Kansas Legislature Passes Bill to Reduce Penalties for Cannabis Possession
The Kansas House of Representatives on Friday gave approval to legislation that would reduce penalties for the possession of cannabis. The measure has already been passed by the state’s Senate with a unanimous 38 to 0 vote, meaning it will now go to Governor Sam Brownback for consideration; the vote in the House was 96 to 23.
Under the proposed law, the first-time possession of cannabis would be reduced to a minor misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail, down from a serious misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. Second offenses will be reduced from a felony punishable by up to 3.5 years in prison, to a misdemeanor punishable by a jail term of up to a year. All subsequent offenses would remain felonies.
“The reason for this is because we have a lot of bed space that is utilized by people on first-time offense,” says Representative Ramon Gonzalez, a Republican.
In addition to reducing the penalties for cannabis possession, the measure would increase the penalty for burglarizing an occupied home or business from 31 months in prison to 38 months.