Missouri House debates a bill that would decriminalize marijuana
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – On Thursday the Missouri House heard debate on HB 1095 that would lower punishment for certain amounts of possession, as well as standardize that amount across all counties.
Representative Shamed Dogan, (R-District 98), sponsored the bill in an effort to reduce penalties for marijuana possession in an effort to stop what Rep. Dogan is calling a “war on marijuana.”
The bill would decrease the punishment for possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana to an infraction. Currently in Missouri possession of less than 35 grams is a Class A misdemeanor.
Rep. Dogan said this would free up law enforcement to focus on prosecuting the possession of more lethal drugs like opioids, heroin and methamphetamine.
“One out of every 10 arrest in our state, one out of 10 man hours that law enforcement is spent putting handcuffs on someone is putting handcuffs on someone who is possessing marijuana. That is the most serious offense that they have.” Dogan said.
The bill has the support of the New Haven Police Chief and the ACLU of Missouri.
Information from the Missouri School of Journalism contributed to this report.