There are a number of bills in the state legislature that would loosen marijuana laws further after voters approved its medical use in November’s election.
Democratic Representative Barbara Anne Washington of Kansas City and Republican Representative Ron Hicks of St. Charles are sponsoring measures that would remove marijuana convictions from criminal records.
Washington thinks the recent election shows that residents views toward marijuana have evolved.
“I think that both sides of the state of Missouri have spoken that they want to move forward with marijuana,” says Washington.
Hicks sees a possibility for the further relaxing of penalties involving marijuana use.
“If we can regulate it the same way they regulate alcohol then I can totally see it happening,” Hicks says.
Hicks’ bill would remove convictions for individuals who now qualify for medical marijuana prescriptions.
“Why would we not. We want to help the sick,” Hicks says. “This is another way to help somebody. You’re doing something that’s legal now that’s for your health care but you’ve been in trouble in the past for treating yourself, for a medical condition, but now you have a record due to it but now it’s legal.
Washington’s proposal would lift convictions for those who were only in possession of 35 grams or less.
“You can’t get financial aid for college if you have any drug conviction, including marijuana possession,” she says. “You are not allowed to get housing vouchers.”
A bill sponsored by Democratic Representative Brandon Ellington of Kansas City would go much further than the other two measures would. It would legalize the possession of less than two ounces of marijuana and the growing of fewer than six cannabis plants for any individual at least 21 years or older. Ellington introduced the same proposal in 2018.
(Missourinet media partner KOLR-TV provided this report)