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Marijuana: Joplin, Missouri, Decrim Initiative In Final Signature-Gathering Push


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Organizers of a Joplin, Missouri, initiative that would decriminalize possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana are in a sprint to the wire in a last-minute bid to get the necessary number of signatures to get the measure on the November ballot. During the initial signature-gathering phase, canvassers gathered more than the required number of signatures, but many of them turned out not to be registered Joplin voters. Now the group has a 10-day window from August 5 until August 15 to come up with more valid signatures.

Organized by Sensible Joplin, the initiative would amend a city ordinance to make simple possession a civil infraction with a maximum $250 fine. That would remove the threat of a criminal record and all its collateral consequences from marijuana smokers and would save Joplin law enforcement resources currently being wasted on low-level pot busts, organizers argue.

To get on the ballot, the initiative needs 4,656 valid signatures, or roughly 15% of Joplin voters. Sensible Joplin originally turned in more than 5,600 signatures, but only 3,623 were valid. That means the group needs an additional 1,033 valid signatures in the next two weeks.

Organizers said it could be done. "It's definitely a workable situation," Kelly Maddy, president of Sensible Joplin and Joplin NORML told the Joplin Globe this week. "We still feel really good that we have a fighting chance to get this thing on the ballot."

Newshawk: JohnnyPotSmoker: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: Drug War Chronicle, DC
Copyright: 2008 DRCNet
Contact: The Drug Reform Coordination Network
Website: Marijuana: Joplin, Missouri, Decrim Initiative In Final Signature-Gathering Push
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