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The WEEDnesday Post: Here’s What Happens When a Missouri Teen Gets Caught With a Little Bit of Pot
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Mary is a good student, and a tad independent. At 18, she’s getting ready to graduate from a Catholic high school with honors.

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And every once in a while, Mary smokes pot with her friends—friends she’s had since grade school.

Leaving a concert at US Bank Pavilion, Mary and her friends stop at Denny’s. In Mary’s purse is a dime bag of pot. It’s been there for weeks, and she hasn’t really thought it.

People at another table complained to their waitress that Mary and her friends were too loud. The waitress asked the kids to quiet down, and they did. But their laughter and singing picked up again shortly.

A pair of Maryland Heights police officers walked in Denny’s, and the older table called them over.

“Those kids are being obnoxious, and the won’t quiet down. They’re stoned are something,” one woman told the officers.

Two hours later, Mary had been charged with possession of marijuana, disturbing the peace, and related charges.

She’s dropped from her high school’s honor roll and placed on probation pending the results of trial. The local college she’d applied to withdraws the small scholarship they’d offered her and puts her application on hold.

If convicted, Mary will lose eligibility for federal student loans. Because the federal government seized control of the student loan industry, Mary’s hopes of a college education will be gone.

Missouri has among the most draconian marijuana laws in the US. Stories like Mary’s aren’t unusual.

Sure, Mary made a choice. Eighteen-year-olds make a lot of choices.

Her life isn’t ruined, of course, but it will be much more difficult than it would have been if Missouri treated marijuana consistently with dangers the weed poses.

While some find it difficult to withdraw from marijuana,far more people die or are injured from alcohol and tobacco. And yet marijuana is easier for a minor to obtain than either of those, and the legal consequences more significant.

As a first time offender possessing a tiny amount of pot, Mary faces a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, loss of student loan eligibility, possible expulsion from high school, and a felony record for life.

Marijuana isn’t worth the risk to Mary. But the ridiculous damage to Mary’s life and productivity wasn’t worth cost to society.

The Republican Party is supposed to be about liberty and common sense. Missouri’s marijuana laws violate both.

  • Corey Stinson
  • Sherman Graves

    William,

    No, I do not support bad laws but I do not advocate legalizing marihuana so how is this a bad law?

    Possession of marihuana is against the law. Mary possessed marihuana in violation of the law. When you violate a law there’s a penalty associated with doing so. Had Mary not violated the law and not been found in possession of marihauna then this would be a non-story.

    Here’s a question your story posed but ignored. Who drove Mary and her friends to Denny’s?

    Do you believe that marihuana should be legal to posess or do you desire to see the penalties for personal possession reduced?

    I spent 21 years in law enforcement, retiring as a Sergeant. I spent 3 of those years in undercover narcotics. I derive my opinion from a position of first hand knowledge on this matter, it does not come from sitting behind a desk.

    Sherman Graves

    • Corey Stinson

      Mr. Graves, explain why possession of marijuana should be any different (i.e. illegal) than possession of a can of beer? (FYI: I have never smoked marijuana and have no plans to do so.)

  • Sherman Graves

    Did anyone compel Mary to smoke pot or to violate the law? No, Mary made a concious decision to smoke pot and to have the dime bag in her purse. Mary is to blame for her problems and no one but Mary is responsible for what she did. If you advocate legalizing marihuana then remove me form your email list. The problem with our country is no one wants to accept responsibility for their actions. If this is the mindset you desire to foster then you are not a Conservative and you’re someone I want nothing to do with.

    • wiliamthennessy

      We’re this a story on personal accountability, I’d get your point. But it’s not. Nor is it a sympathy story.

      As most readers understand, this is a story about good and bad laws. Surely you don’t support bad laws, do you?

  • Corey Stinson

    In response to a similar conversation, a friend of mine wrote the below, which I think is good, and I am attaching herein:

    ~ ~ ~

    At some point in our history, I would say some time around the 80’s, the majority of police officers in our country had a giant mental shift. They went from being folks who “serve and protect” to being folks who “enforce law and ordinance”. At that time they lost the tradition of Questioning those ordinances and laws, and using their discretion to try to do what was right for society. This was also around the time that Law enforcement became an arm of the local Taxation service.

    When I see people in my fathers generation, and even the generation after, I always hear stories of police who caught young folks doing things that were not legal. In so many of those stories, the Officer involved looked at what was good for the person, and for society, and what might happen to that person if they got tied up in the system, and chose to give a warning, or a ride home, or tell their parents, or some such solution other than involving them in the criminal justice system for a minor infraction.

    From my generation through today, those stories are rare. Today if a young person does even the most minor thing, it is off to jail, or given a handful of expensive tickets, for everything the officer could think of to charge them with.

    The same applies to adults in both time periods. We have gotten to the point where “failure to obey” has become something that not only is considered wrong, but makes people get their knickers in a twist. I cannot imagine any sane person who would be legitimately upset about someone failing to get a Garage sale permit, or failing to get permission to paint their house, or failing to pick up the Newspapers in their driveway, or any of the other inane laws that people are forced to adhere to in the city and suburbs. But just last year, I dealt with an officer who was livid because I dared to park my truck and trailer in front of a suburban house for half an hour, on the street. Livid with the kind of anger that should be reserved for Rapists and Murderers and Thieves.

    This is daily life in our country now!

  • Corey Stinson

    But… but… how can our municipalities make money and buy lots of new police cars and armored personnel carriers if we don’t run everyone through the system for the most minor infractions?! I’m pretty sure everyone in the metropolitan area knows that Maryland Heights is one of the worst abusers of their authority. It starts with the city fathers, folks. I for one several years ago committed myself to never doing business within the borders of Maryland Heights due to the behavior of their police. Everyone should understand that this is all about money. The Maryland Heights prosecuting attorney will be more than happy to reduce any moving violation to a non-moving violation, *if* you place enough money into the city coffer – and that is exactly what this girl will have to end up doing to have these charged amended down to something commensurate with the actual infraction… and the other guaranteed outcome: she will have no respect for “law enforcement” on into the future.

    • wiliamthennessy

      The police I don’t blame. They have to enforce the law.

      But we make the law. We sometimes make laws, with the best intentions, that do far more harm than good.

      This is one of those areas. And correcting it would help our society.

      Next week’s Weednesday post is all about the money.

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