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News (Media Awareness Project) - US MO: Officials Raise Concerns About Marijuana Initiative Petition
Title:US MO: Officials Raise Concerns About Marijuana Initiative Petition
Published On:2012-01-29
Source:Missourian (MO)
Fetched On:2012-02-03 06:01:04
OFFICIALS RAISE CONCERNS ABOUT MARIJUANA INITIATIVE PETITION

The ramifications are "huge" if Missouri voters would approve a
proposition to legalize marijuana in the state, the head of Franklin
County's drug task force said.

A group of citizens under the title of Show Me Cannibis are collecting
signatures on petitions to put the initiative petition on the ballot
in November.

If approved it would, among other things, legalize the possession of
marijuana for people 21 years old and older, allow for the state to
collect a $100 per pound tax on marijuana sold at licensed cannabis
stores, allow individuals to grow marijuana on their property for
personal use in a 10-by-10 plot, and mandate the release of all people
serving time in prison for nonviolent possession or sale of marijuana
and expunge the conviction from their records.

Detective Sgt. Jason Grellner, chief of the Franklin County Narcotics
Enforcement Unit, said a meeting was held in Union recently to
instruct people on how to go about collecting signatures on the
initiative petition which has been authorized by the Missouri
secretary of state.

"This would put us in direct violation of federal law" regarding
possession and distribution of marijuana, Grellner said.

"We would probably lose all federal funding for law enforcement and
for highway safety measures," he said.

The Missourian contacted area state lawmakers regarding their
positions on the proposal.

State Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, said he knows the petition is
being circulated but did not have any detailed information.

"I'm not in favor of legalizing marijuana personally," Schatz said.
"It is not the right thing to do. I can't see how anyone believes it
would be the right thing to do."

"I don't know if that's an absolute, jump up and down issue for me,"
said State Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington. "I think I would be very
slow to support decriminalization of marijuana. That's not a big, hot-
button issue for me."

State Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, declined comment because he said
he was not aware of the movement and State Rep. Scott Dieckhaus, R-
Washington, did not return calls for an interview.

Another provision in the initiative prohibits all law enforcement
personnel in the Missouri from assisting or aiding and abetting in the
enforcement of federal cannabis laws, "involving acts which are no
longer illegal in the state of Missouri. . ."

"There is no science behind this," Grellner noted. The state has set
blood alcohol limits for driving a vehicle while intoxicated, but
there is no way to determine when a person is too impaired to drive
under the influence of marijuana, he noted.

"What about companies that have contracts for drug-free workplaces?
This really puts them in a bind," Grellner said.

"The ramifications are huge," he noted.
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