Lawrence lowers fines for marijuana possession

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Lawrence city leaders are slashing the city's penalties for possessing marijuana.

City Commissioners voted 4-1 Tuesday night to reduce the fine for first and second convictions to $1. It would apply to people aged 18 or older in cases where they possessed 32 grams or less of pot.

The previous fine was $200 to $1000.

Commissioners also discussed giving the judge discretion at ordering a drug abuse evaluation for first-time offenders

Mayor Lisa Larsen told the Lawrence Journal World that people of color are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession.

A 2013 report by the American Civil Liberties Union found that black residents in Kansas are over four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, despite using marijuana at similar rates.

Larsen says the city needs to make a change to provide more equity in the criminal justice system.