KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) --A bombshell announcement today from the Jackson County Prosecutor takes a public vote on medical marijuana a step beyond what voters approved.
The prosecutor announced that starting Tuesday, she will not prosecute simple marijuana possession cases, medical-card or not.
If there’s no impaired driving, no kids involved, and no signs of selling pot, she’s not hauling you into court.
But that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook in Jackson County, there are other courts where her policy does not apply.
The move is a response to a changing tide in public opinion and though medical marijuana is set to be legal in Missouri next month, this new Jackson County policy extends beyond medical.
“She did a 180 and I am proud of her,” said Jen Shockley, NORML member.
Luke Alsobrook isn’t remotely surprised.
“Jurors just...they don’t...they think it’s a waste of their time,” says Luke Alsobrook, Missouri Lawyer.
The defense attorney just ended a two-year stint with the prosecutor’s office.
He says simple pot possession prosecution has become increasingly tough especially in a county with so much violent crime to contend with and an elected prosecutor should consider the views of her constituents.
“And that’s what I believe the prosecutor’s office has said today is we are not going to make people convicted felons for simple possession of marijuana,” explained Alsobrook.
But that doesn’t mean you won’t end up in city court. In KCMO it’s a $25 fine but still goes on your record.
Penalties vary in Jackson County cities like Independence, Lee’s Summit, Blue Springs, and Grain Valley, but are capped at one year in prison. Though you won’t lose rights like voting, as a felon, even a misdemeanor can be life-altering.
“You can lose your federal grants, student loans,” said Shockley.
Which is why she’s hoping other jurisdictions will follow suit.
But in the meantime, police departments said they will continue making arrests, because they don’t write the law, they enforce it.
This also doesn’t preclude getting charged in federal court for a felony.