City Manager raises concerns over wording of marijuana petition

A marijuana petition could give Wichitans the chance to vote to decriminalize pot. The petition already has more than 5,000 signatures.

Wichita City Manager Robert Layton

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Wichita, Kan. -- The petition has more than 5,000 signatures already. A marijuana petition could give Wichitans the chance to vote to decriminalize pot. Supporters of the petition hope to get this issue on the November ballot.

It's reform sweeping the nation, that's decriminalizing marijuana and Wichita is stirring the pot. Janice Bradley, with the Peace and Social Justice Center said, "we have about 55-hundred signatures on our petition."

It's even getting praise from unlikely supporters. Esau Freeman, pot petition advocate said, "we've had thumbs up from police officers. we've had all kinds of people in the community, grandmas giving us hugs."

If this petition passes it would remove all criminal penalties for possession of an ounce or less of pot. Bradley said, "many families have been affected by these small arrests, small easy arrests for marijuana and the people that have criminal records that have lasting effects with job problems, problems with getting jobs, fines, court costs.

The petition would change the possession of pot to a civil matter with a $25 dollar fine. Gary Lincoln, who signed the petition last week agrees with the reform. He said, "I think that's better than jail time. I mean that really disrupts people's lives."

However, the petition's momentum could be hindered. Freeman said, "as we left the meeting we were approached by the city manager who said he was concerned about the wording of the petition."

Having to change the petition could affect the efforts of gathering signatures. It could also mean having to draft from scratch. Freeman said, "I'm concerned that this might be a way for the city to sneak out and not have to deal with this."

The group plans to take the petition to the election board next week for review.

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