Marijuana Bill: Shane Cohn Proposes Pot Fines Go To St. Louis Mental Health Board

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Funding source for the Mental Health Board?
Government resources are wasted on overly harsh prosecutions for those caught with small amounts of marijuana -- such that the system can be unfair to those charged and unnecessarily drains law enforcement resources. This is the thinking behind Alderman Shane Cohn's proposal to lower the consequences for those found with pot in St. Louis.

Daily RFT has details on a new version of the bill that officials will discuss this morning, including a change specifying that marijuana fines would go to the St. Louis Mental Health Board.

And that's just one key part of a substantially reworked bill; a full draft version is below.

The latest version of the so-called "marijuana decriminalization" bill, which Cohn sent to Daily RFT yesterday, includes this language at the end:

Funding of Substance Abuse Awareness, Prevention and Treatment Programs
Any fine collected as a result of this ordinance will be used to cover administrative costs of the court, and any amount collected greater than the cost of administration shall be evenly divided between the City of St. Louis General Revenue Fund and the St. Louis Mental Health Board for the purpose of funding substance abuse awareness, prevention and treatment programs with an emphasis on high school-aged youth.

The overall intent of the bill is to move minor cases -- within specific parameters -- from the Circuit Attorney's Office to the lower municipal system of the City Counselor's Office of St. Louis.

See Also:
- Missouri Legislators Who Want to Legalize Or Decriminalize Marijuana
- Two Charged in Facebook Marijuana Deal That Turned Violent

Cohn's bill stipulates that any person violating the ordinance as written should be subject to a fine between $100 and $500.

Thumbnail image for Alderman Shane Cohn.jpeg
Alderman Shane Cohn

And some of the funding from these fines could potentially go to the Mental Health Board, which is the authority in the city for substance abuse, mental health and children's services.

"We've gotten feedback from folks...on all sides of the issues," says Cohn, who, as we reported, has been working with the relevant law enforcement agencies to hammer out details.

Cohn says that in addition to using government resources better, the bill should work to "make sure people who need help are getting it.... The [Mental Health Board] has these programs in place."

Funds from these fines would likely be very relatively small, but Cohn says it makes sense to direct some of that revenue to the MHB.

The latest version of the bill also says that there should be a "strong presumption that the proper disposition of any such case is to suspend the imposition of sentence and/or require community service work and/or drug counseling and education."

Continue for more details on the revision and a full draft of the bill.


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12 comments
Daniel Knoll
Daniel Knoll

In response to this article, combined with the 'what shall we name the new bridge ? " debate, I propose we name the bridge offically or by nickname, " The Slay Cohn, Buck-a-Blunt, Meth Rush Way ".

Ryan Sea
Ryan Sea

i think the fines should go toward helping people buy medical marijuana in states like colorado. We need to push out this illegal weed we have here in st louis and help fund the legal weed they have in states like colorado. #thesystemmakessense

Ryan Sea
Ryan Sea

i think the fines should go toward helping people buy medical marijuana in states like colorado. We need to push out this illegal weed we have here in st louis and help fund the legal weed they have in states like colorado. #thesystemmakessense

John L. Williams
John L. Williams

Hire more police. Anyone ever listen to the scanner for downtown St. Louis? Its a mad house around here.

John Lupia
John Lupia

Education and financing for major crime units.

Likesta Comment
Likesta Comment

Marijuana ought to be legal, no criminal penalty. Why would you continue the farce?

Lois Giles
Lois Giles

Just this one question this morning has ruined my day already, so, thank you. "Revenue from Marijuana fines" ..... Hm. what to do, what to do!?? Heres a thought, how about RFT do a huge article on the benefit of Medicinal Marijuana, because if people actually SAW and TALKED with real people who have been on BOTH ends, there wouldnt be such a dispute in the first place.

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