Representative Rory Ellinger Introducing Two Marijuana Related Bills Thursday

Rory Ellinger.jpg
Rep. Rory Ellinger says he thinks Missouri is sympathetic to decriminalization.
Representative Rory Ellinger (D-University City) is poised to make good on his promise to introduce two bills relating to the way law enforcement deals with marijuana.

"Our justice system needs to be designed such that non-violent offenders are able to learn from their mistakes, rehabilitate themselves, and go on to contribute to society and provide for themselves and their families," Ellinger says in a statement.

The first will decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot while the second opens up the possibility of record expungement for low level marijuana crimes. The first bill would do for the entire state what Alderman Shane Cohn is proposing for the city.

See also:
-Marijuana Decriminalization Bill: How Many Cases Does St. Louis Circuit Attorney Handle?
-Missouri Legislators Who Want to Legalize Or Decriminalize Marijuana

The first bill rewrites current drug laws to say that anyone found in possession of 35 grams or fewer of marijuana will not be arrested, rather they'll be given a court date, a fine of no more than $250 and charged with a misdemeanor. It makes exceptions for anyone who has been convicted of a felony in the past ten years or has committed other, more serious drug offenses in the previous five years.

"No such person, if found guilty, shall be incarcerated or suffer the loss of a driver's license and there shall be a strong presumption that the proper disposition of any such case shall be to suspend the imposition of sentence and to require community services or controlled substance counseling or both," the bill reads.

The second opens up the possibility of record expungement five years after a nonviolent, nonsexual misdemeanor crime. The cost is $500 and would encompass these small possession marijuana crimes, should the first bill pass.

"It means keeping the records clean of countless numbers of young people who take a flow trip on the river, they have a little bit of mariujauna on them. They don't even bother to come in, they plead out and they can never get a job," Ellinger told Daily RFT when he spoke to us about the idea in November. "Literally thousands of people are affected this way on a yearly basis."

Ellinger plans to speak at length about his bills at a press conference on Thursday morning at 11 a.m. in Jefferson City. Read the original language below:

Rory Ellinger -- marijuana decriminalization

Rory Ellinger -- expungement

Follow Jessica Lussenhop on Twitter at @Lussenpop. E-mail the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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11 comments
JJ O'Brand
JJ O'Brand

Here's some reasons why it won't happen, as quickly as we'd like. Policing for profit, privatized prisons/profit, the pharmaceutical ind/profit, profit, profit, and profit... Free market indeed... It's rather insulting being hunted, when there are many more dangers in the world, but, as long as they profit, and the people don't vote, lives will cont to be destroyed, by being labeled a felon, and not a warrior... No help for school, a perm blemish on you, and things like hey kid you're 18, since the herb didn't, lets let the judge destroy your future.

Nicholas Frisella
Nicholas Frisella

I wouldn't want to work with someone who is drunk or on prescription painkillers either. Possession of marijuana would still be illegal but it would be treated like a parking ticket and you would pay a fine. You could (still) receive a DUI for driving stoned. It's a waste of tax money to prosecute people for something that the majority of Americans believe should be legal. Even some police officers agree its a waste of resources. I believe we should legalize marijuana, regulate it in a similar fashion to alcohol, and tax it. There is a multi-billion dollar black market for marihuana. We tax casinos, tobacco, and alcohol why not marijuana?

Dennis Fleming
Dennis Fleming

Yes. Reduced down to nothing for those 21 and older. Maybe 18.

Wayne Mitchell
Wayne Mitchell

If theres dope there is harder stuff. I dont want to work with someone who is stoned in an industrial atmosphere. Been there.

Shashi Hemchand
Shashi Hemchand

With a doubt, treat Mary Jane like alcohol. It's way less worse

Prince Carter
Prince Carter

I support the reduction, Pot is not the problem,

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

what no more life sentences for growing a plant in the bible belt are you kidding with me

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

A bill passed around 2008 and it was said they wanted a judicial review commitee to look it over the commitee was formed but never met....Jesus people wont let that happen here drunks dont want stoners around they just want to take pills and look down on us and lock us away

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