February 25, 2020

Kansas Bill to Reduce Felony Violation Charges for Cannabis Fails


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A Kansas invoice looking for to lower felony violations for possession of marijuana has failed to pass, surprising advocates as nicely as legislators.

The Residence Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee voted 7-4 against the invoice that would make possession of marijuana a misdemeanor, no make any difference how numerous times someone experienced been arrested or convicted for it.

Subsequent a Home Committee vote, taken Feb. 23, 2020, some lawmakers expressed shock at the conclusion to uphold these severe punishment just for possession of cannabis.

“A felony conviction is a large stress for an offender, all over an offense that, in quite a few states now, is not a crime at all. It is pretty harsh,” reported committee chair Rep. J. Russell Jennings, (R).

Jennings explained he took the vote as a indication that Kansas lawmakers are not prepared to legalize marijuana, like medicinal cannabis.

Current Kansas regulation beneath Property Invoice 2686 states that a 3rd conviction of marijuana possession is a felony punishable by up to 14 months in jail, while offenders often acquire probation.

The failed bill had at first intended to incorporate a clause stating that offenders at present in prison for marijuana possession would be produced.

Nevertheless, the committee removed that provision from the evaluate, which supporters of the monthly bill recognized in the hope that it would give the invoice a improved probability of passing.

Marijuana Activists and Democrats in Kansas are amazed

Yet the evaluate failed to very clear the GOP-managed committee, even however just one Republican member imagined it was a stage in the proper path.

“I assumed this was delicate plenty of that it may well get via the committee,” claimed Democratic Rep. Boog Highberger of Lawrence, Kansas, house to the liberal University of Kansas. “I can’t demonstrate it.”

The Kansas state chapter of NORML known as the determination to keep on to handle marijuana possession like a felony as owning been “designed to mitigate the cruel regulations for marijuana possession in Kansas. Kansas legislators carry on to persecute unnecessarily.”

No clinical marijuana in Kansas

Thus considerably, no Kansas legislative committee has taken up a healthcare marijuana bill. Despite the fact that, one more Household panel – the Federal and Point out Affairs Committee – is acquiring one particular drafted and it could be prepared as early as mid-March.

“I continue to don’t consider that marijuana must be legalized,” explained GOP Rep. Stephen Owens. “I imagine this was a move in that way.”

Kansas Governor agrees with legalization

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly, a democrat, has stated she would indication a marijuana legalization invoice if lawmakers despatched a single to her desk, but that health care marijuana is her precedence.

“I have constantly stated that I want it very well-controlled so that it’s controlled so that it is not the initial move to legalization of marijuana,” Gov. Kelly explained. “I really do not want that. I want it to be witnessed as a pharmaceutical and controlled as we do that.”

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