It’s been 30 years since the criminal code of Missouri was updated. It’s high time. In order to make the proper changes, the state assembled a committed of prosecutors, defense lawyers, and lawmakers to make recommendations as to the many changes that are needed.
Some of the old laws were duplicated, others needed updating to reflect changes elsewhere in the code. But lawmakers looked at the committee’s recommendations and made some disappointing cuts.
Many states are adjusting how they treat drug crimes for many reasons, but namely because those in practice aren’t working. They aren’t reducing drug use and they are costing millions in a time where state government doesn’t have the excess millions to spend.
So, understandably and predictably, the committee tasked with overhauling the criminal code of Missouri hoped to see some progressive changes passed forward.
The committee recommended that most drug possession charges be classified under a new felony heading, “Class E felonies”. This new felony class would essentially work to close a gap within the current sentence structure and would ensure that the state wasn’t incarcerating (and spending the millions) on people who were accused of nonviolent and minor drug offenses. The lawmakers said no.
Another recommendation made by the committee was that a first time marijuana possession charge would be punishable by a fine only, no jail time. Again, lawmakers said no. The bill they’ve filed keeps marijuana possession as it is, a Class A misdemeanor carrying up to one year in jail.
So, while lawmakers, the judiciary, and basically everyone else can agree that changes need to be made within the Missouri criminal code, the lawmakers seem to be the only ones who think those changes shouldn’t extend to drug offenses.
The War on Drugs and it’s resulting prison boom has cost this country and the state of Missouri an obscene amount of money. And it’s cost more than cash—it’s cost families their fathers and communities hard workers. But, lawmakers aren’t ready to change that. At least not here.
If you are accused of drug possession or even possession with intent to distribute, we may be able to help. You could be facing prison time and a lifetime of consequences for a single mistake. Contact us today to discuss your charges and the legal options available to you.