Pictured: A visitor lights a marijuana joint in coffee shop Mississippi in Maastricht, southern Netherlands in December 2013. (Ermindo Armino, The Associated Press)

Kansas City voters approve lower penalties for weed possession

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Possession of small amounts of marijuana in Kansas City will no longer bring a large fine or the possibility of jail time.

Kansas City voters on Tuesday approved a proposal that lowers the maximum fine to $25 from $500 and removes the possibility of up 180 days in jail.

The Kansas City Star reports the change applies only to cases in municipal court in which defendants possessed 35 grams or less of marijuana — about 1 1/4 ounces. Pleading guilty would still leave a mark on the defendant’s record, even if the ordinance violation isn’t technically a criminal matter.

The measure also eliminated city charges for possession of marijuana-related paraphernalia.

The Kansas City Star reports that the measure was winning 71 percent of the vote with 97 percent of precincts reporting.

Twenty-nine states plus Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana either for recreational or medical use. Missouri this year eliminated jail time for first-time offenders convicted of possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana.

Information from: The Kansas City Star