Currently, Joplin police arrest an estimated 230 people annually for violating marijuana laws.
Most of these are young people, and 99 percent of those arrested are charged with possession only. The Sensible Sentencing Initiative would not legalize the use of marijuana by the public; it would address these violations in a more fiscally responsible manner that would preserve law enforcement resources and redirect taxpayer dollars to be focused on more serious crime.
More than 30 percent of the U.S. population lives under some form of marijuana decriminalization, and according to numerous government and academic studies, these laws have not contributed to an increase in marijuana consumption nor negatively impacted adolescent attitudes toward drug use.
Additionally, the way we handle marijuana possession cases now also puts students at risk of losing eligibility for federal financial aid. The Aid Elimination Penalty automatically strips financial aid from students with any drug conviction, including misdemeanor marijuana possession. Since the penalty was added to the Higher Education Act in 1998, nearly 200,000 students have been denied aid because of it. Countless others didn’t even apply for aid because they thought they’d be denied. This would not happen under our Sensible Sentencing Initiative.
Joplin’s current policy results in the arrests of hundreds of our fellow citizens without impacting marijuana use or the drug’s availability. Our initiative will give voters the choice to take a pragmatic, alternative approach to the marijuana issue. Let the people speak.
Who Are We?
We are Sensible Joplin, a Joplin-based ballot action group dedicated to passing the marijuana initiative that we hope will appear on the November 2008 ballot. Under our initiative, the possession of small amounts of marijuana (35grams or less) would be treated as a citation only offense with a fine of $250. No arrest, no jail, no criminal charge; just like a traffic ticket.
- Make some serious cash! (Up to $20/hr!!)
- This is a great opportunity to get involved with local politics
- Support the democratic process
- Take a direct stand against our unjust marijuana policies