We see petitions on the internet all the time, claiming to support this or that cause, and, 99% of the time, these petitions have no legal bearing. Real petitions that affect change are done with paper and pen, and those who sign them have to be registered voters.
That being said, a real, legally binding petition is being formed in Wichita, Kansas, that would allow the public to vote on a ballot initiative to make possession of under one ounce of marijuana a $25.00 fine, and nothing more. No jail time, no probation and no drug rehabilitation classes. It would be a lot like getting a speeding ticket, but cheaper.
This would also include paraphernalia items, such as pipes and bongs.
In order for this to happen, 4,300 signatures have to be collected from registered voters who live inside the Wichita city limits. Once those signatures are collected, they will be turned in to the Sedgwick County Elections Office. In November, when the voters go to the polls, they will have the option to vote for or against this proposed city ordinance, along with voting for political candidates.
This petition is being put together by JENI, a group that advocates against mass incarceration, and Kansas for Change, Inc., which is a social welfare organization that advocates for sensible marijuana reform laws in the state of Kansas.
Having professionals make this petition gives us the advantage of having the legal wording to actually make this ordinance possible and properly exercise our right to organize for a ballot initiative, at the municipal level, a right which we do not retain at the state level. Similar efforts are being undertaken in Lawrence, Tulsa and multiple other cities in states that have so far refused to legalize marijuana.
If successful, this ordinance will conflict with Kansas state law in much the same fashion that Colorado and Washington state laws conflict with federal law. State law currently carries a $2,500 fine and up to one year in jail for misdemeanor possession violations.
According to the ACLU, Kansas taxpayers spend $20 million in marijuana-related costs associated with policing, court/judicial activities, and corrections.
You can download a copy of the petition here: http://www.kansasforchange.com/
Please note the very important rules regarding who can sign this petition, what information is needed from those who do sign, and the rules on notarization.