Pubdate: Fri, 01 Feb 2008
Source: Chart, The (Missouri Southern State U, MO Edu)
Copyright: 2008 The Chart
Author: Parker Willis
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)
Bookmark: (Students for Sensible Drug Policy)


With the first month of an election year coming to a close, one
student is focusing on an issue he believes  the Joplin public will be
ready to vote on in November.

Kyle Maddy, freshman public relations major and president of Missouri
Southern's chapter of Students  for Sensible Drug Policies (SSDP),
said he and other  members of SSDP are prepared to see that the
Sensible  Sentencing Initiative will appear on the ballot in November.

The initiative would decriminalize marijuana within the Joplin city
limits. To get the initiative on the  November ballot Maddy and his
brother, Kelly Maddy,  president of Sensible Joplin, will need to have
the  signatures of 5,000 registered Joplin-area voters.

Currently the two, with the help of their friends, have been able to
get 3,000 signatures. But their goal is  10,000 because of the chance
of illegible signatures  and unregistered voters signing the petition
and  getting thrown out later.

"Joplin voters need to decide for themselves," Kyle  Maddy said.
"We're not condoning use of marijuana. We just want to allow police
to focus on more serious  crimes like theft, rape and other more
violent crimes."

Since the semester only started a couple of weeks ago and SSDP just
had its first meeting Wednesday night,  Kyle Maddy hasn't had a chance
to get any help from other members of his group. He has already
started  talking to students in the Lions' Den to get  signatures,
then a signature rally at the Blackthorn on  Tuesday, and is planning
to do more campaigning on  campus and taking his group into the
community to  gather signatures.

Kyle Maddy said he isn't always greeted by the nicest people while
out trying to get signatures but he is finding more and more people
agreeing with him, even if  he has to argue a little with them first.

Kendrick Irvin, an area resident who attended the signature rally,
said our country has more important things to worry about.

"First of all I don't think it would be that big of a deal if it was
legalized, in fact less people would probably do it if it was," Irvin
said. "But more  importantly I'd like to just smoke without worrying
about getting into trouble."
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin