Marijuana: Joplin, Missouri, Decrim Initiative in Final Signature-Gathering Push

Organizers of a Joplin, Missouri, initiative that would decriminalize possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana are in a sprint to the wire in a last-minute bid to get the necessary number of signatures to get the measure on the November ballot. During the initial signature-gathering phase, canvassers gathered more than the required number of signatures, but many of them turned out not to be registered Joplin voters. Now the group has a 10-day window from August 5 until August 15 to come up with more valid signatures.

Organized by Sensible Joplin, the initiative would amend a city ordinance to make simple possession a civil infraction with a maximum $250 fine. That would remove the threat of a criminal record and all its collateral consequences from marijuana smokers and would save Joplin law enforcement resources currently being wasted on low-level pot busts, organizers argue.

To get on the ballot, the initiative needs 4,656 valid signatures, or roughly 15% of Joplin voters. Sensible Joplin originally turned in more than 5,600 signatures, but only 3,623 were valid. That means the group needs an additional 1,033 valid signatures in the next two weeks.

Organizers said it could be done. "It's definitely a workable situation," Kelly Maddy, president of Sensible Joplin and Joplin NORML told the Joplin Globe this week. "We still feel really good that we have a fighting chance to get this thing on the ballot."

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Sensible Joplin needs to get some Libertarian petitioners. Those guys know how to collect valid sigs.

i believe

you should just legalize it all over missouri.
people are going to smoke it rather it's legal or not, and it will cut back on prison rates. I think people should have a certain amount they can possess without getting into trouble, but all in all an it would heelp cut down on the prison rates.

This is urgently needed

I have several people that i know that actually need marajuana that cant use or possess it because of its illegal status. These are people in their 40's and 50's not a bunch of teenaged punks looking for a thrill. Even still, one of the social benefits, most apparent to me, is that if it were legal to grow, possess, and use, not only would the billoins of dollars spent to fight the WAR on pot smokers would be an immediate savings and boost to state and local communities by easing budget constraints, but could be taxed like cigarettes and alchohol. Again, we would see a significant increase in revenue and both the state and local levels. The enevitable businesses that would spring up from the sale and taxing would generate even more jobs for the community. Marajuana would no longer be a gateway drug to the "HARD" stuff, because they would not have to find a scumbag dealer to buy from, which is likely to try and sell them the more profitable harder drugs. Prohibition needs to come to an end!!

The downside is that we would see more use and possession. There may also be more dependancy problems (although it is not physically addictive) and the laws for driving and using that are already in place would still be appropriate.

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