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Du Quoin council postpones action on marijuana

 
By Geoffrey Ritter
gritter@localsouthernnews.com
updated: 2/28/2017 10:21 AM

The city of Du Quoin will return to the drawing board before finalizing its plans to assess any specific civil penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana and related drug paraphernalia.

Although city officials were expected to take formal action at the Monday meeting of the Du Quoin City Council, Mayor Guy Alongi asked that the measures be temporarily shelved while officials work to further refine them.

After the meeting, Alongi said the postponement was in the interest of making sure the ordinances clearly define how fines collected are distributed among the city, county and state. Formal action is expected sometime this spring.

"We want to make sure we have the fines in agreement," Alongi said. "We want to do this right."

The work follows new state legislation that took effect last month decriminalizing possession of small amounts of the drug. The city's home rule status allows it to set its own civil fine structure under the newly enacted law.

The city's current proposed ordinance allows for a civil fine of between $400 and $750 for a person found in possession of 10 grams or less of any substance containing cannabis. Those caught with the drug also would be required to pay a $125 laboratory analysis fee to the Perry County circuit clerk.

Any person found with cannabis-related paraphernalia would be subject to a fine of between $250 and $750.

A fine structure also is in place for anyone found selling drug paraphernalia within the city limits, and liquor establishments would face immediate suspension or forfeiture of their liquor licenses for violating the prohibition on paraphernalia sales. The city already has a previous paraphernalia-related ordinance in place.