Marijuana: Springfield Politicians Again Reject Pot Reform Law, Activists Consider Lawsuit

"You have a right to petition your government," Payne says, arguing that Springfield leaders can't just block this issue from even getting a vote when supporters have collected the necessary signatures.

Springfield Cannabis Regulation, a local affiliate to Show-Me Cannabis, could lead a suit against the city. Payne says the groups are currently in discussion.

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John Payne of Show-Me Cannabis.

"A lot of politicians are just afraid," Payne says. "They see the policy arguments for changing it but they are stuck in this idea that drugs are bad and we have to send a message to kids.... You are arresting a large chuck of every new generation. That's not really an effective message."

(Daily RFT left messages with the Springfield mayor, city attorney and a council member who has opposed these reforms; we'll update if we hear back).

Of a potential lawsuit, Burlison says, "I think their claims are justified."

Speaking of current marijuana policies, he says, "I just think it's borderline insane to keep Prohibition Era-type politics in place."

Supporters of reforms -- whether minor reforms or full legalization -- argue that current laws against pot create an unnecessary drain on limited law enforcement resources and are hypocritical given society's treatment of alcohol, a more harmful substance.

"I would hope that down the road, we would just get rid of any restrictions on cannabis products and hemp products," Burlison says.

Marijuana has proven to be an important medicine for some disorders and diseases, he argues.

"I'm even hesitant to call it a substance," he says. "It's a plant product that's safer than alcohol."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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