ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis prosecutors will no longer pursue charges for most low-level marijuana offenses, joining their counterparts in some other cities who have opted to redirect their resources toward more serious crimes.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said in an interview Wednesday that her office will review more than 1,200 pending cases in which suspects are accused of possessing less than 100 grams of marijuana. She says most will be dismissed, except those with aggravating circumstances.
Gardner, a Democrat elected in 2016, said lower-level marijuana crimes make up about 20 percent of the prosecution docket in a city where the murder rate is among the highest in the nation.
“This frees up our resources to focus on those more serious cases,” Gardner told The Associated Press. “I think that we need to address how we better utilize our resources.”
St. Louis follows some other cities that have eased back on marijuana prosecutions.
In May, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced plans to largely stop prosecuting people for possessing or smoking marijuana, excepting for cases involving “demonstrated public safety concerns.” The change effective in August is expected to reduce marijuana prosecutions in Manhattan from roughly 5,000 per year to about 200.
The announcement followed a New York Times report that found that although whites,