Kansas City votes to remove marijuana violations from city code

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — City council members in Kansas City, Missouri, voted Thursday to remove possession or control of marijuana as a violation within the city.

The ordinance, introduced on June 18 by Mayor Quinton Lucas and four City Council members, passed by a 9-4 vote, KMBC reported.

The vote does not mean that marijuana is legal in Kansas City, the television station reported. State and federal laws will still apply and people can be charged. However, city officials will no longer press charges at the municipal level, WDAF reported.

“The city doesn’t need to be in the marijuana policing business,” Lucas tweeted Thursday evening.

In 2018, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced her office would no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases, with the exception of illegal sales, distribution and impaired driving, KMBC reported.

“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 WDAF.

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

Missouri voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2018.