OLATHE, Kan. — As Missouri prepares for legalized recreational marijuana, officials in neighboring Kansas are reminding people cannabis is still illegal in the state.
“It’s real spotty nationally," said defense attorney Paul Morrison. "Some places treat it like a traffic violation, basically been decriminalized. Some places have been completely decriminalized for possession of small amounts and some places it’s still illegal like Kansas.”
Morrison said he has seen clients confused over conflicting laws between Kansas and Missouri.
"They’ll bust out their medical marijuana card and say 'Here’s my medical marijuana card. Is that going to help me?'" Morrison said. "To which we have to reply, 'No it won’t help you over here."
Morrison, a former Johnson County Prosecutor, said the public would be surprised by how much time law enforcement spends on small marijuana cases.
Following Tuesday's vote, he thinks change depends on what side of the state line you are.
“I think in Missouri, you’ll probably see somewhat of a change on that," Morrison said. "In Kansas, probably not really."
In Kansas, Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez addressed concerns of officers waiting to stop people for cannabis once they cross the state line.
“We’re not looking to stop people for that," Donchez said. "I want to put everybody’s mind at ease and let them know that’s not our focus. Our focus has always been safety and making sure people are safe.”
Donchez added training currently exist to spot impaired drivers.
“We do make arrest for people that are impaired," he said. "You always think alcohol, but we’ve made plenty of arrest on people that are impaired due to controlled substances.”
KSHB 41 contacted several law enforcement agencies in Missouri to see what impact Tuesday's vote would have.
A spokesperson with the Clay County Sheriff's Office said the agency is still reviewing details of recreational marijuana, but said a current marijuana sniffing K9 will have to retire.