Marijuana Advocates Sue City of Springfield for Blocking Decriminalization Ordinance

"It appeared to us to violate state and federal law," he says of the proposal, referencing a portion of the ordinance regarding expungements, by which offenders seek to have their records cleared.

He says the proposal was written in a way that would allow expungements outside of the boundaries written into Missouri law.

via Wikimedia Commons

He argues the city cannot allow a measure to go to a vote of the people if it violates state and federal law. (Payne, in response, says he believes it was legal and that regardless, "They don't get to decide what is legal and illegal. They're not the judicial branch." He also argues that if a portion of the ordinance was found to be illegal in court, then it could be severed from the rest of the policy).

Wichmer also rejects the notion that the ordinance was passed with the intention of immediate repeal.

He says City Council members passed it with some believing that they might be able to amend it to make it legally sound. When they could not hammer out a solution, then they repealed it, he argues.

Asked if it was a deliberate pass and repeal tactic, he says, "I don't agree with that at all."

Payne says decriminalization efforts like this can make a big difference for hundreds of people facing these arrests every year. "This would probably drop that number dramatically and save those people...from having the arrests go on their permanent criminal record."

Payne says he hopes voters will eventually get an opportunity to consider this in Springfield, though he notes that by 2016, Show-Me Cannabis may very well be more focused on a statewide initiative to fully legalize marijuana in Missouri.

Here's the full complaint, filed on Wednesday.

Springfield Filed Complaint With Exhibits

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