WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It could soon cost you less if you are caught with fentanyl testing strips or marijuana in Wichita.
The Wichita City Council will debate several options to change the city codes relating to marijuana and fentanyl testing strips.
One option would reduce the fine from $50 to $25 if you are caught with marijuana or testing strips.
Another option would take pot cases out of municipal court, requiring the Sedgwick District Attorney’s Office to prosecute.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff has some concerns if this passes.
“Will it create a safer environment? No, I don’t think it will whatsoever,” said Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter.
Sheriff Easter said if a deputy runs into someone with fentanyl testing strips, they usually take them as evidence and do not look to arrest or prosecute.
“If that is an extra barrier, if they think they have to take a Percocet pill to ensure them that there is no fentanyl, then I understand that,” said Sheriff Easter.
He said he is not one to encourage drug use, but if this passes for the strips, he hopes it could help save someone’s life if they choose to use.
On the other hand, Sheriff Easter is not for the decriminalization of marijuana. He said it could create problems for the county or District Attorney’s office.
“I would need reassurances on that for simple possession they are not going to start booking individuals hold for state warrant because they won’t charge it in the city but want to try to charge it here,” said Sheriff Easter.
“County-wise, you got a district attorney that can charge or not charge if he wants to or she at some point. I think state-wise, it is the same way. I don’t know what they would do. I have not had any direct conversations with them,” said Wichita City Council member Brandon Johnson.
Sheriff Easter hopes the city continues to review and think hard about its decision on this.
“I haven’t heard of any real strong opposition to this other than folks who think it may lead to more drug consumption, but I think that is going to happen anyway,” said Johnson.
KSN News reached out to the DA for comment but was told they are not commenting on this proposal at this time.
The city council is set to discuss this at Tuesday’s meeting.