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Rain Snuffs Pot Group's Signature Surge

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
Drizzling rain shut down plans for a signature “surge” rally for a marijuana decriminalization petition Saturday at a Joplin park, but organizers said they planned to take to the streets for signatures.

“Nobody’s going to come out in this,” said Kelly Maddy, president of Sensible Joplin. “We’re going to have to go to them.”

Maddy has been leading a campaign to place a marijuana decriminalization initiative on the November ballot. He said door-to-door canvassing has netted an additional 350 signatures, leaving the group roughly 750 names shy of its goal.

Maddy and a handful of volunteers collected more than 5,600 signatures since September 2007. The petitions were submitted to City Hall on July 10. City officials said the group collected 3,623 signatures from registered Joplin voters, but it needs an additional 1,033 valid signatures to meet the necessary number to put a proposal before voters.

Maddy and his organization will have until Friday to collect the needed signatures. The city clerk then will have five days to review the petitions.

The group also plans to set up a tent at Discount Smokes and Liquor, 1817 S. Main St., and will have canvassers at the Joplin Public Library until the deadline.

The magic number of signatures is 4,656, or roughly 15 percent of the total number of registered voters in Joplin at the time of the most recent city election, which was in April.

If the group obtains the required number of signatures, the City Council on its own could make the proposal law, but Mayor Gary Shaw has said the panel most likely would defer to the voters on the issue.

If the city clerk finds that the petitions carry an adequate number of signatures, residents would vote on a proposal that says adults charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, which is 35 grams (1.225 ounces) or less, or with possession of marijuana paraphernalia would not be jailed or have to post bond. Those found guilty in municipal court would be subject to a $250 maximum fine.

Maddy said he has filed an open-records request with the city to obtain a list of the invalid signatures, with an eye toward potentially challenging their disqualification.

“We’re hopeful,” he said. “And if we don’t make it, we’re going to be dang close.”

News Hawk: User: 420 MAGAZINE ® - Medical Marijuana Publication & Social Networking
Source: the Joplin Globe
Copyright: 2008 Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.
Contact: The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO - Home
Website: The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO - Rain snuffs pot group's signature surge
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