Politics & Government

Kansas Supreme Court to hear marijuana ballot case in September

The suit was spurred by Wichita voters passing a ballot question in April that would lessen the penalties for marijuana possession for people over 21 of an ounce or less.
The suit was spurred by Wichita voters passing a ballot question in April that would lessen the penalties for marijuana possession for people over 21 of an ounce or less. File photo

The Kansas Supreme Court will hear the case between the state and the city of Wichita over a marijuana ballot issue in September, the court announced Wednesday.

The lawsuit was spurred by Wichita voters passing a ballot question in April that would lessen the penalties for marijuana possession for people over 21 of an ounce or less.

Wichita has said previously that the initiative voters passed is legally valid, but agreed with state Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who brought the suit, that it should be put on hold while it’s tested in court.

The court agreed to put it on hold Wednesday, saying that the city shall “refrain from publishing, implementing, or enforcing this ordinance until further order of the court.”

Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell said the court will likely have the chance to change or affect state policy through its decision.

“If the state is telling us to (not enforce the ordinance) we’re probably going to abide by that right now,” Longwell said.

“We’re not trying to one up anybody or play gotcha politics or thumb our nose at any jurisdiction. We simply wanted to allow constituents to share their voice and they did, and now we’re taking the appropriate steps to move forward.”

Schmidt, who sued the city to try to block the initiative, contends it conflicts with state law and that procedures for putting it on the ballot weren’t properly followed.

An exact date for oral arguments in September will be determined at a later time.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_ryan.

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