By: Dee Wampler

New marijuana laws have changed first-time offenses

Effective in 2017, possession of less than ten (10) grams of marijuana no longer carries a jail sentence. Some small amounts of marijuana are now classified as Class “D” misdemeanors which carries a maximum fine of $500. A conviction will still be a criminal conviction so it is not totally decriminalized.

Repeat offenses will remain Class “A” misdemeanors with a penalty of up to one (1) year in jail and a $2000 fine.

Prior to 2017, mere possession of 35 grams (one and one-fourth ounces) or less of marijuana was punishable by a year in jail.

Possession of more than 35 grams is still a felony.

It is strange, but you can be arrested for something that you cannot be sent to jail regarding an arrest for ten (10) grams or less. Hopefully, most police officers will not make a full custody arrest.

If you share a joint with another person you can be charged as distribution.

My good friend, Daniel K. Viets, of Columbia, assisted in making many of these changes. Given the popularity of marijuana, I reluctantly admit that these changes are a step in the right direction.

Dee Wampler – learn more

At the Law Offices of Dee Wampler & Joseph Passanise, Dee Wampler draws from more than four decades of legal experience in defending clients accused of an array of crimes throughout southwestern Missouri, including Springfield, St. Louis and Kansas City. As a Springfield native, Mr. Wampler understands the nuances of the Missouri court system, but he is an equally formidable criminal trial attorney in high-profile federal cases involving serious charges. His work has earned him recognition across the country and even internationally. Several nationally syndicated television shows, including “Saturday Night with Connie Chung,” “Inside Edition” and ABC’s “Primetime” have featured his cases, and Missouri Lawyers Weekly has showcased his work approximately 20 times.