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Kansas City would stop penalizing marijuana possession under mayor’s new proposal

Kansas City could strike possession of marijuana from its municipal code, eliminating even fines for having the drug under an ordinance Mayor Quinton Lucas was expected to introduce Thursday.

In a press release, Lucas announced he would introduce the ordinance with all four Black members of the City Council: Brandon Ellington, Melissa Robinson, Lee Barnes and Ryana Parks-Shaw. Lucas said eliminating laws that disproportionately affect Black people can help “improve police-community relationships.”

Missouri voters decided in 2018 to legalize medical marijuana. In Kansas City, possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana has been punishable under municipal code by a $25 fine since voters decided to reduce the penalties for the drug in 2017.

“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.”

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, Black people are 3.6 times more likely than white people to be arrested for possession of marijuana — despite comparable rates of usage. [Read more at The Kansas City Star]

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