NewsLocal News


Mayor Lucas, KCMO city council members to propose ordinance decriminalizing marijuana

Posted at 6:25 AM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 07:25:29-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas and several city council members will present an ordinance to remove marijuana possession or control as a violation of the City Code of Ordinances Thursday.

In a release from Lucas' office, the mayor said that the goal is to improve police-community relations 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."

Lucas is joined on the proposal by 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.

“State and federal law remain clear with marijuana,” Lucas said in the release. “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."

Parks-Shaw cited voters' 2018 support for medical marijuana as a reason for continued reform.

"Co-sponsoring this legislation is a good first step," she said in the release.

Kansas City voters already decided to decriminalize minor marijuana possession in 2017.

"Black Americans are nearly four times more likely than white Americans to be arrested for marijuana possession despite roughly equal usage rates, according to the American Civil Liberties Union," the mayor's release read.

Mayor Lucas has also launched a Marijuana Pardon Program, which is something he promised to do while on the campaign trail.

An October 2019 proposal to decriminalize marijuana possession of 100 grams or less did not make any headway in the city council.