The Kansas Supreme Court is ordering the city of Wichita to file a response to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s challenge of a marijuana ballot issue passed by Wichita voters on April 7.
Last week, Schmidt asked the state Supreme Court to strike down the ballot initiative approved by Wichita voters that reduces penalties for marijuana possession.
The order by the court would require Wichita to respond by May 6, according to documents released by the court.
However, the court is still considering a request by Schmidt to issue a restraining order against the city.
Although voters in the state’s largest city approved it, the ordinance to reduce penalties for first time possession is in legal limbo and is not in effect.
The ballot initiative – approved by voters 54 percent to 46 percent – seeks to reduce the penalty for first-time marijuana possession to a $50 fine for adults over 21. Violations would be an infraction that wouldn’t have to be disclosed on most job or scholarship applications.
The state law defines pot possession a Class A misdemeanor, on par with violent offenses such as assaulting a police officer. The maximum penalty is a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
The court also granted a request by Schmidt that the city delay any court proceedings between the city and Janice Bradley, a Marijuana Reform Initiative-ICT organizer, who helped lead the ballot petition initiative.