Voters in Kansas City — the largest city in Missouri and the sixth largest city in the Midwest — overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure on Tuesday to reduce the city's penalties for marijuana possession.
The Kansas City Star reports:
The measure lowers the maximum fine for marijuana possession in city court to $25 from $500 and eliminates jail time as a penalty. Under the old ordinance, a sentence of 180 days was possible.
The change applies only to cases in Kansas City Municipal Court in which defendants possessed 35 grams or less of marijuana — about 1 1/4 ounces.
The issue landed on the ballot through a petition drive led by the Kansas City chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Jamie Kacz, executive director of NORML KC, said residents who signed the petitions sent a message that they don’t want people jailed or fined heavily for marijuana offenses.
The ballot measure also eliminates city charges for possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia, which carried penalties of 15 days to six months in jail and fines from $100 to $500.