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With recreational use of marijuana permitted by law in Missouri since Feb. 3, Springfield City Council plans to consider an ordinance next week to restrict its use within the city.
The ordinance would ban the consumption of marijuana in public places, with a civil penalty of up to $100 for a violation.
The code defines a public place as one where the public has access or that is visible to the public to include streets and highways, sidewalks, transportation facilities, places of amusement, parks, playgrounds, parking lots and common areas of public and private buildings or facilities.
Amendment 3, passed by the state’s voters in November 2022, legalizes the recreational use of marijuana in the state, but allows cities to place limits on where and how it may be used. So far in Missouri, only Jefferson City has done so, Assistant City Attorney Lana Woolsey told council at a March 27 committee meeting, where the proposed changes were first discussed.
Council will hear first reading of amendments to city code at its regular meeting Monday, with a vote to approve or reject the ordinance scheduled for April 17.
The proposed amendments to Springfield City Code concern public consumption of marijuana, consumption of marijuana in a motor vehicle and marijuana accessories within city limits.
In addition to banning public consumption, the following additions to city code are also proposed:
• The prohibition of marijuana smoke or odor emanating into a public place from a nonpublic one.
• The prohibition of public consumption of marijuana by any person operating a motor vehicle, smoking of marijuana by any passengers in a motor vehicle while it is being operated, and consumption of marijuana within a motor vehicle parked in any public place.
• The prohibition of the sale or transfer of marijuana to anyone under the age of 21 (the legalization that went into effect following the statewide vote applies only to people 21 and older).
The proposed ordinance also would update city code to protect marijuana accessories found in Amendment 3. Any reference to marijuana would be removed from the existing drug paraphernalia ordinance, and marijuana accessories would be exempt from the scope of the ordinance.
Restrictions on possession of marijuana accessories by people under age 21 and of the sale or transfer of marijuana accessories to people under 21 are also included in the proposed ordinance. This subsection would not apply to patients with qualifying identification cards issued by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The ordinance would restrict possession of marijuana by people under the age of 21 and of quantities exceeding 3 ounces, in keeping with limitations in the Missouri Constitution.
A public comment period will follow the council discussion of the proposed ordinance. Speakers must notify the City Clerk of their intention to address council before the ordinance is introduced. They may address council for up to five minutes, or for up to three minutes if eight or more speakers have signed up.
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Are we going to also regulate alcohol and tobacco in public places?