The Springfield, Missouri, marijuana decriminalization ordinance has been on quite a political roller coaster ride since hard-working cannabis activists gathered the necessary signatures to place the proposal before the Springfield City Council. Most expected the city council to reject the measure and send it to the voters this November. Surprisingly, the council passed the measure, but then it became clear that a majority of the council had decided to pass the measure to simply repeal the ordinance and deny voters the chance of having their say. Backed by the National Cannabis Coalition, local activists have made their displeasure known to the city council and have made it clear that they will do everything they can to protect the marijuana ordinance from such political shenanigans.
Not only has the city council’s intention to subvert the democratic process angered activists, but the Springfield News-Leader as well. The News-Leader is the leading daily newspaper in Springfield and their editorial board wants the city council to stop abusing their power in an editorial titled, “City Council should honor marijuana petition, respect political process.” From the News-Leader:
It is obvious from statements made by some Council members that their distaste for marijuana has overridden their respect for the political process that allows voters to have a say in the way their city is run. The law guarantees citizens this avenue to get a law before the voters, even if the City Council doesn’t want it.
If they take the action they have proposed — to gut the ordinance completely — they may be able to argue the letter of the law allows them to do it, but the intent of the law does not. It is also likely to end up in court, costing the city anyway.
Council members should set aside their own opposition to marijuana and respect the intent of the people who signed the petition, as well as the right of the voters to decide what they want.
Regardless how anyone may feel about marijuana, no one supports elected officials abusing the political process. Hopefully, as the Springfield City Council hears from activists, constituents, community leaders and people across the country, they will heed the advice of the Springfield News-Leader and trust the democratic process and let the decriminalization ordinance remain or give the voters their say. The National Cannabis Coalition will be helping Springfield activists every step of the way. Please consider making a donation to help fund the lobbying effort, possible litigation and, if necessary, a referendum or another initiative petition campaign.
Published with special permission from the National Cannabis Coalition