News Releases

Kansas’ right to enforce drug laws upheld

TOPEKA – (March 15, 2013) – The Kansas Court of Appeals today upheld Kansas’ ability to enforce its marijuana laws, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said.

In a ruling issued today, the Court held that the State maintains the ability to enforce Kansas criminal statutes prohibiting the possession of marijuana, even if that marijuana was legally acquired in another state.

“Today’s ruling makes clear that the laws of other states do not supersede the laws of the State of Kansas,” Schmidt said. “Law enforcement officers may continue to enforce Kansas laws against certain drugs, even if those products are legal in other states.”

The issue is timely because Colorado law now makes it legal to purchase marijuana in that state. Today’s decision makes clear that people who buy marijuana in Colorado and transport it in Kansas are still subject to criminal penalties in Kansas.

The appeal was filed by the state after an Ellsworth County court acquitted a Colorado man of a marijuana possession charge. The marijuana was found during a routine traffic stop while the man was visiting family in Kansas. Because the defendant has already been acquitted of the crime, today’s ruling does not change the outcome of the case. However, it does provide guidance to lower courts for future cases.