Lawrence considering sharp reduction in marijuana penalties

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LAWRENCE — Lawrence city commissioners appear open to a proposal to significantly reduce the fines for possession of small amounts of marijuana in the city.

During a work session Tuesday, the commission reviewed a draft ordinance that proposed reducing the minimum fine for possessing 32 grams or less of marijuana from $200 to $50 for first-time offenders. The Lawrence Journal-World reports commissioners indicated they were interested in reducing the fine to $1 for first- and second-time offenders. Court costs would remain $63.

Mayor Lisa Larsen said she is in favor of doing anything to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. And commissioner Matthew Herbert suggested the $1 fine as a way to send a message to state leaders to consider a growing national trend toward lower fines for marijuana possession.

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