(24) “Marijuana”, all parts of the plant genus Cannabis in any species or form thereof, including, but not limited to Cannabis Sativa L., Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Americana, Cannabis Ruderalis,and Cannabis Gigantea, whether growing or not, the seeds thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin. It does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the mature stalks (except the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination;
State v. Randall, 386 S.W.2d 67 (1964)
-In State v. Randall the Missouri Supreme court decided the issue about what is considered marijuana. In the case, the court was asked to consider whether or not Hashish, a derivative of marijuana created from its resin, should be considered a separate drug for which the defendant should be charged. Defendant was already charged additionally with possession of marijuana. The supreme court held that the defendant could not be charged with possession of hashish in addition to his marijuana charge because, by legal definition, marijuana included all derivatives therefrom, including hashish.
-As applied to other marijuana derivatives such as oils, wax and edibles; the Randall case makes it marijuana across the board no matter the form of the derivative a. Yet many jurisdictions continue to incorrectly make a distinction between leafy marijuana and THC concentrations, charging felonies upon possession of the latter.
TPC LAWYERS – FIGHTING AGAINST MISSOURI PROSECUTORS
Our criminal defense lawyers have been the first law firm in the state of Missouri to take on prosecutors from across the state who wrongfully charge THC under 35 grams as a felony. Although the law appears to be well settled since at least 1964, that derivatives of marijuana, including compounds like THC, are considered marijuana by law. Many jurisdictions throughout Missouri, most of them rural, have made the erroneous decision to charge marijuana derivatives and compounds such as THC, as a felony possession.
We have been called upon in multiple jurisdictions scattered all over Missouri, to defend our clients rights and the laws of Missouri against these unlawful felony prosecutions. Unfortunately, unless the Supreme Court of Missouri would offer an advisory opinion, basically telling prosecutors to stop doing this; then this will continue to be an issue. Hundreds if not thousands of people are illegally prosecuted across Missouri every year and we have made it our mission to put an end to this practice once and for all.
Real time cases: 2020
St. Charles – We had a defendant who was charged with Felony possession for a small amount of wax and oil. St. Charles ended up changing their entire charging policy based on our work and legal briefings.
The charge was amended to a misdemeanor.
Livingston County, MO – Defendant charged with felony possession for 10g of edibles. Although the prosecutor didn’t change his entire charging policy, the charge was amended to a misdemeanor for our client.
Lafayette County – Pending – less than 35 grams of THC oil cartridges charged as a felony. We are currently pending litigation on the issue.
Despite many counties in Missouri erroneously charging felonies for misdemeanor amounts of THC, there are several counties that have gone the other way. Counties such as St. Louis and St. Louis county Prosecutors have made public statements that they will not pursue felony marijuana charges even if over 35 grams.
St. Louis City Prosecutor, Kim Gardner
In 2018, Kim Gardner announced her office’s policy that they would not pursue charges for marijuana possession for amounts under 100 grams. Essentially any amount under 100 grams would be prosecuted in St. Louis City municipal court as an infraction, if at all. This disincentives police officers to make these arrests in the first place, however, they may still refer the case to the City’s municipal prosecutor for minor charges.
St. Louis County Prosecutor, Wesley Bell
Bell has implemented a similar stance as Gardner. In 2019, Bell announced his policy in a memo to his staff, that they would no longer be prosecuting smaller amounts of marijuana. Sam Alton, the very active second in command for St. Louis County, confirmed to the River Front Times that they have halted the prosecution of marijuana possession under 100 grams. Distribution charges and marijuana accompanied by a weapon will still be prosecuted.
The decriminalization trend did not start with urban and suburban prosecutors implementing discretion.
In 2016, the Missouri legislature actually took the first steps to decriminalize marijuana with the passage of the law that categorized 10 grams or less of marijuana as a class D misdemeanor. In doing so they took away jail time for smaller amounts of marijuana possession (for first offenses). The maximum penalty under the new law was a $500 fine, no jail time is possible. That was quite a drastic change from the Class A misdemeanor it was previously. Under the old law, prior to 2016, a defendant may have received up to a year in jail for possessing even the smallest amount of marijuana. Given the propensity for rural jurisdictions in Missouri to crackdown on marijuana, this law effectively saved Missourians collectively hundreds of years in jailtime since its implementation. Think about that!
There is currently a push from several state lawmakers to follow Gardner and Bell’s lead in decriminalizing marijuana up to amounts of 100 grams. Although the proposed law does not currently have enough support to pass into law, it proposes that up to 100 grams of marijuana would not even be a misdemeanor and only prosecuted as an infraction. The bill is sponsored by Republican, Missouri House Representative from Ballwin, Shamed Dogan. The reasoning behind the representative’s bill is similar to the reasoning behind the previous legislative decriminalization; to stop crowding the jails with marijuana offenders.