Activists look to ease pot laws in Springfield


COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Missouri marijuana advocates whose efforts to put a legal pot initiative on the November statewide ballot fell  short are now pursuing a decriminalization law in Springfield.

Show-Me Cannabis organizers say they’re targeting a southwest Missouri city seen as conservative to demonstrate what they call  broad support for new drug laws. In 2004, Columbia voters approved  a similar law that classifies possession of 35 grams of marijuana  or less as a low-level misdemeanor offense.

The pro-pot group says it plans to use a professional signature-gathering firm to help collect the 2,101 signatures required for the fall ballot in Springfield. A 2008 effort to
decriminalize marijuaa in Joplin fell 531 names short, and the statewide measure failed to garner the roughly 144,000 voter signatures needed before an early May deadline.