Yesterday voters in Wichita, Kansas voted on an initiative that would decriminalize marijuana possession within the city. Final numbers are in, and the initiative passed by a margin of roughly 9%. That's a solid margin of victory. Per KSN.Com:
The proposed ordinance does not legalize marijuana. It makes first-time possession a criminal infraction with a $50 fine. Under state law, it is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail.
Voters want to send the Legislature a message.
"Do something about changing these laws on the state level, whether it's just reducing penalties, going ahead and getting a medical marijuana bill passed. Something so that we can move forward, and actually regulate these things and not be putting people in a cage for simple possession," said Esau Freeman, Wichita Marijuana Reform.
The victory isn't sitting well with some people at the state level, which is not surprising. Kansas' Attorney General, Derek Schmidt, has made it clear for awhile now that he would sue the City of Wichita if the initiative passed. The City of Wichita is seeking clarity as to whether or not they can implement the initiative. The campaign is taking donations to help with what is likely an inevitable legal battle. Donations can be made at this link here.
Regardless of how the legal battle ends up, this is an outstanding victory for the citizens of Wichita, Kansas, and for the larger marijuana movement. If Wichita can reform its marijuana laws, then just about any other city in the United States can follow suit. It's like I always say - if you can't achieve a victory at the state level, go for local victories. Those local victories will add up, and show the rest of the state that the sky doesn't fall when marijuana laws are reform, and will build momentum for a statewide victory.