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WIRE: Cannabis decriminalization to appear on April ballot in Kansas City

Kansas City, MO — Kansas City voters will decide this April on a municipal ordinance to decriminalize marijuana possession offenses.

The local initiative, spearheaded by Kansas City NORML, would amend citywide penalties for the possession of up to 35 grams of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil violation, punishable by a $25 fine. Similar municipal measures are currently in place in St. Louis and in Columbia, Missouri.

Council members voted 12 to 1 last week to place the issue before voters on the April 4 ballot. Kansas City NORML members gathered over 2,000 signatures from registered voters to force the forthcoming pubic vote.

Under a newly enacted state law, first-time offenders who possess ten grams of marijuana or less face a criminal record and a $500 fine, but no jail time. Those defendants convicted of possessing greater quantities of cannabis (up to 35 grams), or who are subsequent offenders, face up to one year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

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