St. Louis County, Missouri, Decriminalizes Cannabis, Effort Led by Former Police Chief

Each electoral and cultural victory for cannabis law reform should be celebrated as it is one more swing of the sledgehammer at Reefer Madness prohibition and the failed War on Drugs. Poll after poll has shown that the people are on the side of freedom and common sense, whether polling Americans at large or voters in Louisiana. Popular support is extremely important as we fight to allow regular banking services for the industry and ultimately deschedule cannabis under federal law, but nothing begets more success for the movement like electoral success. Decriminalizing personal cannabis possession in St. Louis County, Missouri, is very notable, not just because it adds about a million residents living in a decriminalized area, or that it will help end cannabis prohibition in the Show-Me State in the next couple of years, but because of who introduced the decriminalization bill as KSDK Channel 5 reported:

The St. Louis County Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to reduce the penalties for certain amounts — less than 35 grams — of recreational marijuana possession. 

It goes from a fine of not more than $1,000 or one year in jail or both to a fine of not more than $100.

The legislation was sponsored by former St. Louis County police Chief Tim Fitch. Ernie Trakas was the lone “no” vote, explaining that he considers marijuana a gateway drug that can lead to users becoming addicted to more dangerous illicit substances.

Most importantly, people utilizing cannabis won’t be subject to arrest and up to a year in jail for possessing a personal amount of cannabis, a change that will improve many lives. Additionally, having a former police chief, while still harboring some outdated concerns about the Gateway theory, introducing a successfully decriminalization in Middle America is just another great sign in our fight to legalize federally. Also worth noting, Maplewood City, a suburb of St. Louis with about 8,000 residents, also voted to decriminalize up to 35 grams, setting the fine at just $1. The Maplewood City Council based their new law off of one recently passed in nearby Webster Groves. Step by step, city by city, state by state, freedom is on the march.

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