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Kansas City mayor wants to stop penalizing marijuana possession

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    KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — Mayor Quinton Lucas says he and other City Council members will introduce an ordinance Thursday to remove possession or control of marijuana as a violation of the city code of ordinances.

Third District At-Large Councilman Brandon Ellington, Third District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, Fifth District At-Large Councilman Lee Barnes and Fifth District Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw are all supporting the ordinance.

“One of the ways we improve police-community relations is by eliminating laws that for too long have led to negative interactions, arrests, convictions, and disproportionate rates of incarceration of Black men and Black women,” said Lucas. “Reducing petty offenses – such as municipal marijuana offenses – reduce these negative interactions each day.”

Public opinion and laws surrounding marijuana usage have changed dramatically in recent years: in 2017, Kansas City voters decided by a 75/25 percent margin to decriminalize possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana, imposing instead a $25 fine; and in 2018, Missourians voted to amend the State Constitution to permit the use of medical marijuana and its regulated growth.

Removing the violation from the City Code is one of many steps taken by Lucas and the City Council to create a more equitable community for all Kansas Citians.

“State and federal law remain clear with marijuana,” Lucas said. “The City doesn’t need to be in that business; instead, we remain focused on how we can help open doors to new opportunities and empower people to make a decent living. I appreciate Councilmembers Ellington, Robinson, Barnes and Parks-Shaw’s partnership in this important work.”

Earlier this year, Lucas launched a Marijuana Pardon Program for non-violent, low-level municipal marijuana and paraphernalia offenses.

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