KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Mayor Quinton Lucas has officially rolled out the pardoning process for those with municipal marijuana convictions.
“I am so excited that we have the opportunity to introduce what I think is a game-changer, frankly, in how local government addresses criminal justice and, frankly, criminal justice reform,” Lucas said Tuesday.
The Kansas City mayor announced his initiative last week in his State of the City address.
“My office will begin our process of pardoning municipal violation of marijuana possession and marijuana drug paraphernalia convictions for all non-violent offenders in Kansas City,” Lucas said last week.
Now, he’s implemented it, and those with charges can start applying.
“For some time now, decades, the mayor of Kansas City has a pardon power,” Lucas said Tuesday. “In too rare of occasions do we actually use it. This is a change today.”
The mayor posted the application to be considered for a pardon online Tuesday. Those interested can also find the paperwork at the Clerk’s Office at City Hall.
Lucas said the convictions were a barrier for many, and in an age where medical marijuana is now legal in the Show-Me State, he said the decision was long overdue.
“We’re doing this for one simple reason: Because when you look at the sources of public safety challenges in our community, it is not those who are using recreational, small amounts of marijuana,” the KC mayor said.
Lucas said his research shows there are likely thousands of Kansas City residents with municipal marijuana convictions who could apply for a pardon.
“What I want to be able to do for these folks is say, ‘You might have made a mistake at some point, but we’re going to be fair in how we apply, frankly, the law in Kansas City,” Lucas said.
The Kansas City Council passed an ordinance last week allowing them to waive fees for all pardons, making the process accessible to everyone.
It’s important to note this pardon only applies to those with Kansas City municipal charges — not state or federal convictions.
After applicants submit the appropriate paperwork, a final decision will be made by the mayor, according to the city. The whole process could take 6-8 weeks.
Another important note: A pardon doesn’t erase the conviction. It’s not an expungement. It can only wipe out some of the consequences.
Those looking for more details are encouraged to read these instructions and guidelines from the mayor’s office.