Eighteen states and Washington D.C. have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana while many other states have passed laws decriminalizing possession for personal use, which essentially means that a first time offense for small quantities of marijuana for personal use is treated like a traffic violation. During the November elections, Washington and Colorado actually took the next step and legalized marijuana. Whether Kansas will join the growing a number of states that have moved away from imposing criminal penalties for simple possession of cannabis is less clear despite a recent proposal in the Kansas Legislature.
Kansas Sen. David Haley (D-Kansas City, Kansas) recently proposed a bill called the Cannabis Care and Compassion Act that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in Kansas. However, State Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-Shawnee) has indicated that she plans to keep the bill from getting a hearing during the current session. A similar proposal also failed to survive committee last year.
While a recent national public opinion poll conducted by Public Policy Polling found that 58 percent of registered voters supported legalization of marijuana, these views do not necessarily reflect the views of the population of Kansas. There has been bipartisan agreement that the time is not right for this move in Kansas based on comments published in the media from members of the legislature on both sides of the aisle.
Even if Kansas were to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use and cultivation up to a certain number of marijuana plants, this would still create potential issues for those who possess or grow cannabis. The drug is still listed as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This classification equates weed with Heroin. Because marijuana is illegal under federal law even the states that have legalized marijuana have moved cautiously while trying to determine how the feds will respond to the change in state law.
Possession of marijuana for personal use in Kansas (simple possession) can carry serious penalties. The offense of possession without intent to distribute may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony based on the specific circumstances of your situation. Anyone facing a first offense for possession of marijuana may be subject to a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a maximum period of incarceration of one year in county jail and a $2,500 fine. However, experienced Kansas drug possession attorney Stacey Schlimmer may be able to obtain diversion or house arrest for a first time offense. Most first offenses for pot possession do not result in jail time.
If you or someone close to you have been arrested in Johnson County or anywhere in the surrounding areas of Kansas for possession of marijuana, cultivation, possession with intent to distribute or the sale of marijuana, experienced Johnson County drug crime defense attorney Stacey Schlimmer aggressively defends her clients charged with drug crimes in Kansas. Our Kansas criminal defense law firm offers a confidential free consultation so call us today at 913-219-5424 or contact us online.