A week after voters approved a measure to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office announced today that it will stop processing some marijuana possession cases.
Amendment 2, which legalizes medical marijuana with a 4 percent sales tax for veterans programs and job training, passed with 66 percent approval from Missouri voters and even more support from those in Jackson County. Two other medical marijuana proposals were on the state ballot but failed.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a written statement that voters showed good judgment on this issue.
“That mandate from voters is directing this shift in our office,” Baker said. “This changing attitude toward marijuana is something we have been seeing anecdotally from our juries for some time.”
However, there are some exceptions. The prosecutor’s office will still consider cases in which the person is selling or distributing marijuana “without proper authority,” such as if the person is in possession firearms or large sums of cash, which could be associated with the illegal distribution or sale of marijuana. In addition, the prosecutor’s office will continue to see cases involving drugged driving or cases in which marijuana possession “results in harm to a child.”
The prosecutor’s office will also establish two public safety awareness campaigns on marijuana in Jackson County. One campaign will caution caregivers to keep edible marijuana away from children or face possible prosecution. The other campaign will emphasize that driving under the influence of marijuana is still illegal.
“Voters spoke very clearly and overwhelmingly,” Baker stated. “But we need to keep the drug – like any drug – away from the kids, and driving while high is a serious crime that puts us all at risk.”
Celisa Calacal is an intern with KCUR 89.3. You can reach her at @celisa_mia.