NORML KC to decriminalize cannabis in KCMO

decrim-imange

Local Marijuana reform group submits required amount of signatures for Spring 2017 ballot

Kansas City, MO – Marijuana activists with the Kansas City chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML KC) submitted over 4,200 signatures on Tuesday, Nov 15th, to clerks at City Hall. NORML KC’s executive director Jamie Kacz said she was thrilled that the group had gathered far beyond the required amount of signatures needed to be included on the April 4th 2017 ballot.  “I am extremely proud of all of our volunteers- with their help we surpassed our goal of 2,300 signatures.  We have received great support from our community.  A lot of people are ready for this to happen, especially after New Approach Missouri did not make it on the state-wide ballot this November.”

The New Approach Missouri initiative would have allowed for medical use of cannabis for qualified patients in MO, authorizing doctors to recommend the plant to treat serious health conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, cancer, and MS, to name a few.  The initiative failed to meet the required amount by just 23 signatures, dashing the hopes of thousands of sick patients and caregivers in the state.  “I want them to have hope,” Kacz continued.  “Attitudes towards cannabis are changing nation-wide, as well as here in Kansas City.  I have received positive feedback from members of the City Council, and we will be working closely with them going forward to ensure that the decriminalization efforts are successfully implemented if their constituents choose to vote the initiative in.”

Kacz stated that members of NORML KC believe strongly that law enforcement should be allowed to focus their time and resources on stopping and solving violent crimes such as rapes, instead of locking up people for utilizing a medically safe, non-toxic plant.  As of January 1st 2017, marijuana will be decriminalized state-wide in MO, but only for less than 10 grams, and only for a first time offense- all other offenses are considered criminal and could result in jail time. Under that law, the fine for under 10 grams is $250.  NORML KC’s initiative is modeled after the ones passed in Saint Louis and Columbia.  It would allow for up to 35 grams of cannabis (in all forms) to be considered a city ordinance violation, penalized with a $25 fine or community service, based on the judge’s discretion.  That means no jail time, and no record. Between now and the Spring vote, NORML KC will continue their monthly educational chapter meetings at local libraries and will be registering people to vote.  Their next meeting is Nov 19th, 2pm at the Waldo Branch Library, all are welcome to attend.  To learn more visit their website http://www.normlkc.org and follow them on Facebook and Twitter @normlkc

Jessica Kelly (Secretary) and Jamie Kacz (Executive Director) can be reached at newnormlkc@gmail.com NORML KC is a nonprofit advocacy group and is sanctioned by National NORML

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NORML KC STORMS THE POLLS

On Tuesday, November 8, Americans went to the ballot box and demanded change. Four states ended marijuana prohibition, as voters in Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and California all voted to legalize marijuana for adults. Medical marijuana initiatives also passed in Florida, North Dakota, Montana and Arkansas.

The New Approach Missouri campaign for Medical Marijuana in the Show Me state failed to attain enough valid signatures for the 2016 ballot by a heartbreakingly narrow margin (23 signatures overall), but that isn’t stopping the Kansas City Chapter of NORML from moving forward to end Prohibition.  On Election Day, NORML KC volunteers took to the polls in full force to collect signatures for its Kansas City Decriminalization Initiative.

NORML KC Executive Director Jamie Kacz organized volunteers to various polling locations around Kansas City, where the large voter turnout worked in favor of the NORML team. Long lines at polling booths allowed for team members to reach out on a personal level to citizens, explaining the detriments of the War on Drugs and the details of the decriminalization initiative.

The team, dispersed to over 20 polling locations throughout the day, met at Tapcade after the polls closed, notarizing the collected petitions. The haul? Over 2,300 signatures, almost all certain registered voters. The current threshold to reach the ballot in April is 1,708 signatures.

Kacz was thrilled after the petition count. “I knew I had a great team, and I was hoping for the best. We were already very close to the required number of signatures, but they really got out the message today and surpassed any expectations that I had. I really think the number of voters who want to see Kansas City marijuana reform will speak volumes.”

NORML KC will be turning the validated signatures in to the city clerk on Monday, November 14, ending the signature gathering stage of the process, and embarking on the next steps for marijuana reform in KCMO.  Kacz has been in discussion with City Council members and has been garnering support for the initiative, which should appear before voters in the April election.