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St. Louis Considering Reform Of Marijuana Laws


show me cannabis regulation missouri smcr st louis marijuana shane cohnShow-Me Cannabis Regulation Backs Reforms

SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI – 01/14/2013 – On Friday, Saint Louis alderman Shane Cohn introduced a bill to reform the way law enforcement in the city handles the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Cohn’s proposal would allow the city to ticket people for marijuana possession instead of charging them under state law. If convicted of possession of marijuana under state law, an individual would receive a criminal record that can impede his ability to receive federal student aid, find employment, or even rent an apartment.

“It is way past due for our government to review the way we address our war on drugs and the issues of fairness, equity, and efficiency that accompany it,” Alderman Cohn explained. “We could create more public resources — with additional funding going to mental health services for people struggling with drug abuse and addiction — through the legalization, regulation, and taxation of marijuana. Hopefully, through example, we can start a public dialogue in the State of Missouri that will lead toward more progressive policies around the usage of marijuana.”

Show-Me Cannabis Regulation Executive Director — and Saint Louis City resident — John Payne welcomed the proposed reform. “Every minute a police officer spends arresting someone for the possession of marijuana is a minute that they are not protecting the people of this city from violence and property crimes. The threat of arrest and a criminal record is far more dangerous to cannabis users than the substance itself, and those legal sanctions have fallen most forcefully upon low income individuals and people of color. We hope this proposal will begin to right those wrongs.”

Show-Me Cannabis Regulation has been working with Progress with Liberty, a new Saint Louis public advocacy group, to launch a campaign to decriminalize the possession of marijuana in the city. On Friday, Show-Me Cannabis Regulation published a policy brief written as part of that collaboration, which can be read here:


The brief explains that Saint Louis already operates under a de facto policy of decriminalization, and argues that the city should formalize that policy through a municipal law similar to the one approved by voters in Columbia, Missouri in 2004.

Other cities in the region that have decriminalized possession of a small amount of cannabis include Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Carbondale, Chicago, Evanston, Springfield, and Urbana, Illinois; and Lawrence, Kansas. Fourteen states have decriminalized cannabis possession, including the nearby states of Ohio, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Mississippi.


Show-Me Cannabis Regulation is an association of organizations and individuals, who believe that cannabis prohibition is a failed policy, and regulating and taxing cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol would better control the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis than the criminal market does. The group seeks to engage Missourians in a serious, public discussion about the issues associated with marijuana consumption, including medical cannabis, industrial hemp, public safety, and financial analysis in order to address problems associated with the current, failed policy.


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Johnny Green


  1. Thing is, Daniel, decriminalization happens in steps. Now, unless you want the federal government banging on the doors of newly constructed head shops all over the city, threatening our city’s economic stability by stealing products and money from the state-legal-but-federally-illegal establishments, the best way to go about this change is slow but steady reform. The fact that lawmakers are stepping in to say that this step is not only wanted by St. Louisans but is actually a wise move overall is a good sign that this will not be the end of marijuana reform, but in fact, the beginning. Until the federal part of our government concedes, however, it is still technically illegal no matter what we do on a state level. If you want total decriminalization, then petition DC, where those decisions are made.

  2. Casey - MO, USN Veteran on

    Yay!!!!…. Finally, good gracious can the rest of the state catch up…. I also agree with doing away with punishments that uphold a Federal Mandate, not an actual law of the people, would only be fair, as well as the fact that the state is still keeping a natural resource illegal, HEMP, which you can not get any effects off of except for the over 20,000 products it can make, including oil, energy, clothes, and food…. Take a look at “The Emperor Wear’s No Clothes,” it is a book that is written by Jack Herrar and will open minds to what we are missing out on!

  3. Government doesn’t do anything until they have to do it. Give them a deadline and they will take it to the last minute. It is time to stop giving them time to mull it over, etc.

  4. On order for any type of change to really occur; the laws being developed must have a strong language about being allowed to GROW cannabis on personal property.
    I would love to grow cannabis; not for the flower, marijuana, but for the hemp value and the medicinal vaule of the plant itself.
    In Florida I could grow cannabis in a commercial factor on land that once contained orange groves and produce more product that the cirturs ever could. This translates into large amounts of financial gains and has NOTHING to do with drugs.

  5. Daniel A. Jones on

    Mr. Cohn, I am writing in regard to what I believe is a misstep in fighting against the unjust prohibition of Cannabis. Your bill which is gaining momentum, is geared to lessen the penalties of cannabis use. I believe our great state should not lessen penalties, but do away with them entirely. Anything less than the complete legalization of Cannabis is still calling it illegal and that just isn’t right. You are still proposing that cannabis is a crime and to me, that makes you a prohibitionist. You have a great deal of responsibility owed to your constituents and making the majority of them criminals is not the answer. For you, this may be a badge of courage. to folks like me, it is our life you are talking about. Please reconsider the stance you are taking and stand up for our rights. Thank you, Daniel A. Jones

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