Missouri: Springfield City Council Votes On Municipal Marijuana Depenalization Measure

Springfield, MO: Members of the Springfield City Council voted 6 to 3 on Monday to act on a petition-based ordinance that seeks to significantly reduce the penalties associated with the possession of marijuana. Citizen proponents of the measure – Show-Me Cannabis Regulation and Springfield NORML – collected some 2,600 signatures from municipal voters to place the proposal before the Council. If city lawmakers had not decided in favor of the proposal, then it would have gone before voters this November.

Despite the favorable vote, some members of the Council have indicated their opposition to the ordinance. The Council can amend the measure within the next 30 days.

As written, the measure amends local penalties for the possession of up to 35 grams of cannabis by adults to primarily a fine-only offense. It also allows for violators to have their arrest record expunged after two years, and requires City Council to create a citizens oversight committee to monitor the ordinance’s implementation and enforcement.

The local measure is modeled after a similar municipal decriminalization ordinance that was previously approved by 61 percent of Columbia, MO voters in 2004.

Nevertheless, several members of the Council have expressed their intentions to significantly alter or even ‘gut‘ the ordinance – alleging that its provisions are ‘faulty’ and ‘unenforceable.’

Under state law, possession of 35 grams or less is defined as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

For more information, please visit: http://show-mecannabis.com/.