Springfield Missouri: Briefly Bud City

DANGER!Our silly state retains among the harshest marijuana laws in the country.

Possession of any amount of marijuana — even a single gram–  is punishable by up to a year in the joint and a $1,000 fine. Possession above an ounce and a quarter may garner you a seven year jolt, complete with a felony record. 1

Law enforcement is so OCD on the subject that over 91% of all marijuana arrests are for simple possession. 2

Yet there have been common sense attempts in the state legislature to either revoke or ameliorate said nonsense, the latest of which is House Bill 1421, which would allow Missourians with debilitating conditions to grow up to three marijuana plants with a yield of up to one ounce per plant. It would also legalize medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

The bill was referred back in March to the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee, which has no hearings scheduled. 3

So it was a small surprise when Springfield city council passed Ordinance 6011 this August. That law penalized smokers caught with less that 36 grams of herb with simple tickets and a maximum fine of $150. The tickets would be considered municipal infractions, as opposed to state misdemeanors.

The Springfield law was similar to one passed in Columbia in 2004. That law has been publicly lauded and, notably, changed the course of at least one person’s life, Governor Jay Nixon’s son Will.

A good thing, right?

Apparently not.

On Monday night, less than a month after their original action, the Springfield city council voted 7-2 to repeal the marijuana ordinance.

“If approved, it would conflict with state and federal law,” said Councilman John Rush, who added that he thought supporters of the new rules were sincere, but sincerly(sic) wrong. “This ordinance seems to serve no one. This was so flawed that to go further would have served no purpose.”

…Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky then asked the Assistant City Clerk to read Council’s Oath of Office.

“I don’t think that we can, in any conscious, support any bill other than Council Bill 254,” she said after the oath was read aloud.

Le sigh… 4

Oh well, the world will out; always does.

In the meantime Springfield is still far and away our favorite place to view outdoor body suspensions. We’re talking hooks, involuntary participants and (obviously) a ton o’ drugs, city council advice aside. Good times.

WNBTv - Good TV!

Show 4 footnotes

  1. Don’t forget the $5,000 fine.
  2. PDF here. Relevant information starts at the bottom of page 21.
  3. Good luck with that.
  4. It’s worth noting that Springfield at least “addressed” the pot issue; at that same August meeting (wherein ordinance 6011 was adopted…only to be later beaten about the head and shoulders until it bled out) the council tabled a proposal to extend Springfield’s nondiscrimination ordinance to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. At a later council meeting, perhaps October –when everyone is worried about the little children cross-dressing for Satan– the Council will then quietly do some gay bashing, clubbing this idea about the head and shoulders until it, too, bleeds out.

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