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Springfield, Missouri, Decriminalizes Marijuana Possession, But...

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #748)
Drug War Issues

The Springfield, Missouri, city council voted 6-3 Monday night to adopt an ordinance decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana, but immediately announced plans to amend it or even gut it. The council was forced either to adopt the ordinance or place it before the voters on the November ballot after activists from Show-Me Cannabis Regulation gathered enough signatures to bring the proposal forward.

The ordinance reduces the penalty for possession of up to an ounce and a quarter of pot to a maximum $150 fine. It also requires the council to create an oversight committee to monitor the ordinance and it allows violators to have their records expunged after two years.

The vote came after the city attorney told the council the city has no authority to expunge records under state law. The city attorney also said an initiative ordinance cannot require the city to form an oversight committee.

Council members said they voted for the ordinance mainly to avoid the $180,000 cost of putting it to the voters and that they would work to fix what they saw as problems with it.

"It doesn't do what the petitioners want; it just fouls up the system," Councilman John Rush complained.

It isn't clear exactly what changes the council has in mind. One councilman, Tom Bieker, said he wants to amend it "to the extent we are comfortable with," while Mayor Robert Stephens said the council might try to "correct the faulty areas."

The council will present possible amendments for consideration as part of an emergency bill when it meets on September 10. But in the meantime, Springfield has decriminalized marijuana possession.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


James h (not verified)

 Look out for the Fed for they will come marching in. Be respectful but show then what kind of  money could be in it. Prepare for hemp...Thos hulking old Walmart stores will make good marijuana grow facilities cause once they start farming hemp out doors sinsy will not be available. This is temporary and the law is scary but be brave and show what money could be in store for every one.

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 4:35pm Permalink
kevin11 (not verified)

In reply to by James h (not verified)

"Look out for the Fed for they will come marching in...Prepare for hemp...Thos hulking old Walmart stores will make good marijuana grow facilities"

Easy there,  James, marijuana has been decriminalized, not legalized.  The feds won't come marching in because it won't be legal to possess or grow marijuana in Springfield.

Still, it's a step in the right direction..

Quoting George Schultz: “For 40 years now, our nation's approach has been to criminalize the entire process of producing, transporting, selling and using drugs, with the exception of tobacco and alcohol. Our judgment, shared by other members of the commission, is that this approach has not worked, just as our national experiment with the prohibition of alcohol failed.”
Source: A Real Debate About Drug Policy By George P. Shultz And Paul A. Volcker

George Schultz served as the United States Secretary of Laborand the U.S. Secretary of the Treasuryunder Nixon, and as the U.S. Secretary of Stateunder Reagan.

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 6:54pm Permalink
It's food it's… (not verified)

Oh great now were gonna have hooligans running around naked in the streets killing, raping people and injecting themselves with joints! What has the world come to! Alcohol, cars, and tobacco individually kill more people every year but weed is still more dangerous!
Wed, 08/29/2012 - 5:07pm Permalink
Anonymous rzrback (not verified)

In reply to by It's food it's… (not verified)

I think that you are ignorant and have no knowledge about marijuana. Decriminalizing this plant that God put here does not cause people to run around naked and rape people. You will still have people that abuse it, just like you have people that abuse alcohol. I dont see you banning alcohol. How many innocent people have to die because of a drunk driver before anything gets done about that. Caffeine and prescription pills kill more people than marijuana, so do cigarettes. Why dont you research the health benefits before you go bashing something that you obviously know nothing about. Also, an estimated 42 million dollar profit in the first year alone, due to legalizing and taxing this soundslike an economy booster to me. Im not saying that you're going to completely get rid of the blackmarket, but it would put some of your street dealers out of business.
Wed, 08/29/2012 - 6:43pm Permalink
p (not verified)

In reply to by It's food it's… (not verified)

weed is dangerous... dear god some one give this guy a joint. i am a combat veteran I have been on every anti- anxiety med you can find and the side effects are far worse than that of weed, and ill tell you I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF SOMEONE DYING OR KILLING THEM SELF FROM SMOKING. and the hooligans you talk of, guess what, they have been their for years people cause trouble get use to it. the killing in the streets are the gangs, people getting raped thats just bad people you dumb ass, weed causes none of that. our laws are ass backwards, what does weed do to your body that alcohol and tobacco doesn't? fact is is that its less harmful for your body and has more medical bennifits than most drugs the doctor will give you and none of the side effects. COME ON MAN. think before you speak

Thu, 09/27/2012 - 10:35pm Permalink
Anonymous1 (not verified)

Haha I don't think the feds care about a small decriminalizing bill plenty of states have them and have not seen any problems at all. Especially with medical they have their hands full doubt the feds care about this at all. Good luck Missouri!
Wed, 08/29/2012 - 6:22pm Permalink
Youmomma (not verified)

You have literally no sense of sarcasm, do you? I read his comment and knew someone would be dumb enough to think he was serious. People like you are a perfect example of how society can be stupid enough to make a plant illegal.

Fri, 08/31/2012 - 12:32pm Permalink
RandomStrangeButGood (not verified)

Common stressors of life are unavoidable now, especially for the lower class, those who do not have money say for rent and bills, maybe food, this might be a catch 22, decriminalized weed... where would one get some, followed by, how do i afford it... lol

 oh well

Mon, 09/24/2012 - 4:41am Permalink
A young weed s… (not verified)

I think that Marijuana should definitely be legalized because it simply impairs the users it does not damage them in any way really the worst effect of this would be a lot of people who are way less uptight and less of  jack asses. I know that some will overuse it but the overall effect would simply be less jail time for people who want to unwind without alcohol. I very much hope that Missouri, my home :) will legalize marijuana and embrace the 21st century.

Tue, 02/19/2013 - 9:35pm Permalink

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