by Sam Levin
The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has officially passed a local marijuana reform bill that aims to save police resources and reduce punishments for the most minor possession offenses.
"This is a good, practical move for the city of St. Louis to alleviate police and prosecutorial resources on minor drug offenses," Alderman Shane Cohn, the bill's sponsor, tells Daily RFT. "Hopefully, we'll be able to continue this dialogue into the future."
The bill now heads to the desk of Mayor Francis Slay, who was recently reelected for a fourth term and has his formal inauguration today.
Will Slay sign the legislation into law?
After a review, it is likely that he will, Slay spokeswoman Maggie Crane tells Daily RFT.
"He is sympathetic to the reasons behind the bill, and if all is legal and right...he'll sign it," Crane says.
She says the main goal, from the mayor's perspective, is reducing court capacity through this proposal. She adds that the mayor's office has to review the final language and ensure that it is legal and accomplishes its intent.
The bill passed with a 22-3 vote.
As we've outlined before, Cohn's bill encourages police officers to bring the most minor offenses to the lower municipal court where they are treated like traffic offenses as opposed to the Circuity Attorney's Office where they require a lengthy process for police and prosecutors.
The proposal in no way is a legalization effort, which would have to happen at the state level.
And besides, Slay has said he does not support legalization.
The vote, however, does come just two days after advocates held a cannabis conference in St. Louis, where speakers expressed their support for a full end to marijuana prohibition.
If the mayor approves Cohn's proposal, the new city law would go into effect on June 1.
See also: - St. Louis Cannabis Conference: Pro-Legalization Cop Says "The Public is Waking Up" - 106.5 The Arch Refuses to Air Pot Reform Ad, Says Topic is Too Controversial - Shane Cohn Says Police Sergeant's Pro-Reform Lobbying is a Conflict of Interest