Kansas Supremes Strike Down Wichita Pot Law
January 22, 2016

(AP) – The highest court in Kansas has struck down a Wichita voter-approved ordinance that reduces penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.
The Kansas Supreme Court issued its ruling Friday. The case has been closely watched by activists in other Kansas communities who are considering similar voter-led initiatives if state lawmakers continue to block reform of marijuana laws.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt argued the ordinance conflicts with state law.
Wichita voters approved the ordinance in April, with 54 percent in favor.
The city council says it put the measure on the ballot because 3,000 people signed a petition for it.
The Supreme Court had earlier put the measure on hold while considering its legality

‘Right to Farm’ in Missouri Doesn’t Cover Pot
September 2, 2015

(AP) – A new constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to farm doesn’t protect a woman who reportedly grew marijuana in her home, a Missouri judge ruled this week.
Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled against a woman Tuesday whose public defender tried to argue that cultivating marijuana falls under the farming-rights amendment, the Jefferson City News Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1O8OCcy).
Public defender Justin Carver argued that Green should set aside a grand jury indictment against Lisa A. Loesch. She was charged in 2012 after Jefferson City police arrested her for allegedly growing pot in her basement.
“The conduct alleged in the indictment, even if taken as true, does not give rise to an offense in that the conduct is protected by the Missouri Constitutional right-to-farm,” Carver wrote in an April motion.
Voters added the amendment, which states that “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state,” to the Missouri Constitution in August 2014.
Green ruled that the amendment only applies to livestock and “legitimate” crop cultivation, and even those practices still are subject to regulations.
The “argument that growing marijuana in a basement constitutes a ‘farming or ranching practice’ goes way beyond the plain meaning of ‘farming or ranching practice,'” Green wrote. “Simply put, marijuana is not considered a part of Missouri’s agriculture.”

Pot Lifer Released “It’s a Shame”
September 1, 2015

(AP) – A man sentenced to life without parole on a marijuana-related charge was freed Tuesday from a Missouri prison after being behind bars for more than two decades – a period in which the nation’s attitudes toward pot steadily softened.
Family, friends, supporters and reporters flocked to meet Jeff Mizanskey as he stepped out of the Jefferson City Correctional Center into a sunny morning, wearing a new pair of white tennis shoes and a shirt that read “I’m Jeff & I’m free.”
“I spent a third of my life in prison,” said Mizanskey, now 62, who was greeted by his infant great-granddaughter. “It’s a shame.”
After a breakfast of steak and eggs with family, Mizanskey said, he planned to spend his post-prison life seeking a job and advocating for the legalization of marijuana. He criticized sentencing for some drug-related crimes as unfair and described his time behind bars as “hell.”
His release followed years of lobbying by relatives, lawmakers and others who argued that the sentence was too stiff and that marijuana should not be forbidden

Missouri’s Marijuana Life Makes Parole
August 10, 2015

A Missouri man, once serving a life prison term for non violent marijuana convictions is getting out of jail soon.

The son of Jeff Mzanskey told ABC News 17 his father will soon be freed.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon commuted Mzanskey’s sentence earlier this year. He had a parole hearing earlier this month.

Mzanskey’s family says he could be freed from the maximum security facility in Jefferson City within a few days.

A statement from the Show-Me Cannabis group said it believes Mzanskey’s release was accelerated by the “strong support” for his release.

Wichita Pot Campaign Intensifies
April 3, 2015

(AP) – Some lawmakers and state officials are ramping up the pressure against a Wichita ballot initiative that seeks to ease penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

But supporters of the measure are also pushing back after crashing their news conference Friday in front of the Sedgwick County courthouse.

The issue is on the ballot for Tuesday’s election in Wichita.

The proposed ordinance does not legalize marijuana. It makes first-time possession a criminal infraction with a $50 fine. Under state law, it is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and a year in jail.

Opponents contend the city has no legal authority to adopt an ordinance that conflicts with state law.

Supporters say people should vote for the measure anyway to send the Legislature a message.