WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Pardons are now on the way for simple possession of marijuana cases after President Joe Biden’s Thursday announcement.
President Biden hopes this will allow people access to employment, housing, or educational opportunities, but what does this mean for people locally?
Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple said it is nice to see other officials take a stance on a “contentious issue.”
“My hope in this announcement from the federal government, the actions taken by the Wichita City Council, and just really the buzz going around regarding this issue might actually trigger more eyes looking at this from Topeka,” said Mayor Whipple.
Wichita City Council voted to decriminalize marijuana and fentanyl testing strips back in September.
Now that President Biden made this announcement, Mayor Whipple said this will be a part of the marijuana discussion the Wichita City Council plans to have with the state legislature.
Mayor Whipple believes this could be involved in the upcoming election.
“There might be an opportunity where one candidate is more interested than the other in taking common sense approaches to remedy a policy that has disproportionately hurt people of color and just limited people’s economic potential,” said Mayor Whipple.
KSN News reached out to Sedgwick County District Attorney to see if he thinks this could impact Sedgwick County after President Biden called on state governors to take similar action.
“I don’t see such a decision having an effect on the county. Until or unless the state legislature removes marijuana from the criminal statutes of the state, it would still be illegal to possess. The Governor could continue to issue pardons, but issuing pardons would not change the law,” said Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett.
KSN News reached out to Governor Laura Kelly’s office regarding President Biden’s announcement.
Her office replied with this statement, “She will continue to consider all clemency and pardon requests based on a complete and thorough review of the individual cases.”
Kelly said in a statement in August that she would push for the legal use of medical marijuana but did not comment on recreational use.
We reached out to Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s team for his stance on this but have not received a response as of Friday afternoon.