States vary widely in penalties for marijuana possession and Missouri has some of the toughest laws in the country.

Unlike 17 states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana possession, Missouri still classifies it as a criminal offense. The amount you possess plays a major role in the charge you might face.

If you are found with 35 grams or less, you will face a misdemeanor charge carrying up to one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. Possession of over 35 grams – about the weight of a single filtered cigarette – is a felony subject to up to a five-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine. If you are charged with sale, trafficking or distribution of even 5 grams of marijuana, it is a felony punishable with up to seven years in jail and $5,000 in fines.

Why you need a lawyer

Notice the legal statutes for penalties read “up to….” Often, the difference between facing the maximum penalty and getting a lighter or alternative sentence is a good criminal defense lawyer.

While cities such as Columbia and St. Louis are changing laws to decriminalize marijuana possession, the rest of the state still upholds harsh penalties that can affect your future. The changing laws make it more important than ever to understand how the charges, location, amount and other specifics can affect your case.

Whether you face charges for a single marijuana cigarette or for trafficking more serious drugs, it is critical to your defense that you work with an experienced criminal defense team that knows the Missouri law cold. Contact the Meehan Law Firm to get started on your defense today.