Springfield marijuana penalties reduced, sort of

Tuesday, August 28, 2012 | 7:35 a.m. CDT; updated 11:32 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 28, 2012

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield City Council adopted a plan to reduce penalties for marijuana possession but that doesn't settle the issue.

The council approved the ordinance Monday. But council members said they plan to amend the bill or remove most provisions before it takes effect in 30 days.

The issue came before the council after a successful petition campaign. The ordinance would reduce the penalty for having 35 grams or less of marijuana, to a fine, community service or counseling.

The Springfield News-Leader reported that council members and law enforcement officials said the ordinance would be unenforceable and prevent police from fully enforcing state law.

But council members who voted for the ordinance said they did so to save the city an estimated $180,000 cost of putting it to a public vote.

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