Lawrence to discuss reducing marijuana possession penalties

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Lawrence city commissioners will consider a proposal to reduce penalties for marijuana possession.

Currently, first-time offenders face a fine between $200 and $1,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail. Those who are granted a diversion must pay for mandatory drug-abuse evaluation and could be required to receive drug-abuse education, counseling or treatment.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports the city prosecutor is recommending penalties for first-time marijuana possession of $200, a substance abuse evaluation and classes or treatment, 90 day jail sentences that would be suspended if another violation doesn't occur, and six months of unsupervised probation. A second offense would increase the penalties to a $300 fine and a year of probation.

The city's health department submitted a statement to the commission opposing reducing penalties for marijuana possession.

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