Penalties for possession of marijuana in Missouri range from a $500 fine and no jail time (for first-time possession of 10 grams or less) to 7 years in prison and a $10,000 fine (for felony possession of more than 35 grams).
Here is a link to a chart showing Missouri penalties for possession of marijuana, drug paraphernalia, hash and concentrates, as well as the penalties for the sale, trafficking, distribution, and cultivation of marijuana in Missouri.
Possession of Marijuana Has Not Been Decriminalized in Missouri
Missouri law regarding marijuana possession considers marijuana a controlled substance, which is illegal to possess, use, grow, or sell in Missouri.
In 2017, the penalty for first-time possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana was decreased to just a fine of $500 and no possibility of jail time. Regardless of that fact, marijuana has not been decriminalized in Missouri.
Therefore, if you plead guilty to unlawful use of drug paraphernalia or possession of marijuana (even 10 grams or less), you will end up with a drug conviction on your criminal record. Having a drug conviction on your record will make it very difficult to find a job, rent an apartment, or get federal financial aid for college.
How To Avoid Getting Caught With Marijuana
The best way to avoid getting caught with weed is to restrict yourself to smoking it in your own home. If you smoke pot at home and decide to go out later, you should take a shower and change your clothes before leaving your house, and don’t bring any weed or paraphernalia with you. If you do bring weed or paraphernalia with you in your car, don’t leave it out in the open where a police officer could easily see it.
Of course, if you feel impaired in any way, do not drive, or else you risk getting charged with DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs).
Even if you are not impaired, if a police officer pulls you over for a traffic violation and smells marijuana on your clothes or in your car, the officer can search your car without your consent. If the officer finds a baggy of weed or a one-hitter in your car, the officer may arrest you but will more likely just give you a ticket for possession of marijuana and/or drug paraphernalia and let you go.
For more helpful tips for avoiding a drug conviction, see my previous blog post “Best & Worst Places to Smoke Weed in Missouri.”
An Attorney Can Keep Marijuana Charges Off Your Criminal Record
You will need to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you if you want to keep marijuana or drug paraphernalia charges off your criminal record.
It is very common for my clients to never have to appear in court. However, the outcome of your case depends on many factors, such as:
- How old are you?
- Do you have any prior drug-related arrests, charges, or convictions?
- Which court is your case being prosecuted in?
- How much marijuana were you caught with?
- Were you cooperative and polite to the police officer?
Most attorneys offer a free consultation and can give you a flat-fee price quote for how much they will charge to represent you, including an estimate of the fines and court costs you will have to pay to the court to get your charges reduced.
Contact St. Louis marijuana lawyer Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or [email protected] for a free consultation about your Missouri marijuana or drug paraphernalia charges.