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Petition Initiative On Medical Marijuana Discussed In Springfield


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Two Springfield City Council members' attempt to generate buzz about medicinal marijuana appeared to be a success Tuesday, with attendees talking about a possible petition initiative in 2012.

"It's the start of a movement," said Councilman Dan Chiles, who hosted the event with fellow council-member Doug Burlison.

About 100 people attended the evening meeting at The Library Center, resulting in standing room only in the pair of linked meeting rooms where the film "What if Cannabis Cured Cancer?" was shown.

After the film, keynote speaker and advocate Mark Pederson introduced several Missouri residents who use marijuana medicinally.

"We are all ages and all walks of life ... not just the stoners in the corner," said Linda Yelvington, who lives south of Joplin and uses marijuana in place of prescription painkillers for scoliosis.

Brian Chitwood, who lives in French Village, said he smoked hash while undergoing chemotherapy following his cancer diagnosis in June 2008 and continues to use a "cannabis paste" as a topical treatment for tumors.

The possibility of changing local ordinance to allow marijuana to be used for medical purposes in Springfield dominated a question and answer session that followed.

Attorney Dan Viets of Columbia said the 2004 petition decriminalizing medicinal marijuana for medical use there passed with 70 percent of the vote.

Viets suggested Springfield supporters first attempt to garner the support of the City Council, then gather signatures to place the issue before local voters.

"The time to do that is November 2012 ... I think that's a very realistic timeline," Viets said, noting medicinal marijuana initiatives traditionally have benefited from high voter turnout.

Pederson, director of the statewide advocacy group Sensible Missouri, said a statewide effort is possible in 2012, as well.

NewsHawk: MedicalNeed: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: news-leader.com
Author: Amos Bridges
Contact: News-Leader.com | Springfield Customer Service | Springfield News-Leader
Copyright: 2010 news-leader.com
Website: Petition initiative on medical marijuana discussed in Springfield | News-Leader.com | Springfield News-Leader
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