With marijuana legalization in Missouri, mayor says Kansas City shouldn’t be considered a ‘big weed smoking area’ | KCUR 89.3 | Media Pyro


Missourians can expect access to recreational marijuana in February.

After voters on Tuesday approved Amendment 3, allowing anyone over the age of 21 to buy marijuana products, the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services began transferring business licenses on December 8. Businesses licensed to supply medical marijuana will be transferred. to entertainment licensees.

In River Bend, a town north of Independence, developers were quick to announce plans for something new Recreational areas allow open use of marijuana. The area includes wedding venues, theater, restaurants and clubs.

Such conditions are unlikely in Kansas City, said Mayor Quinton Lucas.

“To me the most important thing is how do you make sure you’re not creating things that look like a red light district,” Lucas told KCUR.

Instead, Lucas said, he sees Kansas City adopting a “cigar store” mentality — where individual locations and shops set their own policies. Lucas said he wants to prevent development that creates “marijuana spots in the city limits.”

“You’re not going to see a big change from the current entertainment districts that you have now, from their own rules on these types of issues,” Lucas said. “I don’t think we have, let’s say, the Power and Light District as a big weed smoking area.”

Under Amendment 3, public use of marijuana it is still banned throughout the country. Driving while under the influence is illegal, as is selling drugs to anyone under 21.

Although the consumption of marijuana in public places is punishable by fines, it is mostly left up to the city and local law enforcement agencies. Kansas City Council voted to end the prosecution for possession of marijuana at the city level in 2020.

Lucas said the people of Kansas will not see any enforcement changes.

“One of the key things for us in Kansas City is to make sure we have our own regulatory tools in place for how we can make sure stores are distributing or following all the right laws,” Lucas said. “It’s true that the discussions with the Kansas City Police Department are about the kind of control. Now, fortunately, in Kansas City, we have regulated marijuana for a long time, and it was years ago.

The amendment includes an automatic 6% state tax, which goes into the Missouri Veterans Health and Welfare Fund. It also includes the option for cities to have up to a 3% additional sales tax with voter approval.

Kansas City voters will be asked to approve that additional tax on April 4, after the Kansas City Council on Thursday a law was accepted to put the question on the municipal ballot. If approved, the money would come from a tax on marijuana and alcohol laws, law enforcement and “quality of neighborhood.”

“In Kansas City, we’re looking at branding for immediate reasons,” Lucas said. “Let’s make sure we address local concerns like code enforcement and especially garbage collection and disposal laws. It’s something that affects many Kansas City neighborhoods. And from time to time, In the past, City Hall had a small budget.

With the tax money, the city hopes to expand the Regulated Industries Division, which also oversees alcohol and adult entertainment businesses, among others. Lucas said most of last year’s tax revenue will likely go to fund that department.

“We want to know where the new enforcement will come from above the state of Kansas City,” Lucas said. “You don’t need some kind of big new thing that’s going to be done, it’s going to be big, and we’re going to have it, like a manager that’s been doing a lot of work across the city.”

Kansas City is also asking Kansas to change its drug laws so that people don’t face penalties when they cross state lines with the marijuana they bought in Missouri.

“We all walk across the state line — multiple times a day,” Lucas said. “I don’t want Kansas people to be incarcerated in Kansas for these types of possession crimes,” he said. “And frankly, I don’t want Kansans to be wrapped up in that.”


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