Section 105-376; Defeated B245-04; Amending Chapter 16 of the City Code by adding a section to Division 23 relating to prosecuting marijuana and paraphernalia cases in the Municipal Court of the City of Columbia


Ordinance No.           Defeated                       Council Bill No. B 245-04           


AN ORDINANCE

amending Chapter 16 of the City Code by adding a section to Division 23 relating to prosecuting marijuana and paraphernalia cases in the Municipal Court of the City of Columbia; and fixing the time when this ordinance shall become effective.

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, AS FOLLOWS:

    SECTION 1.  Chapter 16 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Columbia, Missouri, is amended by adding the following:

Material to be added underlined.

Sec. 16-255.2 Policies for enforcing marijuana offenses.

     (a)    The purpose of this section is to ensure that adults as defined by state criminal statutes are not arrested and suffer only a fine and/or community service or counseling and no other punishment or penalty, for the possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and/or marijuana paraphernalia.  This section shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of these purposes.

     (b)    When any law enforcement officer suspects any adult as defined by state criminal statutes of possession of a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and/or possession of marijuana paraphernalia, that person shall not be required to post bond, suffer arrest, be taken into custody for any purpose nor detained for any reason other than the issuance of a summons, suffer incarceration, suffer loss of driver’s license, or any other punishment or penalty other than the issuance of a summons and, if found guilty, a fine of up to two hundred fifty (250) dollars.  There shall be a strong presumption that the proper disposition of any such case is to defer prosecution or to suspend the imposition of sentence and/or require community service work and/or drug counseling and education.  All such matters shall only be referred to the Municipal Prosecuting Attorney, and no other prosecuting attorney, and the Municipal Prosecuting Attorney shall not refer the matter to any other prosecutor, agency, or office, unless the adult is also charged with a felony offense arising from the same set of facts and circumstances.

     (c)    The provisions of this section are severable.  If any provision of this section is declared invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions of the section which can be given effect without the invalid provision.

     (d)    Any city ordinance or regulation that is inconsistent with this section shall be null and void.

     (e)    The message of this section is that people should not use marijuana, but should also not lose opportunities for education and employment because of such use.  The limited resources of law enforcement should be directed primarily toward crimes of violence or property loss.  The enforcement of laws against marijuana shall be the lowest law enforcement priority.

    SECTION 2.  This ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after its passage.

    DEFEATED this 2nd day of August, 2004.