DANNY WICENTOWSKI St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.
First the St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted to handle marijuana possession more like a traffic ticket than a criminal case — deciding in 2013 that anyone caught with 35 grams or fewer would be adjudicated through the city’s low-level courts, not the circuit attorney’s office.
Then, in March, the aldermen reduced the fine assessed for such citations from $100 to $500 to just $25.
And now St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner says her office won’t prosecute cases involving 100 grams of marijuana or less unless there are aggravating circumstances. In an email to staff yesterday first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gardner said her staff would begin reviewing and dismissing past cases.
“Effective immediately we will no longer issue possession of marijuana cases under 100 grams as the lead charge!” Gardner wrote.
Is it fair to say marijuana is now effectively decriminalized in St. Louis? Well, maybe not so fast.
Gardner’s administrative decision follows an effort at the Board of Aldermen, led by Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green, to do just that legislatively. Green’s proposal, which ultimately failed, would have barred city staff from expending any resources on the possession of two ounces of marijuana or less — which translates to about 56 grams.
Gardner’s new plan, obviously, goes even farther, but Gardner’s decision