The Marijuana Laws in Missouri Require a Comprehensive Reform. The Instance of Adam Mace Is One Reason Why

Missouri marijuana laws need a complete overhaul. Adam Mace’s case is one reason why | Opinion

A Cass County judge may hear arguments this week over whether or not to order the release of an inmate serving time for nonviolent drug charges. Every voter in Missouri who supported Amendment 3, the state constitutional amendment that allowed recreational cannabis usage for people over the age of 21, should be keeping a close eye on this.

A verdict that could help others who have been convicted of minor narcotics charges involving marijuana is awaited by the whole state.

Three years into a five-year sentence for possessing more than 35 grams of marijuana (just over one ounce), Adam Mace is halfway through his time in jail. A favorable legal decision could lead to his immediate release. As far as we know, Mace is the first person in Cass County and one of the first people in Missouri to put the state’s new recreational marijuana law to the test.

There will be more after him. Mace’s lawyer, Justin Ortiz, says that his client’s case is pivotal because it may establish a new legal standard for how the state handles similar cases in the future. Getting people out of jail for mere possession of marijuana was “the intent of the legislation,” as Ortiz put it. State attorneys have a duty to act in accordance with the letter of the law.

Mace’s release from Algoa Correctional Center, a state penitentiary in Jefferson City, might be challenged by prosecutors in Cass County, according to Ortiz. However, ignoring the will of the voters by putting the inmate behind bars.

The marijuana laws in Missouri require a comprehensive reform. The instance of Adam Mace is one reason why

Mace was arrested for violating Missouri’s antiquated drug law, which is a hodgepodge system that focuses on small-time sellers and cannabis users. As a result, many law-abiding citizens were wrongfully sentenced to state prison for possession of a drug that is now legal in Missouri, albeit with necessary limitations on its availability and composition.

Under the provisions of the Third Amendment, low-level offenders like Mace who are currently serving time in prison have the right to seek post-conviction relief. He has. According to the court records, the office of the prosecutor in Cass County has not yet determined whether or not to oppose Mace’s motion for expungement. Ben Butler, the prosecuting attorney for Cass County, did not return messages seeking comment.

After serving over half his term for felony voters clearly wanted off the books—minor possession of pot—Mace would be released within days or weeks if his request were granted. The complexity of the Mace case is one of the factors that has piqued the curiosity of the media.

Mace, who was 18 at the time of his arrest in 2008 for minor possession of marijuana, did not have a weapon and was not a drug dealer, according to Ortiz, his attorney. Mace admitted guilt and was given a five-year term for the offense. At 19, he was facing more serious criminal charges despite being placed on probation.

Later, while under the influence, Mace was responsible for an accident on Highway 291 near Harrisonville that took the life of Denise Lero Greene, 44. Convicted of first-degree involuntary manslaughter, he was sentenced to 13 years in jail. His marijuana-related parole was canceled immediately upon his conviction.

His five-year sentence for the marijuana conviction began once he had served 85% of his sentence for manslaughter. Mace claims he simply wants his marijuana conviction overturned, so Ortiz says the judge and prosecutors in Cass County shouldn’t hold his prior conviction against him.

He meets the criteria for conditional release as forth by the Missouri Department of Corrections. The case against Mace for involuntary manslaughter is not contested. According to state law, he needs to do his sentence. Keeping him in jail for another day is cruel, and it sends a blaring warning signal about the state’s backward marijuana policy.

The United States already has more than 20% of the world’s prison population. Attorneys and courts in Missouri cannot disregard the wishes of the people. The records of all nonviolent cannabis offenders should be sealed. Further, the officials of Missouri need to do a comprehensive assessment of the state’s drug enforcement system, which has been built on false assumptions for decades and has unfairly targeted people for no other reason than using a narcotic that is now legal for any adult in the state.

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