Lucas’ ordinance to strike marijuana possession from KC code passes committee

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DENVER – APRIL 20: Men pass a marijuana cigarette to each other during a pro-marijuana rally at Civic Center Park with the Colorado State Capitol Building in the background April 20, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and “smoke outs” in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas’ ordinance to cut marijuana possession from city code is moving forward.

Lucas introduced the ordinance last week with support from several council members already.

It is co-sponsored by council members Brandon Ellington, Melissa Robinson, Lee Barnes and Ryana Parks-Shaw.

On Wednesday, several city council members threw their support behind the proposal in a Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee meeting.

The committee voted in favor of the ordinance. It will now head to the full Kansas City Council for consideration on July 9.

If the ordinance goes into effect, it would not make marijuana legal. State and federal law still applies, and people can still be charged under those systems. However, officials would no longer press charges at the municipal level.

The mayor believes it’s something Kansas City can do to be more equitable and free up police to focus on other types of crimes.

“There’s a better way we can try to apply and enforce our police time in ways that are solving violent crime and those big impactful issues,” Lucas previously told FOX4.

“Frankly, when you look at the discriminatory and disproportionate impact that our drug laws, particularly our petty drug laws, are having on African-Americans in our community, it’s time for us to make a change.”

In 2017, nearly 75% of Kansas City voters approved a ballot initiative to reduce penalties for marijuana possession. The fine was reduced to $25 for possession of 35 grams or less, and it eliminated jail time.

This ordinance, if approved, would eliminate even these punishments.

This isn’t the first time Lucas has supported looser marijuana restrictions. In February, Lucas rolled out a pardoning process for those with municipal marijuana charges.

He said the convictions were a barrier for many residents and the decision was long overdue.

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