FARMINGTON, Mo. (AP) - An eastern Missouri brother and sister have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms for growing marijuana in their apartment.
The Daily Journal newspaper in Park Hills, Mo. reports that 24-year-old David DePriest was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison, and his 36-year-old sister, Natalie DePriest, received a 15-year sentence. Both lived in Farmington at the time of their arrest.
Their attorney, Dan Viets had asked for probation. Viets is state coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
Assistant St. Francois County prosecutor Pat King had sought the maximum sentence against David DePriest, calling it a large-scale operation and noting that he had guns and bullet-proof vests. Viets said 12 plants and eight baby sprouts in a closet are not a large operation.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri legislators who favor relaxing the state's marijuana laws are weighing a renewed push for reforms.
House Democrats Chris Kelly of Columbia and Rory Ellinger, of University City were among the speakers Thursday at a Columbia forum on marijuana policy.
Kelly and Ellinger backed legislation this year that would have made possession of small amounts of marijuana a low-level misdemeanor with no jail time, similar to a traffic ticket. Columbia and St. Louis already have such laws.
The Columbia Missourian reports Kelly says he would favor pursuing full legalization of marijuana only if there were enough organizational support from pro-legalization groups.
Kelly's also uncertain whether it would be wiser to seek legislative approval of lower penalties for marijuana possession or to put any proposed reforms on a statewide ballot.
Several St. Peters residents are calling for their alderman to resign after he was charged with marijuana possession. Alderman Tommy Roberts was charged after St. Peters police found marijuana in his home August 7th.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that about a half-dozen residents called for Roberts resignation at Thursday night's meeting of the Board of Aldermen. None of the aldermen responded to the comments last night.
Roberts, who has Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer, said shortly after his arrest that the marijuana possession was "a medical issue."
Firefighters responding to a call in Park Hills, Missouri got more than they bargained for when they found a marijuana growing operation in the basement. The Daily Journal newspaper in Park Hills reports that emergency crews were called to the home when the resident's mother fell asleep with a lit cigarette, catching her mattress on fire. This happened early Saturday morning. After firefighters extinguished the blaze, they searched the home and reportedly found about 20 plants, as well as lighting and watering equipment in the basement. Formal charges have not yet been filed.
CHICAGO (AP) - If Illinois becomes the 19th state to legalize medical marijuana, experts say there may be scores of legal questions for businesses.
Crain's Chicago Business reports the bill that was approved by lawmakers in Springfield is prompting questions from observers.
The measure, which is awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature, is being billed as the strictest in the nation. It's not clear if Quinn will sign it.
The measure's sponsor says there'd be minimal impact on employers with a zero-tolerance drug policy.
But critics say there could be legal issues related to hiring and firing workers who test positive for the drug or show up to work while they're impaired.
A Cahokia school security guard is accused of possessing marijuana with plans to deal it at the middle school where he worked.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that 29-year-old Alvin Golliday of Cahokia was arrested Friday after police found marijuana in his car. They used a dog to search Lincoln Middle School for drugs.
Golliday is behind bars (Monday) this morning on $75,000 bond.
NOGALES, Mexico (AP) - A U.S. woman in a Mexico prison on a drug-smuggling charge has been released.
Yanira Maldonado walked out of the jail late Thursday night, after court officials reviewed security footage that showed her and her husband boarding a bus in Mexico with only blankets, bottles of water and her purse in hand.
Maldonado hugged her husband Gary and was greeted by well-wishers after she left the lockup and officials closed the jail doors behind her.
Maldonado was arrested by the Mexican military last week after they found nearly 12 pounds (5.4 kilograms) of pot under her seat on the commercial bus traveling from Mexico to Arizona.
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - 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 Knight is not downgrading those cases to municipal status.
The sheriff and prosecutor did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
Lighting up a joint may not land a pot smoker in the joint anymore in St. Louis city.
The Board of Aldermen voted 22-3 Monday to reduce penalties for possessing small amounts of the drug. Alderman Shane Cohn introduced the ordinance that would reduce the penalty for carrying pot to a municipal offense. That means police officers would not be required to arrests offenders, but could just issue a summons to municipal court.
The bill, which was introduced earlier this year by Alderman Shane Cohn, also enables police to recognize patients with “valid legal prescriptions for medicinal marijuana.” State law does not recognize so-called medicinal marijuana.
Violators would typically be given a summons to appear in municipal court instead of handcuffed and put in the back of a police car. Police currently charge marijuana offenders under more harsh state laws because no local law is on the books.
Currently under state law, first offenders who are caught with a small amount of marijuana — from a gram to 35 grams— are given a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. A second offense for possession of more than 35 grams is considered a felony.
The penalty for a violation of the proposed city ordinance would be a $100-$500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday that Sgt. Gary Wiegert is a lobbyist for Show-Me Cannabis, which wants Missouri to allow the regulated sale of marijuana. Wiegert also lobbies for the St. Louis Tea Party.
Police Chief Sam Dotson released a statement saying Wiegert is not representing the department and Wiegert's comments "are his own and not what is expected of our officers."
Wiegert is a former president of the St. Louis Police Officers Association. Messages left for Wiegert weren't immediately returned.