Across the country, marijuana laws are starting to become increasingly lenient. While it remains a federally banned substance, some changes to Missouri’s criminal laws have lessened some of the penalties associated with marijuana.
These revisions affect marijuana possession, distribution and cultivation. Here is how the penalties surrounding these crimes have changed beginning this year.
Perhaps the biggest change is that possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana will no longer result in jail time for a first offense. Previously, any possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana could lead to up to one year of jail time and a fine of up to $1,000. Now, the maximum penalty for a first offense for less than 10 grams is a $500 fine, although a conviction will still go on your record as a criminal conviction.
Distribution laws are notoriously strict in Missouri. Prior to this legislation being enacted, distributing less than five grams of marijuana was a Class C felony that carried up to seven years in jail and a maximum $5,000 fine.
These penalties have lessened with the new legislation, although they are still strict. Distributing 35 grams or less of marijuana now carries a maximum penalty of four years in jail and a $10,000 fine. Possessing 35 grams to 30 kilograms will lead to 3-10 years of incarceration and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Punishments for first-time convictions relating to the cultivation of marijuana have also been reduced. Previously, a first-time conviction could result in up to 15 years of jail time. Beginning this year, the maximum sentence is 10 years.
While it is good that many of these penalties associated with marijuana use have lessened, that does not mean you should take a drug charge lightly. Receiving a conviction could have lasting consequences for you. If you’re facing charges related to marijuana or another type of drug, working with a criminal defense attorney can help you work toward achieving a more favorable outcome.