"If approved, it would conflict with state and federal law," said Councilman John Rush, who added that he thought supporters of the new rules were sincere, but sincerly wrong. "This ordinance seems to serve no one. This was so flawed that to go further would have served no purpose."
"There's a great benefit to be had with the passage of some version of this," added Councilman Doug Burlison. "If you're the one that's on the other end of the handcuffs, legislation like this becomes very important. When you're on the other end, legislation like this is very important. This is an attempt to ease the screws that we've institutionally put in place over our citizenry."
Councilwoman Cindy Rushefsky then asked the Assistant City Clerk to read Council's Oath of Office.
"I don't think that we can, in any conscious, support any bill other than Council Bill 254," she said after the oath was read aloud.
"I ask that you consider the oath that is contrary to state law, as you consider appealing the ordinance," said Councilman Jerry Compton. "The message undermines the rule of law of our community. I find no exceptions of that in our community."
"I don't agree with it, but I
agree with our citizen petition process," added Councilman Scott Bailes.
"We're not legalizing it, and every law abiding citizen isn't going to run
out and use it and start failing the drug test."
In the 7-2 vote, only Councilmen Burlison and Bailes voted in opposition. Bailes added that it felt wrong to adopt the measure with the intent to repeal it.
Those who disagree with Monday's vote have the option to pursue a referendum. That's something the people who wanted to keep this are looking into as well.
Members passed the original measure in August after an initiative petition campaign collected enough signatures to bring the issue to Council or to a public vote. The intent was to pass it in order to gut it. Under Council's measure, people caught with less than 35 grams of marijuana would've faced a $150 fine instead of jail time.
This has been a highly contested topic at council meetings over the past few months. Council took public comment September 11 on four amendments (see below). Nineteen people spoke during that public hearing.
"We've had some really good communications with the representatives of the petitioning group," said Springfield City Attorney Dan Wichmer. "They've been very reasonable to deal with. We just fundamentally disagree on a couple of interpretations on parts that I believe are invalid."
At one point during the September 11 hearing, City Manager Greg Burris said Council's ordinance isn't a decriminalization, but rather a reduction in penalties for marijuana possession.
There were three other amendments to the ordinance up for a vote, but those were skipped due to the repeal vote.
Also Monday, Council adopted a resolution honoring Robin Melton, a victim of the September 15 plane crash.
And City Council members voted to split the Hotel-Motel tax reallocation with area nonprofits. Sixty-percent will go to nonprofits; the other 40 percent will go to paying down City debt.
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