A brand new bill proposed earlier in the week would allow for the use, sale and growth of pot in St. Louis, all while reducing unfair penalties stemming from former cannabis-related violations.
One of the ordinance’s main goals is to help free up law enforcement’s time, in order to focus their energy and resources on crimes with actual victims, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
A Step in the Right Direction
The bill, which is sponsored by Alderwoman Megan Green, would make it illegal for the city of St. Louis to impose laws that allow “the civil or criminal punishment for the use or possession of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia against any individual or entity.”
However, there are some key exceptions.
Criminal or civil penalties can be enforced in the following circumstances:
- Someone using marijuana under the age of 21,
- Selling marijuana to someone under 21,
- Possessing more than two ounces of marijuana or more than 10 marijuana plants for cultivation.
Additionally, cannabis consumption would be mostly restricted to private residential property, with limited public use.
The bill would also make it illegal to discriminate from hiring or terminating a current employee for smoking cannabis under the stipulations of the deal.
Missouri and Marijuana
Despite St. Louis’ progressive approach in attempting to lessen marijuana-related penalties, the state of Missouri as a whole has been far more stringent. Cannabis has yet to be decriminalized in the state, even for medicinal purposes.
However, there was a bill passed in 2014 which allowed the use of CBD oil for minors who suffered from rare cases of epilepsy.
Additionally, there have been small revisions to Missouri’s strict cannabis rules in recent years, at least in terms of petty possession. The recent criminal law change eliminated jail time for first-time offenders convicted of possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana.
Final Hit: Bill Would Allow for Use, Sale, and Growth of Pot in St. Louis
Surprisingly, this isn’t the first bill of its nature to be proposed in the city of St. Louis.
Back in 2013, the Board of Aldermen actually passed an ordinance that similarly reduced penalties for those caught with small amounts of marijuana in their possession.
“I think this is a good step for the city of St. Louis,” Alderman Shane Cohn said at the time. “It doesn’t legalize marijuana, but it gives fairness.”
The ordinance, which is still in effect today, enforces a $100-$500 fine for a small possession of pot. Additionally, it gives police officers the option to issue a court summons to first and second-time offenders possessing less than 35 grams of pot. This essentially transforms would-be criminal cases into trivial municipal affairs.
Prior to the bill, first-time offenders caught with a small amount of marijuana (between a gram and 35 grams) were charged with a misdemeanor, which would result in up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Furthermore, the second offense for possession of over 35 grams would be considered a felony. If Megan Green’s recently proposed bill is passed, it would take the place of Cohn’s current ordinance.
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