States have been following a trend of marijuana legalization in the past several years - either for recreational use, medical use, or both. Likewise, many jurisdictions have "decriminalized" the possession of certain small quantities of marijuana, meaning that a person cannot be jailed for amounts beneath a certain weight. This is all welcome news for responsible users of cannabis products, but there are some important things to know before you leave home.
First, it is still quite unlawful to drive a car with any quantity of marijuana or other drugs. Even if you are sober as a bird, Missouri's "abuse and lose" law means that if you are pulled over while in possession, your license will be automatically revoked for a full year. Bizarrely enough, you'd be worse off, license-wise, driving with a thimble-full of marijuana in your back seat than after a long night of heavy drinking.
Another important distinction in drug possession cases is knowing what distinguishes a misdemeanor offense from a felony offense. The answer is both simple and surprising. In the state of Missouri, the only drug possession offenses classified as misdemeanors are those involving less than 35 grams of marijuana. Anything else, such as a single loose pill of a schedule I or II controlled substance or even 36 or more grams of marijuana, can be charged as a felony. This holds even if that loose pill in your pocket was prescribed by a doctor. Theoretically, if it's not in that pill bottle, then you're screwed.
Just like any other crime, it's important to consult with knowledgeable counsel if you're facing a drug possession case. Your attorney should have a good working relationship with the prosecutor in your case. This person wields a lot of discretion and, more often than not, the relationship between your attorney and this prosecutor will make a world of difference in your case.