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Wichita Decriminalizes Some Marijuana Possession, Fentanyl Test Strips

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The Wichita City Council on Tuesday voted to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and fentanyl test strips in the state’s largest city.

The move would eliminate between 750 and 850 prosecutions a year from the municipal courts. Marijuana possession is still illegal under state and federal law but local law enforcement agencies generally bring most minor marijuana possession cases to court, The Wichita Eagle reported.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett did not take a position on the proposal but said his office doesn’t have the resources to prosecute an additional 750 to 850 marijuana possession cases a year.

The repeal is scheduled for a second reading next week and is set to take effect Sept. 23.

Kansas has been far slower than other states to liberalize its marijuana laws, largely because there’s no way for voters to get proposed laws on the ballot. The Republican-controlled Legislature approved a measure this year to allow Kansans to use prescriptions derived from cannabis-related products if the drug is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as three currently are.

Legislative leaders formed a committee to study medical marijuana this fall and Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly, who is seeking reelection, supports the idea.