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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Welcome to Cottleville, Missouri's Newest Pot Hole

We missed this when it first aired but it's worth mentioning that the folks over at KSDK actually did a very respectable job tackling the issue of medical marijuana last week. The station profiled Don Yarber, the 70-year-old mayor of Cottleville, Missouri, who supports prescription pot because his wife used it to treat the side-effects of her chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.

With Yarber's support, Cottleville -- a city of about 3,000 people, located southwest of St. Charles -- recently passed a resolution urging state leaders to move forward with medical marijuana legislation. Yarber is pressing for a state-wide ballot initiative.

Not that it really means anything -- Cottleville is a long, long way from Jefferson City -- but it's still an interesting example of the grassroots, non-partisan support that the medical cannabis issue is capable of generating, even in the ultra-conservative parts of Missouri. Plus it's fun to hear an old geezer like Yarber expound on the benefits of puffin' the old cheeba cheeba.

If this all sounds eerily familiar it's because Cottleville isn't the first Missouri backwater to pass pro-Marijuana legislation. The original pot hole was Cliff Village, a tiny suburb of Joplin...

From the RFT's news story on Cliff Village, published last February:
Cliff Village, a tiny suburb of Joplin, has become the second Missouri city to legalize marijuana for medical use. Residents can pack their pipes with impunity, so long as their pot comes with a doctor's prescription.

But with a population in the double-digits and a local sheriff who vows to lock up any pot smoker he can find, the town's 30-year-old mayor, Joe Blundell, concedes that the move is "symbolism, pure and simple."

"I'd like to go and testify to legislators about this plant," says Blundell, who is wheelchair-bound, the result of a train accident in 2000. "I'd tell them I'm not a criminal, that I'm in a horrific amount of pain and I'd rather take something natural and holistic rather than something being pushed by Pfizer."

A handful of state lawmakers and pro-grass activists hope the actions taken by this southwest Missouri hamlet will help blaze a path for the statewide passage of a long-stymied medical-marijuana law.

"They've really taken the issue by the horns," says Dan Viets, coordinator of the state's chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "Perhaps lawmakers will realize that even rural communities have embraced cannabis as a legitimate form of treatment."
Read the rest of the story by clicking here.