Look at a map of the country and notice that the states taking the first incremental steps towards re-legalization of the cannabis plant tend to be on either coast. The middle of the country has resisted the change. That is why Michigan’s place at the forefront of mmj developments is geographically significant. Michigan is the heartland of the nation. Next up in the heartland may be Missouri.
In 2004, Columbia, Missouri, residents passed a measure that greatly relaxed penalties for marijuana smoking and possession. The advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis Regulation said last week that it may soon mount similar efforts in Kansas City and Springfield. “We think those are incremental steps that could really help in getting a statewide measure passed,” said Amber Langston, the group’s campaign director and leader of the Columbia effort.
A petition drive earlier this year fell short of getting the necessary number of signatures to get a statewide initiative on the November ballot. But Langston said that was due more to lack of resources than lack of support. It takes money and foot soldiers to collect 145,000 signatures. “This state is a lot closer than people think,” said Langston, who has served as an outreach director and international liaison for Students for Sensible Drug Policy in Washington, D.C., and worked on marijuana initiatives in California.
In Columbia in November 2004, 62 percent of voters approved making marijuana the “lowest law enforcement priority.”
This reminds me of the city-by-city effort underway out in Washington state. Change coming from the roots up is change that can last. All the best to our friends in Missouri. This is the first time I have covered any activity in the great state of Missouri. Original story is here, with lots more detail.
Extra credit question: How many different state flags have headlined HMJ stories? So far, that is.
[image: Google images Missouri]