I have been keeping a close eye on Missouri marijuana activism efforts since 2012. That was the first year that I made friends with activists from Missouri like my buddy Anthony Johnson. Missouri has experienced some ups and downs when it comes to marijuana reform efforts, but the passion from Missouri activists has always burned bright. Missouri is home to some of the hardest working activists I have ever met/seen.
The Kansas City NORML chapter has led an effort to gather signatures to put marijuana decriminalization on the ballot. It was announced recently that the effort met its signature goal. Per KansasCity.com:
A petition initiative seeking a vote to decriminalize marijuana possession in Kansas City has enough signatures to qualify for an election ballot.
City Clerk Marilyn Sanders said Thursday that election authorities had counted more than 2,000 valid signatures of registered voters, more than the 1,708 required to place a citizen-led initiative on a Kansas City ballot.
The City Council has 60 days to review the proposal and determine if it should go before voters. The deadline to submit a proposal for the April ballot is Jan. 19, so that deadline may pass before the council completes its review.
The initiative would make possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana an infraction instead of a crime, punishable by a $25 fine. St. Louis and Columbia are cities in Missouri that have already passed marijuana decriminalization measures, and the language of the Kansas City version is similar. However, Kansas City’s Police Department is a state agency due to past corruption leading to the state taking over the reigns of the department. The decriminalization measure would conflict with state law, so it’s going to be particularly tricky getting a decriminalization measure implemented if voters approve it. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for success! Hat tip to KC NORML!