The city council of Springfield, Mo., recently passed a city ordinance decriminalizing marijuana. The body was forced into such a position by a petition drive led by the group Springfield Cannabis Regulation. Two weeks after the ordinance passed, it may be repealed by a vote of the council. The first meeting to discuss amending the law is Monday night.
* KSPR reports the nine-member body will hear public views on amendments or an outright repeal Monday night. Four changes to the measure will be offered, including the repeal. Portions of the ordinance are illegal and go against state law. Because the changes are being read aloud for the first time, citizens have a chance to voice their concerns or support for the marijuana ordinance.
* Council Bill 2012-227 made it just an infraction, without an arrest, for someone to possess 35 grams or less of marijuana. The ordinance also expunged court records after two years of someone's misdemeanor possession charge.
* Once the petition got enough signatures, the city council had to approve it or send it to a vote of the people. The initial measure passed by a vote of 6-3 on Aug. 27. If the bill failed, Springfieldians would have had to pay $180,000 for ballots during the November general election.
* The Springfield City Council would also provide an oversight committee to review implementation of the law. Other language states if any portion of the ordinance is declared invalid, the remaining provision will still be in place.
* The maximum fine imposed for a small amount of marijuana is $150 under the new provision. The law also instructs the Springfield Police Department to make marijuana enforcement the lowest priority for officers.
* KSPR reveals two parts of the law are illegal--the portion dealing with a citizen's oversight committee and the part expunging court records after two years. Springfield Cannabis Regulation stated it would work with amending the law, but not an outright repeal.
* Amendments will be voted upon Sept. 24. Up to 2,100 people signed the initiative petition getting the ordinance approved. Councilmembers have said that low number doesn't reflect everyone's attitudes in Springfield.
* The Springfield News-Leader reports four council members have sponsored an outright repeal. Doug Burlison told the newspaper, "I'm very concerned that the spirit of the petitioners is not going to be honored."
* One amendment removes just the oversight portion. Another removes both illegal sections and increases the fine to $450. A third amendment simply removes the citizens oversight committee.
* The city attorney reviewed the petition. Dan Wichmer's opinion revealed only the state court system can remove legal records as opposed to a municipal court. An initiative petition cannot create a citizen's committee -- only the city council can do that.
William Browning, a lifelong Missouri resident, writes about local and state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. Born in St. Louis, Browning earned his bachelor's degree in English from the University of Missouri. He currently resides in Branson.