Senator Cornyn continues to reply in his letters that he stands by the 2001 Supreme Court ruling that states that “marijuana is not medicine.” So you will have to forgive my frustrating stereotypes as I try to work with my “conservative” historically and scientifically innaccurate colleagues. This is why Judge Mueller’s pending decision Apr.15th is so important.
    Also, we have the additional Republican vote toss of Libertarians that keep introducing hopeless legislation that has no chance of making it to committee just to pull Democratic votes away from Decrim or medical marijuana laws that have a decent chance to get through, like HB 507 which Texans can support by visiting TexasNorml.org and calling committee members who are reviewing a decriminalization bill right now. For Texas, that ‘s an historical achievement. Much respect due to Democratic Representative Moody from El Paso for introducing the bill. But there are Republican prohibitionists on the committee such as David Simpson, who we should focus on (after thanking Moody). These “hardline prohibitionists” need to hear from us voters as to why marijuana prohibition is depleting domestic police investigations from real crime, endangering the public and law enforcement alike, promoting organized crime and political corruption.
    Take note of the irony that the representative you are speaking to may very well be one of those corrupted officials. But call them out. Be their conscience if they drowned their own.
    And yes, John, in the long term, lets get voter initiatives in every state.

  20. What if Science proves: “Hemp derived CBD is more effective than Marijuana derived CBD: any one can purchase Hemp derived CBD Oil USA!

  21. Just a thought. Interstate commerce is supposed to be regulated by the federal government in Article 1. The 10 Amendment states that government powers are to belong to one arm of the government only. So wouldn’t state regulations of marijuana be void if the marijuana in question crossed state lines?

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