Across the nation, many states are taking a fresh look at marijuana and whether it should be legalized for recreational use. A significant number of states have moved forward with decriminalizing it. Missouri is not one of them. Currently, people in the state with qualifying medical conditions can use marijuana, but it remains illegal for recreational use. With that, people are still arrested for criminal offenses related to it. Still, that does not mean every county is on the same page. Kansas City particularly has different perspectives on how to address marijuana based on the county. This could impact how to lodge a defense after an arrest and should be understood from the outset.

Mayor holds meeting with three county prosecutors about marijuana charges

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is addressing varying viewpoints about marijuana charges in three area counties. Clay, Platte and Jackson counties are addressing marijuana differently since medical marijuana was legalized. In Jackson County for example, the prosecutor has declined to pursue a large portion of cases involving marijuana possession. For those who might feel safe to possess marijuana because of this, it is important to remember that in Clay and Platte counties, people can still be arrested, charged and prosecuted for marijuana.

Federally, the substance remains illegal. The Platte County prosecutor refuses to rule out prosecuting marijuana crimes because it eliminates a class of illegal behaviors that might warrant pursuing a case. The main goal is to have a safer city. Since the charges remain on the books, some prosecutors plan to keep trying to secure convictions. This will continue until the law is changed. It is also wise to remember that many of these cases do not even reach the courtroom as those who are charged with lower level marijuana possession generally choose to strike a plea agreement.

Legal guidance is essential

Despite the disagreements as to how marijuana charges should be prosecuted and the likelihood that people who are charged will simply plead guilty, that does not mean these drug offenses are irrelevant. Having a criminal record for any reason can negatively impact a person’s future regardless of their age and situation. Those who are accused of distributing or trafficking in marijuana can still face serious penalties. No matter the circumstances and the allegations, having professional assistance can be essential to plot a strategy to combat the charges.