- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The Columbia City Council narrowly defeated a local attorney’s proposal to remove penalties for growing marijuana plants within city limits.

On Monday, the City Council voted 4-3 against an ordinance that would have let residents grow up to two marijuana plants in Columbia. Those who opposed the measure were concerned about creating a disconnect between state and federal laws, which still punish people for growing the plant.

“While I think the drug laws are archaic, we have to deal with them as a state and federal government,” Councilwoman Laura Nauser said.

Dan Viets, the local attorney who authored the proposal, said he’s disappointed with the council’s vote, which came after more than an hour of people speaking in favor of and against it.

Viets told the Columbia Daily Tribune (http://bit.ly/1t8OeTu) that Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick previously indicated earlier this year that she was in favor of the pot bill. But Chadwick said after the council’s vote she made the statements before a city commission weighed in on the issue and before she had time to fully consider the legal consequences.

Columbia’s Board of Health and Substance Abuse Advisory Commission opposed the provision’s passage.

Before the City Council took a final vote, Councilman Karl Skala proposed an amendment that failed. It would have deleted words related to cultivating marijuana for non-medical use and left in sentences that relaxed penalties for growing the plants for medical use.

Councilman Michael Trapp argued to keep the language of the ordinance as it was.

“Right now we have this situation where we’re going to send people to prison for five to 15 years for growing a plant,” Trapp said. “That’s insane.”

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

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