Say NO to Criminal Penalties for Marijuana in Amendment 3!
Earlier this week we showed you how Amendment 3 creates a law enforcement mandate to stop and cite Missourians for smoking marijuana (https://tinyurl.com/2p9at4ax).
Today we're going to show you how Amendment 3 creates CRIMINAL penalties for marijuana - and how people are going to continue going to prison for marijuana felonies.
Page 35, Section 10(1)(a) of Amendment 3 would put a possession limit of 3 ounces into the Missouri Constitution.
Section 10(6)(a-b) then specifies that possession of between 3 and 6 ounces is a civil fine and confiscation of your marijuana for the first two offenses - and Section 10(6)(c) specifies that the third offense is a MISDEMEANOR offense.
Now, Amendment 3 does not remove criminal penalties from Missouri law. Under Chapter 579.015 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, your possession misdemeanor is a Class A misdemeanor - you could go to prison for up to a year!
What about more than 6 ounces?
Well, Chapter 579 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri creates a series of Class A, B, C, or D felony charges for marijuana possession, distribution, and trafficking, depending on quantity. Some of these felony offenses could send you to prison for over a decade! (https://revisor.mo.gov/main/OneSection.aspx?section=579.015) Section 2 of Amendment 3 on Page 17 is a purpose clause, indicating that this law is created to "remove production or distribution of marijuana from the illicit market", "prevent revenue generated from commerce in marijuana from going to criminal enterprises", and prevent diversion of marijuana to illicit markets".
So if you have more than 6 ounces of marijuana, Amendment 3 would create a presumption in the Missouri Constitution that you are engaging in very serious felony conduct. If you get arrested with money and your 6+ ounces of marijuana, you're presumed to be engaging in a criminal enterprise.
Because Amendment 3 would be in the Missouri Constitution, your state Representative or Senator would be powerless to propose changes to the law to end the era of sending people to prison for a plant.
Think of people like Jeff Mizanskey, who served 23 years for a third non-violent marijuana offense where he drove a guy to pick up a pound of marijuana. Or Robert Franklin, who got sentenced to 22 years for a pound of marijuana. Or Seth Wiggington, who got sentenced to 10 years for 18 pounds of marijuana and 5 pounds of marijuana concentrate.
These kind of enforcement mandates impact poor and politically weak communities the hardest. In 2020, the ACLU told us Black individuals in Missouri were 2.6 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than white people.
But now, the ACLU is backing Amendment 3! Why is that?
Well, we'll start talking about that next week! You may already know Amendment 3 creates a virtual monopoly for a small group of very rich people in the recreational market. They've bought the ACLU's endorsement, and they'll do everything they can to lie to Missourians to enrich themselves.