KC lawmaker staying put in legislature despite pot arrest

08/26/2013 1:10 PM

08/27/2013 6:08 PM

A Democratic state lawmaker from Kansas City who was arrested Sunday for possession of marijuana says he won’t resign from the Missouri House.

State Rep. Jeremy LaFaver has, however, stepped down as chairman of his party’s 2014 campaign committee.

The 33-year-old legislator was arrested just after 3 p.m. Sunday in Boone County, according to a Missouri Highway Patrol arrest report. He was stopped for failing to respond to a charge out of Moniteau County that he had driven with an expired license tag and without insurance. He was cited with possessing a marijuana pipe and up to 1.2 ounces of marijuana and was released after posting $125 bail.

LaFaver apologized for the incident, calling it “a serious mistake” but stressing he was not under the influence while he was driving. He released a statement early Monday morning announcing that as a result of the arrest he would no longer serve as chairman of the House Democratic Victory Committee, a fundraising and campaign group that backs candidates for the Missouri House.

The Missouri Republican Party was quick to release a statement of its own, calling on LaFaver to “take genuine responsibility by resigning from the Missouri House of Representatives.”

In a short interview with The Star, LaFaver said he has no intentions of leaving the legislature.

“I’m not resigning as a state representative,” he said.

LaFaver last year was elected to a two-year term representing the 25th District, which includes Brookside, Waldo, Ward Parkway and parts of south Kansas City. He earlier worked as a child advocate for Kansas City’s Partnership for Children.

This past session he co-sponsored legislation that, in many circumstances, would have

reduced Missouri’s penalties for possessing less than 35 grams of marijuana or marijuana paraphernalia to a misdemeanor punishable by no more than a $250 fine. Those charges now are misdemeanors punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and a year in jail.

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