A group of Wichita marijuana advocates is counting petition signatures to see if there are enough to force a citywide vote on decriminalizing pot in the community.
Petitioners are trying to gather nearly 3,000 valid signatures on a petition that would give voters a chance in November to ask for sharply lower punishments for marijuana possession.
The current maximum criminal penalty of $2,500 and a year in jail would be reduced to a $25 civil fine.
Supporters view marijuana possession laws as a gateway into the criminal justice system for young people, especially blacks.
Among the petition’s advocates is Kansas Rep. Gail Finney, a Wichita Democrat who has tried unsuccessfully for years to get the Legislature to vote on a medical marijuana bill.
Associated Press Information from: The Wichit Eagle