A bill that would decriminalize marijuana on a broad scale in St Louis has received preliminary support from legislators including Mayor Tishaura Jones (D).
In a decision taken on Friday, the Board of Aldermen advanced the proposal to the near-final “perfection” stage. The proposal will now be considered for the third reading.
In contrast to state laws that outlaw cannabis, Alderman Bret Narayan’s (D) plan would abolish local ordinances penalizing low amounts of possession and cultivation.
The current civil penalty would not apply to adults 21 and older who possess marijuana up to two ounces. If enacted, it would prevent the punishment of adults who cultivate up to six flowering plants with “no resources.”
A city employee who is a medicinal cannabis patient would be allowed to present his or her state-issued identification card “to avoid a punitive termination if he or she tests positive for marijuana.”
St. Louis’ marijuana laws are outdated, unfair, and discriminatory. In the past 3 years, 591 people were arrested in our city for marijuana-related charges – of those individuals, 82 percent were Black.
Let me be clear – locking people up for marijuana does NOT make us safer.
— Mayor Tishaura O. Jones (@saintlouismayor) November 21, 2021
The initiative has 11 cosponsors (D) currently, including Mayor Tishaura Jones. According to the representative of the mayor, the “intention is to free up police resources so they won’t have to worry about arresting a victimless criminal.”
This law would prohibit police from searching for or arresting people based on their smell or visual impression of marijuana smoke.
According to other studies, blacks consume marijuana at about the same rates as other racial groups,” he said. According to a review of three years of arrest data, black people make most cannabis-related arrests in the city.
According to Narayan, the marijuana bill will improve the earlier change made by St Louis in 2018, which raised the fine from $10 to $25. By eliminating the provision authorizing the fine, the bill will be better.
The sponsor noted that such legacy laws need to be updated “so that people do not end up with criminal records that hinder their access to public housing and other benefits.”.
It would continue to be criminal to give marijuana to minors, possess an excessive amount of cannabis, and sell cannabis on a property that prohibits it.
Missouri voters approved a ballot proposal legalizing medicinal cannabis in 2018.
According to the proposal, “The Board of Aldermen must make sure that the State of Missouri law applies to all ordinances of the City of St. Louis.”
Earlier this year, Kansas City, Missouri’s City Council voted to repeal all penalties for marijuana possession under the city’s local laws.
As part of the cannabis measure, Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) and four local lawmakers repealed a similar section of the city’s Code of Ordinances that imposed a $500 fine for possession of greater than 35 grams of marijuana.
Most Kansas City municipal employees will be exempt from pre-employment drug tests for cannabis under a resolution passed by the City Council in September.
Activists in the state are attempting to pass adult-use marijuana legislation in 2022 through the efforts of at least two groups.
The proposal of Legal Missouri 2022 proposes using marijuana tax income to support automatic expungements for former cannabis offenders, followed by programs to support veterans’ health care, drug abuse treatment, and public defenders.
Despite competing legalization measures on the ballot in 2018, the Missouri state government passed a medical cannabis measure in 2018.
COVID-19 thwarted the group’s campaign last year to legalize recreational marijuana.
The legislature should take the lead on reform, according to some reform advocates. Rep. Shamed Dogan (R) will reintroduce similar legislation early next year after the previous effort failed this session after two years of discussion. Last year, he introduced a resolution to put legalization on the ballot and require lawmakers to create a legal framework if it passed.