St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner recently announced she will no longer prosecute anyone charged with possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana and will dismiss all current cases under 100 grams unless there are aggravating circumstances.
In some marijuana cases, Gardner may recommend a “diversion” program instead of immediate dismissal. With a diversion program, the charges are dismissed if the defendant maintains a clean criminal record for a certain period of time.
In 2017, there were 205 murders in the city of St. Louis, making it the deadliest city in the United States because of its per capita murder rate. Marijuana cases currently make up 20% of the St. Louis City Circuit Court docket. Gardner believes that by refusing to prosecute marijuana cases of 100 grams or less, police will be able to focus their resources on fighting more serious crimes.
Marijuana Possession Is Still Illegal In St. Louis
Many people believe marijuana has been “decriminalized” in St. Louis, but that is not true. Possession of marijuana is still illegal in St. Louis and throughout Missouri.
New Marijuana Cases Will Be Prosecuted In St. Louis City Municipal Court
St. Louis City Police don’t sound very happy about Gardner’s refusal to prosecute marijuana possession.
“We’ve got a name for somebody riding around with 100 grams of marijuana in their car — a drug dealer,” said Jeff Roorda, business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association.
In the future, St. Louis City police officers can still issue citations for possession of under 100 grams of marijuana but those cases will have to be prosecuted through the St. Louis City Municipal Court.
Marijuana Possession Will Still Be Prosecuted In St. Louis And Throughout Missouri
If you get caught with weed in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, or anywhere else in Missouri, your case can be prosecuted in either the municipal court or circuit court in the municipality or county in which you were caught.
EXAMPLE: If police charge you with possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana or drug paraphernalia at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Maryland Heights, your case will be prosecuted in Maryland Heights Municipal Court.
EXAMPLE: If police charge you with possession of under 100 grams of marijuana in St. Louis City, your case can be prosecuted in St. Louis City Municipal Court.
EXAMPLE: If you get caught with 35 grams or less of marijuana or drug paraphernalia on the river or at a state park in Crawford County Missouri, your case will be prosecuted in Crawford County Circuit Court.
PLEASE NOTE: Federal prosecutors can prosecute marijuana possession cases if the Circuit Attorney refuses to prosecute them.
How Much Is The Fine For Possession Of Marijuana In St. Louis City?
The fine for possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana in St. Louis City was reduced to $25 in March 2018.
What Happens If You Plead Guilty To Possession Of Marijuana?
If you plead guilty to marijuana possession (even if it’s just an ordinance violation in municipal court), you will have a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record.
Having a drug conviction on your record can prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, or obtaining federal student aid for college.
I discussed why you should not plead guilty to marijuana possession in my previous blog post, “Don’t Plead Guilty To Possession Of 10 Grams Or Less Of Marijuana.”
What Is The Maximum Sentence For Marijuana Possession In Missouri?
The maximum punishment for misdemeanor marijuana or drug paraphernalia possession in Missouri is as follows:
• 10 grams or less of marijuana (1st-time offender) = $500 fine but no jail time
• 10 grams or less of marijuana (not a 1st-time offender) = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail
• Drug Paraphernalia (first-time offender) = $500 fine but no jail time
• Drug Paraphernalia (not a 1st-time offender) = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail
• 35 grams or less = $2,000 fine and 1 year in jail
An Attorney Can Get Your Marijuana Charges Dismissed Or Reduced To A Less Serious Offense
If you get caught with marijuana in St. Louis or elsewhere in Missouri, you can hire an attorney to get your charges dismissed or reduced to a less serious offense, such as “Littering.”
The outcome of your marijuana case depends a lot on which court your case is being prosecuted in because some prosecutors are more strict than others. In many cases, everything can be taken care of without the defendant being required to appear in court.
Discuss your case with an experienced attorney and get a price quote for how much they will charge to represent you. Most attorneys offer a free consultation and can give you an estimate of the fines and court costs you will have to pay.
For a free consultation about your Missouri marijuana case, contact St. Louis marijuana lawyer Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 or [email protected]