Marijuana Decriminalized in Kansas City

By Dries Van Thielen

Marijuana users will no longer face criminal charges in Kansas City. A recent referendum in the largest city of Missouri decriminalized marijuana. Therefore, consumers will no longer face jail time and the civil charge will drop to $25.  

On April, 4, voters in the Kansas City area cast their ballots on seven questions. Question 5 of this reads as follow:

“Shall the City of Kansas City limit the authorized punishment that can be imposed in the Municipal Court for the possession or control of 35 grams or less of marijuana to a maximum $25 fine, eliminate jail as a potential punishment for the possession or control of marijuana, and remove marijuana from the prohibition against drug paraphernalia”?

‘Vote for 5’

The referendum was backed by the ‘Vote for 5’ campaign which was organized by KC NORML, a branch of NORML. The advocates for legalization gathered for a watch party to attend the outcome. They watched when an overwhelming majority of eligible voters (71%) decided in favor of decriminalization.

Consumers in possession of up to 35 gram, will no longer face criminal charges. The criminal charge of $500 dropped to a $25 civil fine and consumers can no longer be sentenced to jail. Before the ballot, marijuana consumers faced up to 180 days in jail. However, city Prosecutor Lowell Gard told The Kansas City Star that defendants in city court were rarely jailed for marijuana possession but opted for a plea bargain instead.

Jamie Kacz, Executive Director of KC NORML and a long-standing advocate of the legalize marijuana movement could not withhold his excitement on the outcome of the ballot. He told NORML:  “The era of reefer madness in Kansas City has come to an end and no longer will otherwise law abiding citizens be targeted or arrested for the mere possession of marijuana.”

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