Update: Via MPP, the Springfield city council voted to block efforts to get this on the ballot, despite the certified and legitimate petitions by Show Me Cannabis. Here’s hoping they have some legal recourse against this blatantly anti-democratic political maneuvering.
A petition to decriminalize possession of a small amount of marijuana has received enough signatures and will now move forward to the City Council for consideration. According to the Springfield News-Leader, the petition was certified by City Clerk Brendat Cirtin with 2,132 signatures.
A city ordinance decriminalizing pot possession would result in those caught with small amounts of marijuana being fined rather than charged with a crime. Decriminalization and legalization are not the same. However, this would be a step towards lessening penalties for the possession of the most common and least harmful controlled substance.
The initiative would lessen the penalty for those caught with 35 grams or less of pot. The applicable fine would be no more than $150. Currently, possession of up to 35 grams is punishable with misdemeanor penalties including up to 180 days in jail and fines reaching $1,000.
The Show-Me Cannabis group was behind the petition circulated around the city. They had a signature gathering company and another 15 volunteers working to gather the needed signatures before the Aug. 7 deadline.
Now, the issue goes before the City Council. The Springfield City Council can pass the initiative or place it on the November ballot to allow Springfield voters to decide. While passing the initiative would mean immediate success, the growing support for more lenient marijuana laws could translate into a passage at the ballot as well.
Petition organizer Maranda Reynolds said, “We are going to focus on convincing the City Council that they should just pass it now rather than hand it to the voters. These are things that most people want, whether they think marijuana is a good thing or bad thing.”
More and more people across the country are warming up to marijuana legalization and certainly to decriminalization of possession of marijuana. The prison system and criminal courts are too overrun to continue to funnel pot offenders into them. After all, it’s not a deadly substance, it’s natural, and it has numerous medical benefits.
The City Council will take up the issue at their August 13th meeting.
If you’ve been charged with a marijuana offense in Kansas City, Missouri or surrounding areas, we may be able to help. Contact our offices today for a free consultation on your case.