The Board of Aldermen, the law-making body of St. Louis, Missouri, voted 22 to 3 in favor of reducing the penalty for possession of small amounts of marijuana in the city to that of a traffic ticket.
Introduced earlier this year by Alderman Shane Cohn, the law gives police officers the option to redistribute some marijuana cases to the municipal court system, essentially making a criminal infraction a municipal offense.
Due to the absence of local marijuana laws in St. Louis, police charge offenders under the severe state laws.
“[Missouri] has some of the most draconian laws in the nation,” John Payne, executive director of Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The ordinance reduces the penalty to a $100 to $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
The policy goes into effect June 1.