Legislation that seeks to significantly reduce marijuana possession penalties has been introduced in the Missouri legislature. Representatives Rory Ellinger (D-University City) and Chris Kelly (D-Columbia) have introduced legislation, House Bill 512, to decriminalize marijuana penalties for adults who possess up to thirty five grams of marijuana.
Under present law, the possession of up to thirty five grams of cannabis is classified as a Class A criminal misdemeanor, publishable by up to a year in jail and a $1000 fine. This proposal seeks to make minor marijuana offenses a fine-only, non-criminal infraction, punishable by a maximum fine of $250. Doing so would significantly reduce state prosecutorial costs and allow law enforcement resources to be refocused on other, more serious criminal offenses. You can read the full text of this proposal here.
Said Rep. Chris Kelly (D-Columbia), one of the bills sponsors, "It [a marijuana offense] ... shouldn’t cloud a person’s life forever. At some point, society ought to let people up and let them go back to being productive citizens."
Recent polling, conducted by DHM Research, revealed that 54% of Missouri voters support legalizing the adult use of marijuana.
Please urge your state House member to support HB 512. For your convenience, a pre-written letter will be e-mailed to your elected official when you visit NORML's New 'Take Action Center' here:
NORML will continue to update you in the coming weeks as this proposal moves forward. Additional information about this measure is available from Missouri NORML.
The NORML Team