Mayor Lucas is having his best day as marijuana legislation, police control move towards massive change
After examining the effects of the recent clashes between police and the community, Mayor Quinton Lucas has set about enacting real change to improve the situation within our metro. Today has seen Lucas enact a series of wins, both for him politically, and for us as a whole.
Don’t know where he found time for all of this, or how these actions have come to fruition so quickly, but it is a reminder that motivated politicians on the local level can still get the job done.
Lucas has made national attention for proposing removing all low-level marijuana possession ordinances in the city. Lucas says the move would promote racial equity and criminal justice reform, considering over 60% of people arrested for marijuana in Kansas City are Black, even though they make up less than 30% of the population. Removing these ordinances results in the elimination of many antagonistic situations between the police and the community, as well as redacting prosecutions that I think we collectively can agree are archaic.
This passed the Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee yesterday on a 4-2 vote. It is up for final Council vote on July 9 and it appears that the votes required are already in place.
Also today, Lucas introduced an ordinance to include a ballot question on local control of the Kansas City Police Department on the November election ballot. The proposed ballot question would read as follows:
Shall the City of Kansas City, Missouri establish as a City legislative priority in the Missouri General Assembly the pursuit of a state legislative or referendum action that will return Mayor and City Council-led local control to the Kansas City Police Department rather than the current control of the Kansas City Police Department by a committee comprised of four members appointed by the Governor of Missouri and an additional position held by the Mayor of Kansas City?
“We have heard the community’s demands for an accelerated effort to explore the issue of local control—and today we’re taking decisive action to provide our electorate an opportunity to weigh in on this issue,” said Lucas. “Decisions about the future of public safety in our community should be in the hands of our voters.”
Earlier this month, Mayor Lucas signed onto a list of demands—one of which is to fight for local control—presented by local organizers.
Our upcoming July issue of The Pitch has a deep-dive into why KC is one of the only major cities in America to not control its own police department, so it is good to already see forward momentum in reversing that structural bumble.