May 01, 2014

News Release

For Immediate Release

City reaches resolution in marijuana lawsuit

Although the settlement process is not complete, the City of Springfield confirms a resolution of a lawsuit filed last year by Maranda Reynolds, Show-Me Cannabis (based in St. Louis) and American Victory Coalition (based out of Oregon). The lawsuit was over legislation to lessen the penalties for marijuana possession. Neither party admitted fault and the matter was settled “with prejudice” meaning the plaintiff may not file a new complaint based on the same transactions and/or occurrences.

Neither party admitted fault and the matter was settled “with prejudice” meaning the plaintiff may not file a new complaint based on the same transactions and/or occurrences. View the agreement (pdf).

During court-ordered mediation, both parties determined the expense of litigation would be minimized through the settlement. The City agreed to a settlement of $225,000, based on the potential cost of defense. The City’s General Fund will cover $50,000 and $175,000 will be covered by insurance.

“Given the complexity of the litigation and the amount of time both parties have put into prosecuting and defending the claim, our insurance representatives felt it was in the best interest of all parties go end this costly endeavor,” said Dan Wichmer, City Attorney.

Facts of the lawsuit

The plaintiffs submitted an initiative petition with an ordinance that decriminalized marijuana possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana.

When it was presented to City Council, some members expressed concerns about the legality of the language. Council passed the ordinance, with the goal being to amend it to remove the infirmities, but could not agree on how to amend the bill, so the bill was repealed.

At issue: the plaintiffs claimed the matter should have been sent to a popular vote. Certain Council members disagreed, calling it an illegal ordinance and saying that it is their duty to avoid expending taxpayer funds on illegal legislation.

For more information, contact: Cora Scott, Director of Public Information & Civic Engagement, 417-864-1009 (office) | 417-380-3352 (cell), cscott@springfieldmo.gov

city of springfield

Department of Public Information

840 Boonville Avenue • P.O. Box 8368 • Springfield, MO 65801
417-864-1010 • Fax: 417-864-1114 • springfieldmo.gov