Columbia lawyer says Boone County disregards city's pot possession ordinance

May 23, 2013

A Columbia lawyer says Boone County sheriff's deputies patrolling within city limits isn't following local ordinance that treats marijuana possession as a municipal violation.

Credit Torben Bjørn Hansen / Flickr

In 2004, Columbia residents voted to amend a city ordinance and treat possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana as a misdemeanor. Violators are usually released with a summons to appear in court rather than placed under arrest.

But the Columbia-based Missouri Civil Liberties Association says the sheriff and the county prosecutor are disregarding the intent of city voters.

Columbia attorney Dan Viets says sheriff's officers are instead arresting pot users in the city under more stringent state laws, and not downgrading those cases to municipal status.

The sheriff and prosecutor did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.