UPDATE: Kansas AG Asks Top State Court to Void Wichita Pot Ordinance
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking the state's highest court to invalidate a new, voter-approved ordinance in Wichita lessening criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana. Schmidt filed a petition Thursday with the Kansas Supreme Court. He warned city officials last month that the ordinance would conflict with state law and said it could not be enforced. His action came a day after the city filed a lawsuit in Sedgwick County District Court, asking for a ruling on whether the ordinance is valid. Voters approved the measure Tuesday. The ordinance imposes no more than a $50 fine for first-time possession of a small amount of pot. State law deems it a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The following is a version of the Wichita ordinance story that ran earlier in the day on 04-09-15:
Opponents of Wichita's vote reducing marijuana penalties claim they're not surprised the ballot measure passed. The ordinance was approved by 54 percent of voters in Wichita. State Representative Mark Kahrs says motivated, single issue groups often prevail when voter turnout’s low and there’s no organized opposition. But he says the referendum’s illegal and has no chance of being enforced.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has said the initiative conflicts with state law. He says he will sue the city of Wichita to block enforcement of the new law, which would reduce the penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana to a $50 fine.