Over the last decade, laws regarding cannabis have changed drastically. While some states have decriminalized possession of marijuana, others have kept their possession charges in tact and with heavy penalties. Missouri has made changes to its marijuana laws that not all residents may be aware of.
This post will introduce 3 important facts about Missouri’s marijuana laws to its readers. These pieces of information are just that – information – and should not be read as legal advice. When an individual has questions or concerns about marijuana possession charges, they can contact their trusted criminal defense attorney for advice.
Fact #1: Getting caught with marijuana in one’s possession can lead to jail time.
In 2018, Missouri relaxed its marijuana possession laws to some extent. For a first-time possession arrest, if a person has up to 10 grams of marijuana in their possession, they can expect a fine but no jail sentence. However, if they are arrested a second time with the same amount of marijuana on them, they can face up to 1 year in jail. In general, the more marijuana a person has in their possession, the more serious of a penalty they may face.
Fact #2: State law relaxations do not mean federal laws do not apply.
It is important that individuals remember that changes in marijuana laws at the state level do not impact the power of the federal government to prosecute those in possession of illegal substances under federal laws. Depending upon the circumstances of a person’s arrest, they may face federal penalties that far exceed the state sanctions imposed for similar crimes.
Fact #3: A marijuana possession arrest can have far-reaching consequences.
It is often the fact that individuals focus on the immediate penalties of drug crime convictions – fines and jail time – without fully comprehending how much drug convictions can impact them. For example, an individual who is arrested and convicted of marijuana possession should be prepared to have that criminal inclusion on their record for a long time. It may show up when they apply for a new job in a background check, and it may affect their ability to work in certain fields and industries.
Drug crimes are serious, but individuals should also know that they have rights. When they are arrested, they have the option to seek legal counsel from knowledgeable Missouri-based attorneys who work in the criminal defense field. A criminal defense lawyer can advise their client of options they have to confront their charges and the facts they are based upon. Their attorney can help them examine the legality of their arrest and the circumstances surrounding it. They can also support their client as they consider plea deals and other options to reduce or mitigate their possible penalties. Drug crimes should be taken seriously, but they can be managed and fought with confident legal representation.