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Missouri criminal defense: Penalties for marijuana crimes

While marijuana may be legal for medicinal use in many other states, that is not the case in Missouri. In fact, the laws surrounding even simple possession of marijuana are incredibly harsh compared to other areas of the country. Because of this, those who are facing marijuana-related drug charges would likely benefit from the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help them fight their cases.

Marijuana-related drug crimes can be broken down into four different categories: possession, sales, trafficking and cultivation. The latter three tend to carry stiffer penalties than a possession charge. However, the details of one's case will really determine penalty severity. According to state laws, penalties for the following drug charges are:

  • Possession: If under 35 grams, it is a misdemeanor charge with penalties of mandatory incarceration of up to one year and a fine of $1,000. If the weight is between 35 grams and 30 kilograms, it is a felony charge with penalties of mandatory incarceration of one year and a $5,000 fine.

  • Sale: If the weight is less than 5 grams, it is a felony charge with penalties of imprisonment up to seven years and a $5,000 fine. If the weight is between 5 grams and 30 kilograms, it is a felony charge punishable between five and 15 years' imprisonment and a $20,000 fine. Distribution to a minor or near a school are also felony-level offenses.

  • Trafficking: Regardless of weight, this is a felony-level charge that is punishable up to life in prison and a minimum fine of $20,000.

  • Cultivation: This is also a felony-level offense. Length of imprisonment and fines will vary based on the weight of the plants found in one's possession.

The state is currently reviewing legislation that has been submitted that would legalize marijuana for medicinal use. There are also areas of the state that are reconsidering the penalties for simple possession cases. It is unknown if any changes are expected in the near future.

Fighting marijuana-related drug charges can prove to be a challenging task for Missouri residents. For some, it may be possible to seek alternative sentencing, such as having the case moved to drug court. Others, however, will have to fight it out in court. In either case, an experienced criminal defense attorney will work diligently to help the accused achieve the best outcome possible for his or her circumstances.

Source: FindLaw, "Missouri Marijuana Laws", Accessed on April 25, 2017

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