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Springfield Marijuana Decriminalization Ordinance Repealed, Democracy Abused


springfield missouri marijuana ordinanceMembers Of The Springfield City Council That Fought Ordinance Need To Be Voted Out

The Springfield, Missouri, City Council just voted 7-2 to repeal a recently passed marijuana decriminalization ordinance according to Springfield News-Leader reporter Amos Bridges’ Twitter feed.  A sincere thanks to Council Members Doug Burlison and Scott Bailes for respecting the political process, regardless of any personal feelings about the ordinance they may have had.  The ordinance was placed before them by hard-working activists who braved the sweltering Missouri summer to collect thousands of signatures.  Lacking the decency to send the issue to the voters, a majority of the council voted to pass the measure, only to repeal it 30 days later, without letting voters have their say.

The National Cannabis Coalition will continue working with these great activists in the Show-Me State every step of the way.  A lawsuit could very well be filed as the Springfield City Council clearly abused the citizen initiative law.  We may also help fund another signature drive to place this measure before the council again, and hopefully, the future makeup of the city council will include elected officials who respect the democratic process, regardless of their personal feelings regarding marijuana law reform.  Please donate to this important effort that can have impact in Missouri and beyond.

The Springfield News-Leader had a great editorial on this issue, with the headline “City Council should honor marijuana petition, respect political process”:

Passing the initiative that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana just to repeal it is wrong, no matter how you feel about someone lighting up.


If they take the action they have proposed — to gut the ordinance completely — they may be able to argue the letter of the law allows them to do it, but the intent of the law does not. It is also likely to end up in court, costing the city anyway.

Council members should set aside their own opposition to marijuana and respect the intent of the people who signed the petition, as well as the right of the voters to decide what they want.

Hopefully, Springfield voters will replace the members who demonstrated a lack of respect for their constituents and the democratic process.  By making a mockery of the initiative petition law, these city council members have made it obvious that they are not worthy of representing the citizens of Springfield, Missouri.

UPDATE: Springfield News-Leader reports on the city council’s unfortunate decision.

Published with special permission from the National Cannabis Coalition


About Author

Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the PAC responsible for Measure 91, that ended cannabis prohibition for all Oregon adults in 2014. In addition to helping organize the International Cannabis Business Conference & the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, he also serves as a Board Member of the National Cannabis Coalition, working to legalize cannabis across the country and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, an organization specifically working to end cannabis prohibition in Missouri. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. Following law school, Anthony practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties. You can follow Anthony on Twitter and also friend him on Facebook by following the links below as he posts mostly about civil liberties and politics with dashes of sports, music, movies and whatnot.


  1. I don’t want a positive note I just want it to be legalized and easier to get….I’m stizzing and want to enjoy it :)

  2. Sweet Anxiety Meet 4Twenty on

    O my gosh!!! they are really abusing Democracy!!! I can’t believe they would pass then repeal… but it seems for our 420 culture it is always 2 steps forward 3 back… We try to get our positive message out there that there is this magical healing plant… and they call it a drug and put us behind bars.. I’m just sick of the suffering!
    read my blog if you want A positive note :)
    This stoner and Activist is moving up in the world!!!
    hit me on facebook too!

  3. Color me unsurprised. It’s a shame that we have these nannies hanging over our shoulders, abusing the power given to them by the citizens, to undo what the people have done becaaaaause . . . ?
    Because they can, that’s why! They’ll decide what we can have. We’re just stupid, adult human beings with the right to vote, and are incapable of deciding what’s best for us on our own as a majority, right? Good lord, politicians of all levels these days sure are power hungry! Way to antagonize the very proletariat who made you people. Tick tock, don’t get too comfy.

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