By Dan Viets, J.D., Show-Me Cannabis Board Chair
Columbia City Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe has made revisions in her proposed cultivation ordinance which are designed to respond to some of the criticisms made by two Columbia citizen advisory groups. The proposal amends Columbia's decriminalization ordinance and its medical marijuana ordinance to include cultivation of no more than two marijuana plants.
Under the ordinance which covers general adult possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana, the penalties are limited to a fine of $250. The proposal would prescribe the same penalty range for cultivation.
Under Columbia's medical marijuana ordinance, police are required to make no arrest and issue no citation to people who have a letter from a physician confirming legitimate medical need. If a defendant acquires such a letter while his or her case is pending, the charge is required to be dismissed. The proposal would add cultivation of no more than two plants to this ordinance.
The Columbia Daily Tribune, the Columbia/Boone County League of Women Voters, and the Columbia NAACP have all endorsed the proposed changes. So have the Central Missouri Chapter of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare, the Missouri Civil Liberties Association, and the Boone County Libertarians.
The Columbia Police Officers Association is expected to oppose the changes as has the superintendent of the Columbia Public Schools.
The Columbia City Council is expected to hold a public hearing and a vote on the proposed changes at its meeting on the evening of Monday, October 20. If you live in Columbia, please attend and voice your support!