The City of St. Louis 25th Ward alderman Shane Cohn recently
proposed a bill to the Board of Alderman that would allow City Officers to charge people
in possession of marijuana in any amount under 35 grams, with a city ordinance
violation instead of a state charge. If it passes, this could dramatically
affect the penalties for people who are charged with possession of marijuana
within the city of St. Louis.
Marijuana Penalties May Be Affected
Currently, the penalties for possession of marijuana under 35 grams vary
greatly depending on where a person is charged. For instance, in many
municipalities in the St. Louis area, lawyers with clients charged with
possession of marijuana under 35 grams can often times negotiate an amendment
of the charge to something like littering. The client will pay a fine
and there is no guilty plea or conviction for possession of marijuana.
However, because there is no ordinance violation in the City of St. Louis for
possession of marijuana under 35 grams, police officers have no choice but to charge a person
with a state misdemeanor under Missouri Revised Statute 195.202.
Consequently, a person charged in the City of St. Louis can be sentenced to:
- Up to a year in jail
- $1,000 fine
- Community service hours
- Probation fees
- Shock jail time
- Loss of their driver's license for up to a year, and,
- Possible conviction that will result in a permanent criminal history.
The passage of the proposed bill will level the penalties in the City of
St. Louis with the penalties given in St. Louis County and its surrounding
municipalities. It will also free up state court resources as well as
police resources. The bill seems like a win-win for everyone involved
in the process, especially defendants. We'll keep a close eye on this
bill's progress and if you are charged with possession of marijuana
in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, Jefferson County, St. Charles
or Franklin County,
contact the attorneys at Millikan Wright, LLC for a free consultation.