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.

In a statement late Thursday Schmidt says “The backers of this local ordinance took their complaint to the wrong governing body. If they want to act contrary to state law, they need to convince the Legislature to change state law. Asking the City of Wichita to override state law is not a lawful option.”

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.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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