Bid to reduce penalties for pot possession fails in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — An attempt to abolish jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana has failed in the Missouri House.

Missouri law currently makes possession of 35 grams of marijuana or less a Class A Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

Republican Rep. Shamed Dogan, of Ballwin, proposed an amendment Wednesday to a criminal justice bill that would have reduced that to a Class D Misdemeanor punishable by up to a $500 fine with no jail time.

Dogan said marijuana is one of the least harmful drugs, some prosecutors already have stopped pursuing possession cases and that black residents are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession.

Republican House Speaker Elijah Haahr ruled that the amendment failed on a voice vote.

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