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Marijuana And Hemp Bills Filed In Missouri


missouri marijuana hemp cannabisBy Phillip Smith, StopTheDrugWar.Org

Members of the Missouri legislature have introduced three different marijuana law reform bills this month — one to decriminalize possession; one to expunge misdemeanor offenses, including possession, from the record after five years; and one to legalize industrial hemp.

Rep. Rory Ellinger (D-University City) and two cosponsors introduced the decriminalization bill, House Bill 512, at a press conference earlier this month. The bill would make the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana or paraphernalia punishable only by a fine, but it would still be a criminal offense — a misdemeanor — instead of a civil infraction. The bill would also encourage judges to use “suspended imposition of sentence,” under which the person is not convicted and, if he successfully completes a probationary period, there is no longer any public record of the matter.

Perhaps decriminalization is not quite the right word.”Depenalization” would be more correct.

“Every year, nearly 20,000 Missourians are put in chains and then relegated to second-class citizenship by a criminal record for the possession of small amounts of marijuana,” said John Payne, executive director of Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, who addressed the press conference. “This policy costs Missouri taxpayers tens of millions of dollars every year, but does nothing to decrease marijuana use or eliminate the harms associated with the black market. There are no other proposals before our legislators that can do so much good so easily.”

At the same press conference, Rep. Ellinger also introduced the expungement bill, House Bill 511. Under current Missouri law, only a very few specified offenses can be expunged. This bill would allow expungement for all misdemeanor offenses, including marijuana and paraphernalia offenses, except for violent or sex offenses.

“Although these measures may seem like long shots, one year ago, no one would have predicted that the Republican majority in both houses would reduce the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine or reduce the term of probation in most felony drug cases by one half, especially during an election year,” said Dan Viets, a veteran attorney with Show-Me Cannabis Regulation. “Those reforms passed with bipartisan support, and these bills can too. That means we will do everything we can to make it happen in 2013.”

And this week, Sen. Jason Holsman (D-South Kansas City) introduced an industrial hemp bill, Senate Bill 358. It would exempt industrial hemp — defined as containing less than 1% THC — from the state’s controlled substances act and allow anyone not convicted of a drug-related crime to grow it. An identical bill was introduced in the House last year, but didn’t move.

After the snow melts in Missouri, legislators will be getting back to work. It would be nice if the Show Me State could show the rest of us the way forward.

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Johnny Green


  1. Lets see. $3 a gram is about $1,500 an lb. Hot house tomatoes are $5 an lb. Why you want to support a black market?

    And then there is tobacco smuggling from taxes.

    But OK. I’ll go along with this if we tax alcohol at $1,000 a gallon. Gasoline at $20 a gallon. Food at $10 an lb. Water at $10 a gallon ($25 a flush). That should fund government really well.

    Why do you think it is right to treat citizens like serfs? Or indentured servants? If you love government so much become a DEA agent.

  2. There are many paths forward, but none of them run through enforced mandatory reeducation programs!

  3. As a former and current Cannabis activist, I want to say it’s a move in the right direction.
    We still have a community that supports legalization. We also still have many who fear legalization will could degrade our society. Though their fears will subside when they see that cannabis is like having a glass of wine.

    I used to go out on a daily basis and collect support from the community on legalization of cannabis. I’d like to reignite this flame and spark activism in our community, so that when the smoke clears we have a state where we can grow and sell cannabis. What I want to see happen is, we the people are allowed to grow and sell cannabis,just like vegetables. .
    For those who say “It’s not legal because they can’t tax it”

    If the federal government issues taxes for cannabis, and states licenses growers, We would see stable cannabis prices and the market would not be flooded with weed. Instead people like you and me would pay for a license, and go buy our plants from a nursery or seed bank. We would grow our weed, then buy tax stamps to sell the weed on the local market. If the government collected $1 per gram it would limit growers and generate a hoop for the big tobacco industry. The tobacco companies otherwise would grow and buy cannabis at dollars per pound. Then they will sell it back to us in packs of 20 ciggerettes. If cannabis is legal to where anyone could pay for a permit and grow we would see cannabis at prices like $2 -$3 a gram which is cheaper. You may say, well why do I need to pay taxes, why not just sell the weed without paying taxes. Well many people try to get around taxes and that happens.

    There is a method that could be used to keep people buying tax stamps. Tax stamps would draw in more revenue then fines issued for possession of cannabis. The Stamp program could work as a scratch off lotto ticket, where the consumer has a chance to win money after purchasing cannabis. The strategy works so that the consumer would demand and prefer to buy weed that has tax stamps attached because they want a chance to win tax awards. With the amount of weed consumed annually in the USA, its likely this program could bring in billions of tax dollars.

  4. Missouri sucks so bad. They talk about these bill as if they’re so progressive. Its pathetic. I for one cant wait to finish school and gtfo of this stoneaged neocon wet dream of a state. We still enforce clan laws in some rural counties if that paints a picture on how pot is treated outside St Louis. No bills on Medicine or actual decriminalization. Tired of waiting for my state to catch up with the movement. Fuck Misery

  5. Show the way forward? We are supposed to be grateful that when they find us, they are only going to fine us and then require that we attend reeducation therapy, that we have to pay for, and take drug tests, that we have to pay for. They are going to apply mandatory reeducation therapy to “fix” us, and then ,make us pay for the therapy! That isn’t even a baby step.

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