UPDATE - the Kansas House voted 123-0 in favor of the bill. It still needs Senate approval.
The Kansas House has given first-round approval to a bill lowering penalties for possession of drug paraphernalia. Republican Representative Blaine Finch says lawmakers lowered penalties for first-time marijuana possession last year, but didn’t lower penalties for paraphernalia.
The discrepancy means people could face harsher sentences for possession of a pipe than for possession of marijuana.
"It does keep it a crime. There is a potential jail sentence. It just makes it proportional with the possession of the underlying drug,” says Finch.
Under the bill, first-time possession of marijuana or paraphernalia would be a class B misdemeanor, with penalties of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The bill would also increase penalties for some types of home burglaries and strengthen the state’s domestic battery laws.