KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A confused Kansas City resident didn’t know if marijuana was legal, so they messaged the police department for clarification.
“Is weed Legal here?” the person wanted to know. “I’ve been smoking all night and it only just now occurred to ask.”
The Kansas City Police Department responded, “So we got this message sent to our page last night. For the sake of community education: Yes, possessing marijuana is still a misdemeanor in KCMO (up to 35 grams). Medical marijuana will change some of that.”
John Picerno is a criminal defense attorney in Kansas City. He says that marijuana possession is still a federal crime.
“As far as a federal offense goes, it’s still illegal,” he said. “As far as the state goes, it’s also still illegal and if it’s over 35 grams, it’s a felony.”
Last year, Missouri voters passed Amendment 2, which allows for the sale and use of medical marijuana in the state. Shortly afterwards, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced that she was easing up on marijuana prosecutions.
“That mandate from voters is directing this shift in our office,” Peters Baker said in a news release. “This changing attitude toward marijuana is something we have been seeing anecdotally from our juries for some time.”
Peters Baker said that her office will still prosecute distribution cases, incidents of impaired driving due to the drug and in cases where marijuana possession results in the harming of a child.
City prosecutors announced that they will follow city ordinances when deciding whether to prosecute.
As for medical marijuana, there are no licensed dispensaries yet in the state of Missouri, however card-carrying patients can legally have up to four ounces of marijuana.