Missouri House Democrats aim for shorter pot sentences

02/07/2013 1:51 PM

05/16/2014 9:04 PM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. | Some Missouri House Democrats are looking to reduce the punishment for marijuana possession.

Under a bill outlined Thursday, first-time offenders for marijuana possession would be allowed to do community service and avoid jail. If offenders complete the sentence, the convictions would be removed from their record.

Rep. Rory Ellinger, a criminal defense attorney and Democrat from St. Louis, said the legislation would help people with marijuana convictions in their youth get jobs later by not having to disclose the conviction.

Ellinger said the measure could save the state money by keeping first-time drug offenders out of jail.

The new sentencing structure would apply only to people carrying less than 35 grams of marijuana.

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