Newsbrief: University of Missouri SSDP, NORML in Marijuana Decriminalization Petition Drive 10/4/02

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Columbia, Missouri, home of the University of Missouri, could decriminalize the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana and legalize the use of medical marijuana if student activists have their way. Members of the campus chapters of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) have drafted and are a circulating a petition that would make simple possession punishable only by a ticket and a fine -- $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second, $100 for a third and $500 for a fourth and consecutive offenses.

Campus SSDP head Amy Fritz told DRCNet that petitioners have until mid-December to gather 1,191 signatures and that they currently have about 500. If the organizers gather enough valid signatures, the measure will go before the city council. If the city council votes against the petition or refuses to act, the matter will go before voters in an April election. The effort is generating both media attention and voter registrations, said Fritz.

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