Translating A Victory From Citywide to Statewide


Originally, NORML KC formed to focus on the criminal penalties. We looked towards fellow Missouri towns such as Columbia and St. Louis which had already decriminalized, and we wanted Kansas City to join those municipalities on a more progressive and tolerant path. Our initial goal was to reduce the current penalties in Kansas City for cannabis possession, remove the threat of jail time, and significantly lower the fine amount for less than 35 grams.

On April 4th of this year, after months of building our coalitions, speaking at town halls, and utilizing media and community outreach, Kansas Citians came out to show their support at the ballot box. We all watched as the results came in and Question 5 was overwhelmingly supported by 75 percent! That number is a remarkable achievement, especially considering the local newspaper, The Kansas City Star, and Mayor Sly James came out against the measure.

Question 5 Passed With Over 75% of the VoteQuestion 5 Passed With Over 75% of the VoteNow, as we approach our chapter’s two-year anniversary at the end of August, we have a victory in hand and our sights are now set statewide for access.

Our grassroots group had little funding and was mainly supported by a core group of dedicated volunteers and activists who worked tirelessly gathering petition signatures to place the initiative on the ballot. We had many roadblocks and opportunities to give up, but instead, we chose to fight harder. Not only did we prove that Kansas Citians were ready to reform the city’s unjust marijuana laws, we also proved what a small group of committed activists could accomplish with passion and support from the National NORML chapter.

But we’re not going to stop there, because the result at the voting booth on April 4th is only the beginning of our success in Kansas City, and across the state of Missouri.

new-approach-missouri-medical-marijuanaWe are now taking the lessons of the ballot initiative and working with New Approach Missouri, a statewide medical cannabis initiative. The campaign is off to a strong start and has already collected over 50,000 signatures statewide. NORML KC is excited to be supporting this important effort, together with the other Missouri NORML chapters. United, we will bring positive change to our community and beyond.

Click here to support NORML KC’s work with a contribution

As part of this effort, we will be joining our fellow activists from across the country this September for the National NORML Conference and Lobby Day.

There, we will participate in a day of panels, trainings, and briefings to both better equip us with the knowledge and confidence we need to engage members of Congress and bring back the experiences from NORML chapters throughout the country back to Missouri to be more effective in our home state.

At this critical time in our nation’s history, we have reached an inflection point and it is essential to build the organization and power. If we could do it in KC – why not MO or DC?

Thanks for all that you have done, are doing, and will do in the future. We’re only going to win when we work together.

Jamie Kacz is the Executive Director of NORM KC, and the architect of the successful 2017 ballot initiative which decriminalized marijuana in Kansas City.

Click here to support NORML KC’s work with a contribution

You can follow NORML KC on Facebook and Twitter

9 thoughts

  1. 75%! Kannabis City has Eclipsed any prior rather confusing name the place may have had.
    Now something off the wall– suppose you
    entered a Dispensary and saw a wallful of flexdrawtube oneheater utensils, some of them boasting not only the #40-screened quarter-inch-diameter crater-piece– a socket wrench or barbed hose nipple, as shown in the typeface-generated illustrations at the top of “Make-DIY-Pipes-From-Everyday-Objects”– but maybe also a gorgeously carved or illustrated chillum-shaped woodhaendel, the “Chooooomette”, in which the crater-piece is snugly embedded, and from the butt end of which the pvc drawtube protrudes– plus an attached wirebraid leading to a handy Screen Maintenance Utensil (strong 2-inch safety pin which can gently open screen windows and also lever out the screen periodically for inner channel gook removal).
    Yes, do the Conference and learn how to lobby the legislators, and if there was a radio station KCMO I’d urge them to play a tuneful setting of the above text 59 times next 4/20, to make Missouri, not misery, the canvass capital of the world.

    1. I think the Chooooomette easily Eclipses a Swiss army knife.

      On a related note, congrats to the good people of KC. 75%? There’s some smart people in KC.

  2. This is so inspiring! The citizens of Missouri deserve this just as much as any other American citizen in Colorado or Washington or elsewhere, and maybe more, given their grievous history of racial injustice and arrest rate disparities.

    The racist right wing in America does not want to lose this racist weapon (marijuana prohibition) and so they will fight against legalization.

    But realize and remember, if they (the prohibitionists) win OR DRAW, we (legalizers) lose. That’s because “a draw” isn’t a tie in this case. A draw represents a legal formalization and normalization of the Jim Crow Laws aspects of marijuana prohibition, writ large across the nation, as is the case when only some (predominately white and affluent) segments of the country are free to smoke the stuff, but while other segments of the country, predominately non-white and/or economically and politically disadvantaged (blacks, Mexicans, hippies, hillbillies, and what have you) continue to be subjected to ever-increasing drug war violence and madness.

    “A draw” would lock in White Privilege with respect to marijuana, and would ensure racial arrest rate disparities would continue and even increase. This would be, and is now, unacceptable. Missouri must legalize it!

    Yet this is still an area where progressives, as I have been advising all along, need to steer way clear of philosophical support for “state’s rights”, which is not a progressive value. When we progressives promote state’s rights because we stand to gain from it, that’s called “situational ethics” and “hypocrisy.” We use state’s rights, such as they are, and where they exist legally, to save lives, based on the greater principle of Harm Reduction. But state’s rights is not our agenda. Eye on the ball!

    1. What about the non-racist right? Hmmm? Some of us don’t care for overbearing government. 2nd Amendment is just one of many. Try the 9th and 10th too! States are the laboratories of democracy. 50 of ’em, each having a different idea of what works.

      Take Alaska. It votes GOP and yet has had the longest time with legal MJ due to their state’s justices rulings on privacy issues. Take North Carolina, which had the GOP dominated legislature pass the “bathroom bill” and then saw it signed into law by the GOP governor. Trump won NC but the GOP governor got shot down in November 2016 after so much backlash came his way from multiple sources. Look at New York, a real bastion of the liberals and how they still treat MJ as a criminal matter. Did you know only two states have not legalized gambling, Utah and Hawai’i. How’s that for two completely different constituencies? Utah goes GOP in the general election and Hawai’i goes Demo with the Aloha State having a 100% Demo legislature.

      Let freedom ring, not neofascist ideological lockstep liberalism 2017 vintage, not radical right racism with ancient roots and modern expression.

      Hint: Punish the mayor and KC Star by encouraging a new primary opponent and general election opponent to come forth so one less obstructionist remains, then combine that with boycotting the Star while taking campaign dollars elsewhere. If there really is 75% support for one side, they should prevail handily with these moves, ya’ think?

      1. @ MAGA Man,

        “The non-racist right?”

        What delightful fairy tales you weave! How charmingly impish of you! Why, what a wonderful world it would be if Republicans hadn’t embraced a idiot white supremacist as their chosen Representative. But you did, you racist prick.

        If only Republicans had the fundamental decency to unequivocally reject Trump and the repugnant Nazi shit that spews from his mouth; what a blissful, fanciful dream world that would be! But they don’t; and it ain’t; so snap the fuck out of it and stop talking shit.

        Trump is a fucking racist. The Republicans won’t renounce him. In fact, they continue to enable him. That makes every single goddamn Republican a fucking racist prick. There’s no way around it. Silence in the face of racism is complicity; support for Trump makes you a racist Nazi asshole, whether you admit it or not.

        As for the rest of your “Gish Gallop” bullshit, don’t waste my precious time… Fuck off.

      2. You call yourself “MAGAman?” and you think you’re not racist? Your banner has been usurped by your racist leader. Youre not fooling anyone claiming you dont discriminate hiding behind a racist leader with a racist slogan (America was always great, @$$#ole!) …or your rebel flag with a swastika on it so please spare us the bull$#!+.

        As for states rights, this isnt 1960 and were not talking about the south’s right to maintain the old Jim Crow. But we will throw it in every legislators face, Republican or Democrat, that going against states rights today and by refusing to allow states to legalize marijuana as states see fit, is in fact the New Jim Crow.
        Lets not make the perfect the enemy of the good and wake up and realize that supporting the SMART Act is one of the best chances we have to preserve the Republic. Stand up for smart legislation. Read what the bills propose by clicking on the links and reading them on this website. Personalize our message on the prescripted letters. Call your state legislators and support state legislation to legalize marijuana too. The answer here is not either or its both and more.

      3. @ MAGA Man,
        Awww! That’s sweet. Bring it on in here, you big knucklehead.

        But will you still respect me after The Resistance prevails?

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