Wichita Mulls a More Mellow Approach to Marijuana

A proposal to reduce penalties for first-time marijuana possession has been deferred for two weeks by the Wichita City Council as the city explores whether it can be made more lenient for violators than originally suggested.

The proposed ordinance would fulfill part of what city voters tried to do through the initiative process two years ago when they voted to cut the penalty for pot possession to $50.

The state Supreme Court overturned that initiative on a technicality related to the signature-gathering process that put it on the ballot. Proponents are now collecting signatures to try to put it on the ballot again, but have said they will drop that effort if the council adopts a suitable ordinance relaxing penalties.

The ordinance considered Tuesday creates a presumptive fine of $50 for adults’ first-time marijuana or paraphernalia conviction. Prosecution presumably would take place through a citation if there are no other...

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