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Boone County sheriff's pot busts draw ire in Columbia

Published On: May 23 2013 02:24:29 PM CDT
Updated On: May 23 2013 03:35:24 PM CDT
Boone County Sheriff's Department

KMIZ/File Photo

COLUMBIA, Mo. -

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

The Columbia-based Missouri Civil Liberties Association says the sheriff and the county prosecutor are disregarding the intent of city voters who approved the change in 2004.

Columbia's ordinance treats 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.

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

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

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