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Marijuana Bill Aims to Keep First-Time Offenders Out of Jail

Rep. Rory Ellinger introduced House Bills 511 and 512 Thursday.

State Rep. Rory Ellinger, D-University City, introduced two bills Thursday that impact how law enforcement deals with marijuana possession.

  • House Bill 511 — To repeal sections 488.650 and 610.140, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to petitions to expunge certain criminal records. The bill oncreases the surcharge on petitions for expungement from one hundred dollars to five hundred dollars and expands the list of misdemeanor offenses which can be expunged
  • House Bill 512 — To repeal sections 195.202 and 195.233, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to controlled substances, with penalty provisions. Revises penalty provisions for possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana and possession of marijuana drug paraphernalia

The AP reports that the legislation aims to save the state money by keeping first-time drug offenders out of jail and would help people with marijuana convictions in their youth get jobs later by not having to disclose the conviction.

"It means keeping the records clean of countless numbers of young people who take a flow trip on the river, they have a little bit of marijuana on them. They don't even bother to come in, they plead out and they can never get a job," Ellinger told The Riverfront Times in November. "Literally thousands of people are affected this way on a yearly basis."

Do you think Missouri should lower the criminal penalties for marijuana offenses? Tell us in the comments.

FlyingTooLow February 08, 2013 at 08:30 PM
ANY time in prison for a marijuana offense is wrong...whether the length of incarceration is 20 years or 20 minutes...it is wrong!
Ronald February 09, 2013 at 06:56 PM
interested in reading it flying tolow
FlyingTooLow February 10, 2013 at 07:37 PM
@Ronald... I truly hope that you enjoy the read...I look forward to your review. A million thanks for your comment, Hugh Yonn
Billy Frank Thornton February 11, 2013 at 07:08 AM
Why not.?..society has gone to pot anyway. Very interesting that these meaningless crimes should have expungment of records raised from $100 to $500.
StL_303 February 14, 2013 at 10:00 PM
a step in the right direction but doesn't go far enough. Marijuana should simply be legal across the board.

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