In a letter, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said her office will dismiss cases of those accused of possessing less than 100 grams of marijuana.
Gardner wrote working on such cases makes it harder for her office to bring justice to the city.
In the letter addressed to her office, Gardner said “I am directing the Chief Warrant Officer and team leader to identify every possession of marijuana case where the amount is not more than 100 grams.”
She added that “unless there are other aggravating circumstances relating to the offense or the offender, the cases will be dismissed.”
Gardner also said she will review drug paraphernalia and other low-level drug cases for people with little or no criminal history.
Alderwoman Meghan Green has previously pushed for the city to pass a bill making it unlawful for police to enforce the laws that lead to punishment for possession of marijuana. She said she still believes it’s a measure the city needs.
“We see a lot of disparities in enforcement on the policing end. We know if you’re African American you’re 18 times more likely to be cited or arrested for marijuana possession even though blacks and whites in the city consume marijuana at the same rate,” said Green.
Jeff Roorda with the St. Louis Police Officers’ Association said he is alarmed by the move by Gardner saying, “100 grams of marijuana is not a personal-use amount. There’s a name for someone with 100 grams of marijuana and that’s a drug dealer.”
“Her job is to prosecute felons and she’s decided not to do her job so it is very likely that the Chief will direct officers to charge them at the municipal court level,” Roorda said.
Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office said she is not in favor of low-level non-violent drug offenders getting trapped in the criminal justice system, adding that she is focused on more serious crimes that directly impact public safety.
Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved