Up with smoke: Proposed Bill reduces penalty for marijuana possession

The Missouri House Special Committee on Criminal Justice voted 7-0 to approve legislation that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.  The bill proposes to reduce the penalty for marijuana possession of less than 36 grams from a felony to a class D misdemeanor.  The bill further would make possession of 10 grams or fewer from a misdemeanor to an infraction.

The idea behind the bill, according to its sponsor Rep. Shamed Dogan, is to allow law enforcement to focus on more serious crimes other than marijuana possession arrests. Reportedly, marijuana possession is the second most common arrest behind DWI in Missouri, whereas there continues to be large number of opiate related deaths.

This bill is just one of several related to marijuana possession crimes.  A bill that expunges certain prior marijuana conviction records for patients covered under the state’s new medical cannabis law was passed by  the full House just last March.

The proposed bill to decriminalize certain types of marijuana possession will go to the House Rules –  Legislative Oversight committee.   A passage of the bill is estimated in the future to increase revenue, decrease the number of persons incarcerated, and decrease the number of persons that need to be tracked on probation.

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