The Sedgwick County Election Commissioner needs more time to verify signatures on a petition to decriminalize marijuana in Wichita.
We were there when the group turned in it's pot petition to the city clerks office July 24th.
"We didn't verify all of them of course, it is a mammoth task," said Janice Bradley, who started the petition. "But we did over one-third and our verification rate was 51%."
If Bradley's numbers are correct, the group should reach the requirement.
Only the elections office can verify those signatures. Workers do that by matching the person's name, with their address, and the signature they have on file. If any of that information has changed since the last election, it can slow down the process.
Plus each person has to be a registered voter. The group needs 2,928 signatures to push the petition forward.
It looks to decriminalize marijuana by lowering the fines and eliminating jail time for anyone caught in possession of the drug.
A marketing expert from Wichita State feels convincing voters may be more difficult now, in light of the alleged marijuana connection in the Seth Jackson case involving the hot car death of his foster daughter.
"It can take one story, it can take one piece of information that really changes somebody's mind," said WSU Marketing Professor Dotty Harpool. "But I think those people were on the fence to begin with."
The pot petition can't move forward, until the signatures are verified. Look for that answer by week's end.
If the petition has enough signatures, the Wichita City Council has three options: Approve the change themselves, legally challenge the petition or put the question on the November ballot.