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Wichita Lowers Penalties for Cannabis
Author: Addison Herron-Wheeler  13/06/2017 - 20:27:00

Wichita, Kansas decided to lower the penalties for some first-time cannabis offenders last week. However, they don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about their take on cannabis. 

According to the Wichita Eagle, the ordinance was approved Tuesday, June 6, by the Wichita City Council. The new ruling will make sure that first-time cannabis offenders will only have to pay a $50 fine instead of facing jail time or a heftier fee. If they are over 21, they also won’t have to undergo drug counseling. A second offense would be punishable with a $2,500 fine and up to a year in jail. However, those caught would not be arrested on the spot. They would instead be issued a summons to appear in court. 

This will not apply to those who have a felony conviction from the past five years, a Class-A misdemeanor from the past three years, a cannabis possession charge from the past three years or if there is suspicion that a felony, DUI or misdemeanor charge could be tacked on to the fine for cannabis possession.

Wichita voters elected for this change. However, while any decrease in penalties is a step forward for legalization, this is definitely a mild change, especially considering that jail time is still a possibility if one is caught with a small amount of cannabis twice. Jeff Longwell, mayor of Wichita, wants everyone to know that while penalties may be lighter, this shouldn’t be mistaken for decriminalization.

“We’re pushing the envelope about as far as we can push the envelope on this,” he said following the vote. “It’s not, at this point, in any way decriminalizing.”

While some residents may hope for more progress on the decriminalization front, this will still mean fewer people in prisons and lower fines for first offenders.

Original article from ireadculture:Wichita Lowers Penalties for Cannabis


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