Deal Sought for Pot Law

Deal Sought for Pot Law
Posted by CN Staff on May 27, 2005 at 11:10:46 PT
By Ken Sweet
Source: Columbia Missourian
Missouri -- Although the marijuana ordinance has sparked bitter debate between the police who want to see it repealed and the voters who passed it, the two sides may soon reach a compromise on the issue.Proposition 2, which passed in November’s election, has come under attack by prosecutors and police officers because it allows offenders in possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana not to be prosecuted. However, attorneys and police officers said a compromise to the ordinance has been in the works for the last couple of weeks to limit the law under certain circumstances.
Under the current version, violators in possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana cannot be fined more than $250 — the equivalent of a traffic ticket.The basic idea for a compromise would include prosecuting offenders for marijuana possession who commit other crimes simultaneously. The compromise would also address the issue of offenders with a prior criminal history.“The main issue is treating the appropriate offender appropriately,” said Boone County Prosecutor Kevin Crane.Columbia Police Officer Sterling Infield, president of the Columbia Police Officers Association, said his organization supports the compromise as long as discussions continue.“This way, we can come to a mutual compromise and resolution for both parties,” Infield said. “But, we haven’t come to agreement yet.”The marijuana ordinance was rejected by voters in 2003 but passed last fall.Infield said a compromise is necessary to resolve the issue. “Every year it goes back and forth,” Infield said. “We don’t want to see that happen.”Attorney Dan Viets, a board member of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said although he would like to see the law stay the way it is, a compromise might be the best idea. Viets is also a member of the Columbia Alliance for Patients and Education, which sponsored the passage of Proposition 2.“Our organization is willing to make some compromises so to avoid another election,” Viets said. “If it did get repealed, we would be back next election to get this back on the books.”Crane said the main problem with the current law is that county and city officials are unable to prosecute each case separately.“Basically, anyone, regardless of their criminal history, are not being prosecuted for their first offense,” Crane said.Before the ordinance passed, county officials and police officers were making distinctions between offenders based on the offender’s criminal history, Crane said.Before a formal revision can be made to the law, Infield said the revised law would have to go in front of City Council. However, there are only discussions being made on the law, and there is no timetable for when city officials would address the issue. Infield said until then, CPOA will continue its petition drive at Providence Road and Broadway to repeal the ordinance. Infield said CPOA needs 2,900 signatures to get it on the ballot. He said he does not know the exact number of signatures it has at this time.Infield also said there was no specific date a repeal proposition would go to the voters, but the earliest election date might be this November or April 2006.A portion of this report first aired Thursday during “ABC 17 News at 10.”Note: A compromise aims at prosecuting repeat and dual offenders.Source: Columbia Missourian (MO)Author: Ken SweetPublished: May 27, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Columbia MissourianContact: editor Website: Articles & Web Site:NORML Ordinance Defended Pot Petition Challenged Launch Petition Drive Against Pot Law 
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Comment #1 posted by global_warming on May 27, 2005 at 16:47:10 PT
"Columbia Police Officer Sterling Infield, president of the Columbia Police Officers Association, said his organization supports the compromise as long as discussions continue."End of discussion, thou shall not cage non violent cannabis users.This man Infield, may have some time to come to his Christian senses, to support any further effort to cage non violent cannabis users, is a disgrace to the foundations of Christendom.peace and to the glory of God,gw
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