Missouri Marijuana, Hemp Bills Filed

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.

Jefferson City, MO
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Smoking Hemp

At an exit ramp on Hwy. 10 thru Louisiana back in `95 , I encountered a Hemp patch . I broke off a good top and smoked some of it . 3 good blunt sized joints along with a 6 pack of Corona . I was out of state and without a bud , so I made do with my surroundings . The top of the break-off was o.k.  .  Measure of last resort I guess .

Personally i think that

Personally i think that marijuana should be really legalized in all the U.S.A but with some restrictions, leaving blank page to the marijuana possession could lead to the non-distinction between who use it for is own sake and who use it to chain people under its control...

Just my thoughts...

It's About Time

I'm just glad to see our state finally getting more caught up to the times. We're one of few states who have no decriminalization laws and no medical marijuana laws. As a "pothead", I'm glad to see some efforts finally being made by those who are supposed to do what the people who voted them in want them to do.

Eliminate "paraphernalia" law, legalize vaporizer and one-hitter

                                                                            Re taini ng     a          a      "pot paraphernalia" penalty drives users from a vaporizer or a 25-mg-per-toke one-hitter to hot-burning overdose monoxide $igarette papers, generally considered legal, easy to hide etc., and designed for 500-mg-per-lightup servings.     


 I                 f Mr. Payne is serious about a legal framework that REDUCES USE, then let's reward miniaturization of dosage, duh?

Re-Legalize Hemp Agriculture!

If I still lived in MO, Rory Ellinger would get my vote.  I grew up on a farm in Liberty that had wild hemp growing on it.  It is a hardy plant, and can be used to make thousands of products.  There is no good reason to ban hemp. Colorado farmers are growing hemp this spring, but MO farmers can't take advantage of these potential jobs until we get more Rory Ellingers in the legislature.

 @ kickback, I'm glad the feral smoke worked out for you, but the stuff on my childhood farm didn't give anyone a buzz....


Legalize in Missouri - Voters are going to vote pro-Medical Marj

To live in a state (Missouri) watching the house BILL FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA four years in a row not being heard is insanity.  I am 52 years old, and ashamed of my legislators.  Recently a very good friend of mine passed away, he could get all the morphine he wanted for pain, but it horrible side effects.,cramps, vomit, ect.... The only relief he could find was in Medical Marijuana obtained by breaking the law.  Let me tell you, he would be alive today if he could have accessed Medical Marijuana in Missouri.  He could actually eat, and removed his pain...  Everyone at the funeral 500+ knew his pain... This spring, we intend to vote these politicians out, and get more progressive, caring politicians in office.   MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN MISSOURI IS NEEDED FOR OUR SICK... WAKE UP...

Legalize Medical Marijuana !!

I have 3 medical conditions(Crohn's Disease, Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis)  that under other states that have legalized marijuana qualify for medicinal use. I have so much pain most every day, yet I can't take pain medication.. This would help those of us who are truely sick to live day to day with some sort of quality of life. I have never tried it, but I am more than willing if Missouri would just pass the law already !! 

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