June 14, 2018, St. Louis, Missouri
When it comes to cannabis reforms, Missouri is not the state anyone would bring up in the discussion. The strain remained illegal in the state for the longest time. However, some recent developments in the Show-me State indicate that cannabis might have a future there. Last month, Missouri legislature approved the bill to commence medical cannabis program in the state. Now, one of the major cities has cut back on its cannabis criminalization.
The circuit court in the city of St. Louis has issued an order to decriminalize the possession of pot under 100 grams. It’s a major improvement and gives hopes to the proponents that one day the strain will become legal.
St. Louis Marijuana Policy is Constantly Evolving
Scaling back of marijuana laws in St. Louis started in 2013. The legislative body of the city then decided to treat minor cannabis crimes as traffic violations instead of charging the caught individuals under the criminal decree. The amendment actually decriminalized the marijuana possession of 35 grams or less and such misdemeanors were shifted to lower courts.
Before this amendment, every cannabis case was taken care of by the circuit court’s attorney office. Like many other states, Missouri‘s war on drug also takes a greater toll on the people of color. Therefore, many advocates also hailed the decision to address the issue of racial disparity
However, it didn’t prove to be effective. In the following years, more cannabis-related arrests happened, particularly among the color community. According to the figures, more than 80 percent of cannabis-related tickets were issued to the black population. Moreover, the arbitrary limit of fines also turned out to be counterproductive. There were cases where people were handed with the fines of $500 for minor cannabis possessions. To sort this issue out, St. Louisa decided to cap cannabis penalties at $25 for small-amount cannabis possessions.
Following in the footsteps of legislative council regarding cannabis decriminalization in the city, the county circuit judge issued a memo to decriminalize the possession of 100 gram or less. The decision has gone immediately into effect. It’s important to dissect this memo from a legal point of view.
Before this, an individual charged with $25 penalty got its name in the criminal record. Actually, any case prosecuted in courts where the individual pleads guilty becomes a part of his/her criminal record. For people caught with minor amounts of cannabis, apparently, it’s not that worrying. They have to go to a municipality court, plead guilty, pay the fine and they are done with the entire prosecution.
However, this incident will be highlighted whenever the individual will go through criminal background check. Having a criminal record even for insignificant misdemeanors can make many standard things difficult and extraordinary for the affected.
For instance, they might find it hard to clear the screening for a job. Institutes remain reluctant in issuing them loans even if they have good credit scores. Many other everyday difficulties can be faced by the people with criminal records even the minor ones.
Marijuana stays in the news, and Alice is always ready to keep us updated. A world traveler and lover of freedom, Alice knows what is going on, no matter where she roams. She specializes in marijuana legalization stories across the globe, with up to date... [read more]