A bill decriminalizing up to ten grams of cannabis has been sent to Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon for signing. The measure would make the maximum possession of the small amount a fine, instead of up to a year in jail. There’s a catch though. Those caught and charged with pot possession in the past – any amount – are still facing possible jail time.
Read on for more.
The offense of possession of more than ten grams but less than 36 grams of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class A misdemeanor.
The offense of possession of not more than 10 grams of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class D misdemeanor. If the defendant has previously been found guilty of any offense to the laws related to controlled substances of this state, or of the United States, or any state, territory, or district, the offense is a class A misdemeanor.
Yes, that means if you’ve ever been busted for marijuana or any controlled substance not just in Missouri, but anywhere in the U.S., you would still face a class A misdemeanor and up to a year in jail for a little under a half-ounce of herb.
Missouri attorney Dan Viets, who helped draft the bill, tells our sister paper, The Riverfront Times, that the bill shouldn’t even be called “decriminalization”.
“Nobody should call this decriminalization,” attorney Dan Viets, who served on the Missouri Bar Committee that drafted the bill, tells Daily RFT. “Decriminalization means no arrest and no criminal record, but if cops choose to book you, they still can. It’s a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
That direction also includes removing mandatory denial of probation and parole for third-time drug felony “criminals”. That hopefully would prevent anyone else from doing prison for life for pot like Jeff Mizanskey, the only man serving life without parole for pot in the state.
The new laws go into effect in 2017. Until then, marijuana possession for an ounce or less is punishable by up to a year in jail.