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Yet a new barrier may have reared its head last week in an unlikely state: Kansas.
Kansas isn’t one of the 23 states that have legalized medical marijuana, nor is it one of the 19 that have decriminalized marijuana, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). Decriminalizing marijuana doesn’t make it legal, but it’s often viewed as one step toward eventual legalization, as it reduces the penalties for possessing small quantities of the drug, and often removes the possibility of possessors facing jail time.
Nonetheless, residents in Kansas’ largest city, Wichita, passed their own ordinance in April 2015 that eased the penalties associated with first-time marijuana possession and paraphernalia offenses. The proposal essentially made a first-time offense of possessing less than 32 grams of marijuana punishable by a $50 fine. Current state law in Kansas allows for fines of up to $2,500 and up to one year in jail for a first-time offense of the same nature. Overall, there were 20,075 “yes” votes (54%) in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana within Wichita.
But it appears that vote won’t matter. Last week, the Kansas Supreme Court voted 7-0 to overrule the Wichita ordinance on account of filing and disclosure rules that were never met. The Kansas Supreme Court advised Wichita that it was required to follow certain protocols to ensure that residents of Wichita fully understood what they were voting for in April. Because that criteria wasn’t met, the highest court in Kansas is voiding the ordinance.
The Opinion: http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/SupCt/2016/20160122/113528.pdf