Thanks to the work of legislators, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, the State legislature recently made sweeping changes to the Missouri State Criminal Code.
Some of the most notable changes involve marijuana charges and sentencing. Although many of the State’s marijuana laws remain harsh, possession of small amounts has less severe consequences under the new laws. Here’s what you need to know about these new laws.
Possession of Small Amounts
If you’re caught for the first time with 10 grams or less of marijuana in your possession, there is no chance of jail time. Having 10 grams or less is now considered a class D misdemeanor in Missouri. There is a fine of up to $500.00 for first-time possession of small amounts of marijuana and no ability for jail time. However, repeat offenses involving 10 grams or less can lead to class A misdemeanor charges, which carry a punishment range of up to one year in jail and up to a $2,000.00 fine. Lastly, depending on whether you hire a competent attorney, a criminal conviction for possession could be part of your record as well.
Possession of Moderate Amounts
More than 10 grams and up to 35 grams of marijuana in your possession is a class A misdemeanor. Conviction involves up to one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Possession of Large Amounts
Having more than 35 grams of marijuana in your possession in Missouri is a felony. Class D felony possession of marijuana charges can lead to up to 7 years on prison and up to a fine of $10,000.00.
Sale, Distribution, and Trafficking of Marijuana
Depending on how much marijuana people are caught with and other circumstances, there are additional possible charges to be aware of. Possessing certain high amounts can trigger an inference that individuals are possessing it for more than simple possession; in those scenarios, they could be charged with selling, distributing, or trafficking marijuana. Sentencing for sale, distribution, or trafficking of marijuana is five years to life depending on the amount of marijuana involved, as well as several other factors. For example, selling near a school zone, or to a minor, impacts potential charges. If you’ve been arrested for marijuana possession, contact an attorney at the Lowry Law Firm immediately to determine what charges you might face.
Cultivation of Cannabis
Cultivation is included in trafficking. If you’re caught growing more than 500 plants, you can be charged with a class B felony and face 5 to 15 years in prison. Cultivation of fewer than 500 plants is punished based on the total weight of the plants found.
Owning marijuana paraphernalia is considered a misdemeanor. Like a first-time offense of possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana, a first-time offense of possession of drug paraphernalia is only a class D misdemeanor and cannot lead to jail time. However, it can lead to a $500.00 fine and a conviction.
Minors in Possession of Marijuana
If you’re under 21 years of age and you get caught with marijuana, your driver’s license will be suspended. Use of marijuana by a minor is also punishable with a suspended license if the use of the substance happened when the offender was under 21 years of age.
Although Missouri has adjusted its marijuana laws regarding the controlled substance, there are still very serious consequences with any drug charge. If you’ve received a ticket for or been charged with marijuana possession in the State of Missouri, contact The Lowry Law Firm immediately to start defending yourself against huge fines and a lengthy stay in a jail cell. There are case strategies for marijuana offenders, and our team knows how to use them to put you in the best position at the conclusion of your case.