Lawmakers reject lower penalties for pot possession

Kansas legislators reject a proposal to lessen penalties for repeat marijuana possession offenders. The bill would have kept possession crimes as a misdemeanor, no matter how many times someone was convicted.

By

State News

February 25, 2020 - 10:23 AM

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators aren’t ready to declare that marijuana possession never should be a felony, rejecting proposals Monday to lower penalties for third-time offenders and to release others from prison.

The House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee voted 7-4 against a bill that would make possessing marijuana a misdemeanor, no matter how many times someone was convicted. Kansas law currently says a third conviction is a felony that can be punished by up to 14 months in prison, though offenders often receive probation.

The bill also initially said offenders now in prison for marijuana possession would be released, but the committee removed that provision from the measure. Supporters of lessening the penalties for repeated marijuana possession accepted the change to give the bill a better chance of passing.

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