April Vote in Wichita on Reducing Pot Penalties
January 27, 2015

(AP) – Wichita voters will get the opportunity to vote on easing marijuana penalties for first-time offenders.

The Wichita City Council agreed 6-1 to place the measure to amend the city’s ordinance on the April 7 ballot. But it remains unclear what will happen even if the issue passes because state law still makes marijuana possession illegal.

Action came in the wake of a petition for it containing thousands of signatures.

The proposal makes first-offense marijuana possession a criminal infraction with a $50 fine. It would be enforced with a summons or citation rather than an arrest. A conviction could be expunged after 12 months if the offender stays out of legal trouble.

It would apply only to those 21 or older carrying 32 grams or less of marijuana.

Springfield City Hall Settles Lawsuit Over Pot Vote that Didn’t Happen
May 2, 2014

AP) – Springfield will pay $225,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by advocates who wanted to reduce penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The Springfield News-Leader reports it would release both parties from admitting fault in a controversy that began in 2012.

The advocates gathered enough signatures in 2012 to require a public vote to prohibit jail time for first- or second-time offenders caught with up to 35 grams of marijuana. Offenders would instead be subjected to fines, community service and/or drug education programs.

The city council approved the proposed changes during one meeting, then rescinded the action a few weeks later. That avoided a requirement to call for the public vote.

The city said Thursday it settled to end a costly lawsuit.

Legalize Pot Boosters Now Think Obama is a Bust
April 21, 2012

From Politico:

Back when he was running in 2008, Obama said he supported the “basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs” and that he was “not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws.” He didn’t go farther. But he also didn’t do anything to dissuade speculation among medical marijuana proponents who took this as a sign that the man headed to the Oval Office was on their side.

Four years later, the raids on drug dispensaries have kept up — despite a Justice Department memo formalizing low-enforcement priority instructions from Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced in a March 2009 press conference that the raids would stop on distributors who were in compliance with state and local law. Obama never said anything about supporting legalization or decriminalization, but his medical marijuana statements were enough to get him heralded by some in the larger pro-pot community as the best hope for chipping away at the decades-long drug war.

But the hopes that Obama would be a kinder, gentler, more tolerant drug warrior have gone up in smoke.

“I’m very disappointed,” Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), a longtime supporter of marijuana legalization and medical marijuana, told POLITICO. “They look more like the Bush administration than the Clinton administration.”

(Also on POLITICO: 4/20: Nine pols who talked pot.)

The dejected medical marijuana supporters are hardly alone. For many in 2008, candidate Obama was like a political Rorschach test: They projected strong progressive positions about everything from legalizing gay marriage to ending all military involvement onto a candidate who never said he agreed with them — but also never explicitly said he didn’t.

Now they’re looking at four years into the Obama administration and wondering where they went wrong.

“I believed in him,” Montana-based activist and medical cannabis user Sarah Combs said about the president. “I don’t believe a word he says now.”

Combs, a native South Carolinian who uses medical marijuana to treat her epilepsy, packed up her life and moved to Montana, where medical marijuana has been legal since 2004.

According to Combs, a sizable Montana community of patients and growers felt empowered by the DOJ memo and the administration’s supportive statements to open up shop, register patients and begin paying taxes on what they thought was now a legitimate business. Then in 2011, federal forces from several agencies raided 26 dispensaries across 13 Montana cities. Other dispensaries have been raided in states like California, Washington, Michigan, and Colorado.

All told, the federal government has raided more than 100 dispensaries — with the most recent busts of a San Francisco Bay area marijuana training center. Obama has vowed more money to hunt down Latin American drug traffickers, promising an extra $200 million in a 2011 press conference with El Salvador President Mauricio Funes. He’s kept in place Bush administration anti-medical marijuana administrators in key administration positions.

More: Politico.com

Bill McClellan’s P-D Column on Going Out With ‘Legalization’ Canvassers
January 29, 2012

From the Post-Disptach columnist Bill McClellan:
“Bernice and Wylie Williams walked along Delmar Boulevard in the Loop in University City late Thursday morning. Because they approached everybody they saw, they seemed, at first glance, to be panhandlers.
But unlikely panhandlers. Respectable-looking. Kind of old for that sort of thing, too.
They were trying to collect signatures on a petition to put a measure on the November ballot that would legalize marijuana in Missouri.
They are unlikely activists in this cause. Wylie is 73. Bernice is 69. They grew up in Texas and met at Texas Christian University. They married after Wylie graduated in 1961.
Let me explain something to young people. What we now call the ’60s did not start until 1966 or 1967.
In other words, 1961 was part of the ’50s. Had Wylie and Bernice been in college during the ’60s, they would have been exposed to marijuana. By the time the ’60s started, pot was everywhere.
As it was, Wylie and Bernice never heard of pot. Well, maybe they heard of it, but it was something exotic, maybe something that jazz musicians smoked.
Wylie had been in ROTC, so when he left TCU, he went into the Army. He and Bernice bounced around to various duty stations. They even went to Germany.
In 1968, Wylie was sent to Vietnam. He was stationed at Long Binh, a huge Army base near Saigon. Presumably, there was no shortage of weed at a place like Long Binh, but Wylie stayed away from the stuff. “I was an officer,” he said. “I didn’t want to do anything wrong.”
Meanwhile, Bernice and their young son moved in with her parents in St. Charles. Her dad was in the aircraft industry and had moved here to work for McDonnell Douglas.
When Wylie left Vietnam, he decided to get out of the Army. He joined Bernice and their son in St. Charles and got a job as an English teacher in Jennings.
It was during his time as a teacher that he had his only experiences with pot. He was at a couple of parties where people were smoking — this was in the early ’70s, which were still part of the ’60s — so he took a couple of hits. It didn’t do anything for him.
Bernice was at the same parties but didn’t smoke.
“I’m a goody-two-shoes,” she said.
Wylie left teaching after 10 years and opened a stereo store. They moved to University City. Their son went to University City High School. Did he smoke pot?
“We have no idea,” said Bernice. “He was not very communicative.”
“He was into Dungeons and Dragons,” said Wylie.
He eventually earned a Ph.D. in physics and now teaches at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
So how did two non-pot smokers get involved with the petition drive to get a measure to legalize marijuana on the ballot?
They had a sense that the War on Drugs was not working. At least with pot.
So when they heard that Show-Me Cannabis Regulation was having a meeting at the county library on Tesson Ferry Road to discuss an effort to get a measure on the ballot to legalize pot, they went. They agreed to collect signatures.
Approximately 150,000 signatures are going to be required, including at least 5 percent of registered voters in six of the state’s nine congressional districts.
Bernice and Wylie were pleasantly surprised with the response they received as they tried to collect signatures. Young people seemed charmed that these senior citizens were collecting signatures to legalize pot. Older people also seemed sympathetic to the cause.
Bernice decided to call me because she remembered a column I wrote in November 2010 after the voters of California rejected a measure that would have legalized pot in that state. This gives us a chance, I wrote. We can be the first.
What will happen to the first state that legalizes pot? For one thing, tourism will boom.
We could be on the ground floor of the pot industry. On the day Prohibition ended, who was ready to sell beer? St. Louis. For the next 75 years, we were the beer capital of the country.
Let’s do the same thing with pot, I wrote.
So we met Thursday morning in the Loop, and I followed at a discreet distance as Bernice and Wylie sought signatures. Several young people waved them off and claimed not to be registered voters. A more mature man in business attire listened to their appeal, then nodded and signed the petition.
Although most historians would say that the ’60s ended around 1975, for some of us, the decade lives on.”

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/columns/bill-mcclellan/mcclellan-finds-unlikely-crusaders-canvassing-for-pot/article_3b6a77f5-fb89-58bd-bc33-52a3294e07c6.html#ixzz1kr7Jkwna

Legalize Pot—Local NORML Chapter Plans Weekend Rally in JoCo
September 8, 2011

The Johnson County chapter of the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML) plans a rally Saturday September 10 at the corner of 87th & Quivera. It will be from 1-3pm.

Last year a bill to legalize medical marijuana in Kansas was introduced. It died quietly.

In a news release the local NORML stated, “We are merely asking for safe access to cannabis for those who would – with a doctors recommendation – benefit from the medicinal use of cannabis. As well as allowing hemp to be grown by industrial farmers in order to create jobs and a new industry.”