It has become increasingly accepted wisdom that incarcerating people for possession of small amounts of marijuana is a waste of police resources and taxpayer money. This spring the board of aldermen did a very smart thing and overwhelmingly passed a marijuana-decriminalization ordinance for the city of St. Louis. Now possession of 35 grams or fewer of pot is a ticketable offense as opposed to a criminal misdemeanor. The fines still suck — $100 to $500 — but the ordinance will keep many nonviolent offenders out of jail and out of the criminal-justice system. In a city as racially and socioeconomically stratified as ours, it is heartening to see city leaders adopt this kind of forward-thinking, progressive law-enforcement philosophy. Here's hoping the change in the law can break the cycle of incarceration and poverty for at least some of our citizens.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.