A lot of people misunderstand Missouri drug possession laws. They can be confusing. Some municipalities de-criminalized marijuana possession. That doesn’t mean it is legal in cities like Columbia. It just means that city police officers are supposed to file municipal charges where the punishment is a fine only. State charges can still be brought.
The recent criminal code revision signaled a changing attitude toward marijuana.
Now, if a person has no previous findings of guilt related to controlled substances — in any state — and they possess less than 10 grams, the special class “D” misdemeanor kicks in and the person is only subject to a fine of up to $500.
See the statute below:
Possession or control of a controlled substance–penalty.
579.015. 1. A person commits the offense of possession of a controlled substance if he or she knowingly possesses a controlled substance, except as authorized by this chapter or chapter 195.
2. The offense of possession of any controlled substance except thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class D felony.
3. The offense of possession of more than ten grams but thirty-five grams or less of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class A misdemeanor.
4. The offense of possession of not more than ten grams of marijuana or any synthetic cannabinoid is a class D misdemeanor. If the defendant has previously been found guilty of any offense of the laws related to controlled substances of this state, or of the United States, or any state, territory, or district, the offense is a class A misdemeanor. Prior findings of guilt shall be pleaded and proven in the same manner as required by section 558.021.
5. In any complaint, information, or indictment, and in any action or proceeding brought for the enforcement of any provision of this chapter or chapter 195, it shall not be necessary to include any exception, excuse, proviso, or exemption contained in this chapter or chapter 195, and the burden of proof of any such exception, excuse, proviso or exemption shall be upon the defendant.