New Law Reduces Penalties for Marijuana Possession

First-time possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana will be reduced from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D misdemeanor in Missouri as of January 1, 2017.

This means the maximum penalty for first-time possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana will be reduced to a fine of $500 and no jail time.

No Change in Punishment for Marijuana Possession if You Have Prior Convictions

If you have a prior drug-related conviction on your criminal record, possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana will still be considered a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Possession of 11 to 35 Grams of Marijuana Will Still be Considered a Class A Misdemeanor 

Currently, possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana is a Class A misdemeanor in Missouri. Under the new law, possession of 11 to 35 grams of marijuana will be charged as a Class A misdemeanor, with a potential penalty of 1 year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Drug Paraphernalia Possession Penalties Will be Reduced 

The new law will reduce first-time possession of drug paraphernalia to a Class D misdemeanor. If you have any prior drug-related convictions on your criminal record, an offense of drug paraphernalia possession will be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. (Currently, drug paraphernalia possession is a Class D felony if you have prior convictions.)

To read more about the new Missouri laws taking effect on January 1, 2017, click here to read the unofficial text of Senate Bill 491. The section relating to possession of a controlled substance is §579.015.

For more information about drug possession charges in Missouri, click here to read my previous blog post about how to fight a marijuana possession charge.


If you have been charged with possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia in Missouri, call St. Louis marijuana attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059 for a free consultation and price quote for legal representation. Or email Andrea at [email protected] or at [email protected]

Marijuana Penalties Reduced in St. Louis City

Possession of marijuana in St. Louis City will soon be considered a municipal ordinance violation, rather than a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. This means possession of a small amount of marijuana in St. Louis City will be treated less like a serious crime and more like a traffic ticket.

How Much is a “Small Amount” of Marijuana?

The new law does not specify how much a “small amount” of marijuana is. For now, that will be left up to the police officer to decide, until the police department issues a policy regarding the exact amount.

New Marijuana Law Goes Into Effect June 2013 in St. Louis City

On April 15, 2013, the Board of Alderman approved the proposed bill to make possession of a small amount of marijuana a municipal violation, and Mayor Slay has stated that he will approve it. The new law will go into effect June 1, 2013. Click here to read St. Louis City’s new marijuana law.

Columbia, MO has had a similar law regarding marijuana possession since 2004. Springfield, MO also approved the same type of law in 2012 but repealed it less than a month later.

Pot-Smokers Can Now be Charged Under More Lenient Municipal Ordinance

Currently St. Louis City does not have a local law prohibiting marijuana possession. Therefore, police have no choice but to charge offenders with a violation of the state law prohibiting possession of marijuana, rather than a violation of a municipal ordinance.

The prosecution of a state violation of marijuana possession is handled by the Circuit Attorney in state court, and the potential sentence is much more serious than if the defendant had been charged with a city ordinance violation in municipal court for the same offense.

In Missouri state court, misdemeanor possession of marijuana (35 grams or less) is a crime punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $1,000. In municipal court, the maximum penalty for the same amount of marijuana is 90 days in jail and a fine of $500.

Police Can Begin Issuing Tickets For Possession of Marijuana in June 2013

In the past when a police officer caught someone with a small amount of marijuana in St. Louis City, the officer frequently would let the person go free, rather than charging them under the more harsh state law. When the new law takes effect in June, police officers will be allowed to issue tickets to pot-smokers for municipal ordinance violations instead of state violations, and no arrest will be necessary.

Convictions For Possession of Marijuana Stay on Criminal Record Forever

If convicted of marijuana possession in state court or municipal court, you will have a drug conviction on your permanent criminal record. That conviction can never be expunged (removed) from your criminal record, and it can prevent you from getting a job, renting an apartment, obtaining a loan, being accepted into college, or getting a federal student loan.

For more information about St. Louis marijuana laws, or for a price quote for legal representation if you have been charged with possession of marijuana or drug paraphernalia, call St. Louis attorney Andrea Storey Rogers at (314) 724-5059, or email Andrea at [email protected]