Signatures short on Wichita marijuana petitions

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Petitions seeking to decriminalize marijuana possession in Wichita apparently came up 47 signatures short.

Sedgwick County Election Commissioner Tabitha Lehman told the city clerk the petitions contained 2,881 qualified signatures, and 2,928 were required to get the issue on the ballot. About 3,600 signatures were determined to be invalid.

Petition supports say they will challenge the count in court because they believe some signatures were improperly excluded. They also plan to ask the City Council next week to put the issue on the ballot.

The initiative would change simple possession of marijuana and paraphernalia from a criminal offense to a minor civil violation, and would set the maximum penalty at $25, down from the current maximum of $2,500 and a year in jail.

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