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  Village Legalizes Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on February 15, 2009 at 05:48:26 PT
By Derek Spellman 
Source: Joplin Globe 

medical Cliff Village, Mo. -- It’s early evening and Joe Blundell is splayed out on his bed, on his stomach. After a couple days of media interviews, it’s just him, some friends, and a bout of pain.“I’m on my stomach because I couldn’t sit (in my wheelchair),” Blundell said.

More than three weeks have passed since Blundell, 30, stopped using marijuana. He abandoned the drug not long before he introduced an ordinance legalizing its use for medical reasons inside Cliff Village, a hamlet on Joplin’s southern fringes, where Blundell serves as mayor. That ordinance passed two weeks ago.

Cliff Village has no employees and levies no taxes. It gets about $1,300 a year in distributions of state fuel taxes for road repairs and $120 to $200 more in cable TV franchise fees. But the village doesn’t make many headlines. Until now.

The ordinance is largely a symbolic gesture. Cliff Village has no local court system of its own and the small Joplin suburb is still subject to state laws that ban marijuana even for medical purposes.

But Blundell and others are hoping their action will raise debate about the uses of marijuana.

“This is symbolism, pure and simple,” Blundell explained during some of his interviews. “I would like to be the brave one who grows the first plant, but they’ve built a lot of cages for the people who stick their necks out.”

Again this year, legislation has been proposed that would put to Missouri voters the question of whether medical marijuana should be legalized.

Similar legislation has been proposed in the past, although it usually stalls at the committee or subcommittee level.

But there are now 13 states that allow medical marijuana. The Obama administration also has signaled that it could change federal drug policy, if not federal law, on medical marijuana.

Last year, supporters of a measure that would have lessened penalties for personal possession of marijuana in Joplin came up 531 signatures short of getting it on the ballot. The organizers of that campaign say they plan to try again in the region, perhaps in Springfield, and this time they will likely pose an additional ballot question that would address medical marijuana.

All of this attention has made Cliff Village, which had a population of 33 in the 2000 census, an unlikely ground zero for a grass-roots movement about, well, “grass.”

Pain Relief

It has been more than eight years since a train pulling into a station in Nottinghill, England, crushed Blundell and left him wheelchair-bound in an accident. He had titanium screws and brackets drilled into his spinal column.

For the first year after the accident, Blundell relied on painkillers such as morphine, codeine and Demerol. It was an area resident who eventually suggested he try a marijuana cigarette to help ease the pain. It helped. A lot, he said.

Blundell said he doesn’t hurt all the time, but when he does he described the pain as “screaming,” “excruciating,” and “blinding.” In the past, he has used marijuana when the pain comes, in the evenings to help relax and fall asleep.

“It has allowed him to be functional,” said Sarah Perkins, Blundell’s business partner.

Blundell, in arguing for marijuana’s safety, contends that using it has not compromised his ability to help develop a business offering innovative technologies.

That venture, Sustainable Living Systems Inc., is a green-construction and assembly firm that designs homes that completely heat and cool themselves without outside energy use, according to the company’s Web site. Perkins is president and founder; Blundell is listed on the Web site as a co-inventor and technology consultant.

Blundell said the Cliff Village ordinance was borne out of a desire to generate support for the bill introduced in the Missouri House earlier this year. That bill, if passed, would put the issues before voters as a referendum in November 2010.

“Really, I just want to see a vote,” he said of the state referendum.

The Ordinance

The Cliff Village ordinance allows those with physician approval to grow a total of seven plants — four immature, three mature — and to possess up to three ounces at any given time.

The measure passed by a 3-2 margin on Feb. 1. Besides the mayor, the three supporters among the village’s board of trustees included Blundell’s father.

The two dissenting votes came from the couple Doug Grooms and Kerstin Landwer. Landwer on Thursday said they were declining to comment on the issue.

A random survey of residents in the village found no vocal opposition among village residents.

“I’m OK with it,” said Josh Estes, who lives just a few doors down from Blundell. “It doesn’t bother me.”

Village resident Troy Mondt said it “blows my mind” that the village voted to legalize marijuana, even if only for medical reasons. He added that he is in favor of it.

“They can legalize it all they want to,” he said. “I don’t think it’s anybody’s business what we do.”

Lindy Johnson said she is not troubled by it, either.

“If God lets it happen, it happens,” she added.

Sheriff’s Guest

Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland, however, said he has received calls from three or four residents who were “extremely unhappy” about the measure.

Copeland said on Thursday he spoke with Blundell, who assured him that the ordinance was only a “symbolic gesture.”

Still, Copeland said he will likely step up patrols in that area for a while.

“You can’t pass laws and ordinances contrary to state law,” he said.

“My advice would not to be run out and start growing marijuana, or you’ll be a guest of mine,” he told others who were interviewing him about the issue.

Asked if he thought the laws should be changed to make allowances for medicinal use, Copeland said: “I have no personal opinion on that. We just enforce the laws.”

He did note that in his 30 years of experience in law enforcement he had “never seen a positive side of marijuana,” and that the substance usually leads people to experiment with other drugs.

The Debate

Blundell and other supporters have countered that there is broad public support for allowing medicinal marijuana. They point to a poll conducted in November 2004 by the AARP, for example, which found that 72 percent of the respondents thought adults should be allowed to use marijuana for medical reasons with physician approval.

Efforts to obtain comment from the American Medical Association last week were unsuccessful.

Organizations such as the National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws (NORML) point to research and studies suggesting marijuana has a number of clinical applications, including relief of pain, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma and movement disorders. It can also be a powerful appetite stimulant, particularly for patients suffering from HIV and dementia, advocates say.

Organizations such as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, however, have pointed to other studies showing that those conditions can be treated by other medicines that are already available and tested. They also cite studies showing marijuana as the cause of health problems including cancer, respiratory problems, a weakened immune system, loss of motor skills and an increased heart rate.

As the debate continues, Blundell said he hopes the village’s vote will help stir interest in what’s happening at the state level.

In the meantime, he said he doesn’t plan to go back to old painkillers such as morphine.

In light of all the attention the village has attracted now, he also said doesn’t intend to use marijuana anymore to help cope with his pain.

“I’m going to try to gut it out,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

How to learn more:

Joe Blundell has started a blog about his experience. Visit:

The National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws Web site is:

To view the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s “Exposing the Myth of Smoked Medical Marijuana,”

Source: Joplin Globe, The (MO)
Author: Derek Spellman
Published: February 15, 2009
Copyright: 2009 The Joplin Globe

Related Article:

Missouri Lights a Fire for Legalizng Marijuana

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Comment #11 posted by FoM on February 21, 2009 at 19:47:44 PT
Missouri -- Medical Marijuana Supporters Rally
Saturday, February 21, 2009

COLUMBIA - Voters in several states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and supporters of a similar proposition in Missouri gathered in Columbia on Saturday.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws met on the MU campus.

Joe Blundell, the mayor of Cliff Village, near Joplin, spoke at the event.

The 50-person town passed an ordinance legalizing medical marijuana earlier this month, even though the state doesn't allow it.

The move stirred controversy statewide.

Blundell says legalization would change marijuana's role and people's perceptions of the drug.

"In legalizing, in licensing, you are taking power out of hands of drug dealers, you're taking it out of the hands of ignorance and you're educating, and making people responsible adults," Blundell said.

Blundell stresses marijuana use for mostly medical purposes, rather than recreation.

Copyright: KOMU-TV8 and the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia.


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by FoM on February 19, 2009 at 06:26:58 PT
Related Article From The Joplin Globe
Village Mayor Says He Will Not Quit Despite Petition w/ Opposing Viewpoints on Medical Marijuana

By Derek Spellman

February 18, 2009

Missouri -- The mayor of Cliff Village says he will not step down from his post despite calls for his resignation.

A group of residents alleges that a local ordinance legalizing medical marijuana was adopted without a legal mandate, and that the mayor misrepresented the critical vote of one board member.

Mayor Joe Blundell said he was presented Wednesday night with a petition, containing 18 signatures, calling for his immediate resignation. Blundell and Cliff Village garnered regional media attention last week after the small Joplin suburb had adopted an ordinance allowing people to possess and to grow limited amounts of marijuana with physician approval.

“I have executed my office in complete accordance with the village laws,” Blundell said after defending the passage of the ordinance and reiterating that he would not step down.

A number of residents began circulating the petition on Tuesday. They contend that Blundell did not have the backing of the village officials for the marijuana ordinance, and that he was using the community to advance a personal agenda.

Among those residents is Mark Sweet, who collected signatures and presented the petition to Blundell.

Sweet said that since Blundell declined to resign, the petitioners will look for someone to run against the mayor in the April election as a write-in candidate.

Sweet said he and others would not attend a public meeting Blundell has called for Monday to air out the issue.

“It’s more than two weeks too late,” Sweet said of the meeting.

Blundell said the village board adopted the ordinance, which mirrors proposed legislation now in the state General Assembly, by a 3-2 vote on Feb. 1. The three supporters included Blundell and his father.

Sweet said the issue is not so much whether people agree or disagree with the proposal itself, but the way Blundell pursued it.

“What we really disagree with is the way he went about it,” Sweet said. “He can’t pass an ordinance on his own.”

Blundell, Sweet said, never technically convened a meeting of the village trustees to vote on the ordinance.

Copyright: 2009 The Joplin Globe

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by fight_4_freedom on February 16, 2009 at 13:44:08 PT
I attended the one in Detroit 2 years ago. The million marijuana march or whatever it's called.

It's getting bigger every year.

We surely didn't have anything THAT big though. lol (referring to the joint)

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by FoM on February 16, 2009 at 09:34:21 PT
This could be a very interesting year particularly in the Washington, DC area.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by mykeyb420 on February 16, 2009 at 09:29:43 PT
it was at SF's civic center on " may day, jay day " last year. Every year we, ( MMJ ) sit in front of city hall and smoke ganja all day long. Its usually the first saturday in may.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #6 posted by fight_4_freedom on February 15, 2009 at 20:36:53 PT
What I meant to say was where was that video taking place at?

Was it at a recent rally or festival?

That thing was gigantic! It probably burned for a half an hour.

Simply beautiful.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by mykeyb420 on February 15, 2009 at 20:08:03 PT

I shot the video,,im not in it,,,but I did get to hit that joint once.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by fight_4_freedom on February 15, 2009 at 15:10:33 PT
That was unbelievably awesome :) And it totally made my day.

Where were you at in the video?

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by mykeyb420 on February 15, 2009 at 10:05:00 PT
my video
my video of a half pound joint has over 11,000 hits on youtube. !

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #2 posted by ctx1502 on February 15, 2009 at 07:51:02 PT:

I just don't grasp the concept shown by this man in severe pain being able to recieve codeine and morphine, but apparently marijuana is to scary a drug for him to recieve.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #1 posted by unkat27 on February 15, 2009 at 07:20:15 PT
Another Local Moronic Cop
"Blundell said he doesn’t hurt all the time, but when he does he described the pain as “screaming,” “excruciating,” and “blinding.” In the past, he has used marijuana when the pain comes, in the evenings to help relax and fall asleep."

"Asked if he thought the laws should be changed to make allowances for medicinal use, Copeland said: “I have no personal opinion on that. We just enforce the laws.” "He did note that in his 30 years of experience in law enforcement he had “never seen a positive side of marijuana,” and that the substance usually leads people to experiment with other drugs."

Apparently, the pain relief that Mayor Blundell has received from marijuana use does not count as positive. This cop, like so many, is an unthinking moron.

[ Post Comment ]

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