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Kansas Could Have Legal Weed Next Year, Says Candidate for Governor

Kansas Gubernatorial Candidate Josh Svaty says he would support cannabis decriminalization if elected.

Democrat Josh Svaty is open to signing legislation to decriminalize pot possession if he is elected governor of Kansas.

"I think that it's very possible we could see a bill on my desk within maybe the next year," said Svaty, who added that the issue could be an opportunity for Kansas.

“I think it's a criminal-justice-reform issue for the state,” he said.

The subject came up on a campaign stop in Wichita. Svaty said he didn't initially think marijuana would be a major campaign issue until he set out on a speaking tour of all 105 Kansas counties.

"I'm telling you, almost every county around the state, even in western Kansas, we were asked about it," he said.

Of course they were asked about it.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 63 percent of American voters support full legalization, and 93 percent support legalizing medical pot.

Svaty has been telling folks that Colorado, Kansas' neighbor to the west, has done well after having legalized cannabis.

To the east, Missouri now only issues fines for marijuana possession and is likely to have at least one constitutional initiative to legalize medicinal weed on the ballot this fall.

If Missouri does legalize MMJ, that would put Kansas right between two legal-weed states with a major interstate freeway connecting them.

"Law enforcement is saying, 'How are we going to handle massive traffic back and forth on I-70?'" Svaty said. "It will clog our system if we try to do this (strict marijuana enforcement)."

Svaty suggested Kansas could look to neighboring states then craft its own plan to ease up on marijuana.

"I think the benefit of Kansas now is we have the little view of hindsight so we can say, 'What did Colorado do wrong, what did Missouri do wrong?'” he said, per the Wichita Eagle. "So when we implement a program in this state, we can fix those problems."

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