Kansas City Marijuana Advocates Closing In On Reform Efforts

Aug 21, 2016

Advocates are petitioning to get an ballot initiative to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana on the November ballot in Kansas City.
Credit Danny Danko / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Organizers are closing in on their goal of collecting 2,300 signatures to get marijuana decriminalization on the November ballot in Kansas City. 

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws' Kansas City branch (NORML KC) has been gathering signatures since June.

Under the proposal, if someone is caught with less than 35 grams of marijuana, they would get maximum fine of $25 and wouldn't be arrested. Current Missouri penalties for the same amount of marijuana include possible incarceration and fines up to $1,000. 

Jamie Kacz is the executive director of NORML KC. At the organization's one-year celebration, she was hopeful that they would reach their goal.

“We are in the final stages, we are just working on collecting the rest of the petitions that are out there that our volunteers have,” Kacz said. 

She says they had around 2,000 signatures at last count. The deadline to turn in signatures is this Thursday. The last hand-in event for petitions will be Tuesday at Tapcade in the crossroads area. 

More than 50 people gathered on Saturday at the Waldo Branch of the Kansas City Public Library for a town hall meeting on marijuana reform.
Credit Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

To celebrate one year of working on marijuana reform in Kansas City, NORML KC held a town hall on Saturday to discuss different efforts across the state. 

Several people expressed disappointment after a proposed statewide initiative to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri narrowly missed qualifying for the ballot.

Two weeks ago, election officials in St. Louis invalidated more than 10,000 signatures, leaving organizers 2,200 signatures short. 

Supporters are filing a lawsuit to overturn the invalidated signatures. 

Kacz says that's why NORML KC  is collecting  more than the 1,708 actually needed for the Kansas City initiative. 

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter for KCUR 89.3 Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig