August 03, 2012

News Release

For Immediate Release

Marijuana Petition Headed to Council

A petition to decriminalize marijuana will go before City Council Aug. 13, now that the required signatures (2,101 were needed) have been certified by the City Clerk's office. City Clerk Brenda Cirtin said her office certified 2,132 signatures for the initiative petition Aug. 2. The petition was organized in part by Show-Me Cannibus Regulation group.

City Council has two options: adopt the petition as presented or send it to the vote of the people. The City Charter requires the issue to be presented at the next available election, in this case, November.

Greene County Clerk Richard Struckhoff estimates the cost of the election to the City of Springfield to be close to $180,000. That makes up about 1/3 of the City's general fund contingency.

"By the time we get to November, at the close of the books, (the fourth Wednesday before the election), the number of registered voters is going to be way above the current number of 107,894," Struckhoff said. "We expect to add 10,000 students alone."

The petition seeks to lessen the penalty of having 35 grams or less of marijuana or related paraphernalia. It requests an amendment to an existing ordinance so adults are not arrested and only face a fine, community service or counseling for possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana. The most severe penalty would be a fine of up to $150.

Current punishment can include as many as 180 days in jail and/or a fine as high as $1,000.

The number of signatures required for an initiative petition to go to City Council varies depending on the number of voters in the most recent municipal general election (April, odd years). The City Charter specifies that 10% of votes cast must be obtained.

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

Office of the City Clerk

840 Boonville Avenue • P.O. Box 8368 • Springfield, MO 65801
417-864-1651 • Fax: 417-864-1649 • springfieldmo.gov