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Springfield General Fund to Cover $50,000 of $225,000 Settlement

Springfield's historic City Hall building (Photo credit: KSMU)

The City of Springfield has released details of a settlement in the amount of $225,000 with Maranda Reynolds, Show-Me Cannabis and American Victory Coalition.  They were the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed last year against the city to force a vote on a 2012 petition, which would have lessened the penalties for marijuana possession.

The measure would have removed the possibility of jail time for first or second time offenders caught with up to 35 grams of marijuana.

City Council could have either approved the bill or sent it to a public vote.  They passed the bill but repealed it a few weeks later citing concerns about the legality of the language.

According to a press release issued by the city, although the settlement process is not complete, the City of Springfield confirms a resolution of the lawsuit. 

“Given the complexity of the litigation and the amount of time both parties have put into prosecuting and defending the claim, our insurance representatives felt it was in the best interest of all parties go end this costly endeavor,” said City Attorney Dan Wichmer City.

City officials say neither party admitted fault and the matter was settled “with prejudice,” meaning the plaintiff may not file a new complaint based on the same transactions and/or occurrences.

Springfield’s general fund will cover $50,000 of the settlement and $175,000 will be covered by insurance.

In a statement to the News-Leader, Maranda Reynolds said “the money certainly shows that the city has finally recognized that it trampled our free-speech and equal protection rights guaranteed to us under the Missouri and U.S. constitutions."  

It was Reynolds who led a petition effort two years ago that was ultimately certified by the city clerk, passed by council in August 2013, and then repealed in September.