Last April, residents of Kansas City, MO voted on whether to reduce the penalties for being in possession of small amounts of marijuana. Nearly 75 percent of voters approved the ballot initiative.
Marijuana Possession in Kansas City
In Missouri, marijuana possession is a crime which carries the potential punishments of thousands of dollars in fines and jail time. In April, Question 5 was proposed to reduce the fine for being caught with 35 grams (nearly 1.25 oz) or less of marijuana to $25, down from up to $2,000, and eliminates the possibility of jail time. Many other cities in Missouri have similar laws in place, including Columbia and St. Louis.
The laws for marijuana possession of up to 35g are misdemeanors with the following penalties:
- First Offense – Up to 10g; no incarceration, max fine of $500.
- Second Offense – Up to 10g; 1 year incarceration, max fine of $2,000.
- More than 10g and fewer than 35g; 1 year incarceration, max fine of $2,000.
All possession over 35g but less than 30kg is considered a felony and is most often charged as intent to distribute–whether or not the actual intent was to distribute. This charge can carry an incarceration time of around 4 years and $10,000 in fines
Previous Changes to Marijuana Laws
In 2014, legislation was approved to rewrite Missouri’s criminal code so possession of 10g or fewer of marijuana is punishable by a fine only. It is still considered a Class D misdemeanor. This change went into effect January 1, 2017.