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KCMO effort to decriminalize certain amounts of marijuana ends without deal

Posted at 4:00 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 20:25:33-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri City Council will not take up the issue of decriminalizing 100 grams or less of marijuana any further.

As of Wednesday, the proposal to change the current ordinance is officially dead.

Katheryn Shields, chair of the city's Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee, said there is no support for the decriminalization because it would put citizens in a worse situation.

Shields said if police catch someone with 45 grams of marijuana, for example, they can choose to forward the charges to the court system.

However, because Jackson County prosecutors are not going after small cases, Shields said police will have to forward charges to surrounding counties, such as Platte, Clay or Cass.

All of those counties will prosecute the marijuana possession charge as a state charge, not a lesser municipal charge like in Jackson County, which will end up punishing citizens even more.

The dozens of marijuana advocates in the room were upset with the lack of action. They were also frustrated there was no opportunity for public comment.

They plan to start a petition to bring the subject back to city council.

The city's Ethics Commission said that following the meeting a few people filed an ethics complaint against the city council.

The committee decided on another piece of the marijuana ordinance. Going forward, those who pay the $25 fine for possessing 35 grams or less of marijuana would have the charge dismissed and their record expunged.

As it stood before, people would pay the fine but still receive a drug conviction.

Marijuana advocates say there should be no charge and no fine at all, but the committee's decision is a step in the right direction.