Springfield Criminal Defense Lawyer Adam Woody Discusses Medical Marijuana and Gun Ownership

As the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services continues to craft the rules and regulations regarding medicinal marijuana in Missouri, questions regarding the new Constitutional Amendment continue.  One primary concern prospective medicinal marijuana users have is whether it will impact their Second Amendment Rights.  The answer, of course, is somewhat up in the air.  There is unlikely to be any state regulation banning firearms possession by medical marijuana patients, but the conflict comes from the federal law.  Current federal law outlaws possession of a banned controlled substance while simultaneously possessing a firearm.  Although the federal government has been fairly lax with states that are legalizing marijuana, the substance is still illegal federally.  The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms has taken a hard-line approach when it comes to medicinal marijuana users and firearms possession.  Their position is: you can’t have both.  That is unlikely to change and will be the governing rule in Missouri.  Once a person gets a medical marijuana prescription, their name will go into a federal database.  When that person attempts to purchase a new gun, their name will come up on the exclusion list and they will be unable to purchase a firearm.

It appears in Missouri and other states that have legalized medicinal marijuana, those patients have a choice to make: prescription marijuana or their Second Amendment rights to own, possess and purchase a firearm.

Adam was recently interviewed by the local CBS affiliate KOLR10 on this topic.  You can watch that interview by clicking the link here.

Driving While Black: Attorney General Reports Black Missouri Drivers 91% More Likely to be Stopped

A report from Missouri Attorney General shows black drivers across the state are 91 percent more likely than white motorists to be pulled over by police. 

The Springfield NAACP says numbers from the report have launched leadership to start working with law enforcement to find solutions.

Local law enforcement does not agree. Lawrence County Sheriff Brad Delay doesn’t buy the report, stating “A lot of times, there area reasons for that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there are probably those in there that don’t need to be in this profession, but the vast majority in them, this is being done again to show that we are not racially profiling.” Click here to watch Lawrence County Sheriff Brad Delay’s interview.

The data stands in stark contrast to Lawrence County Sheriff Brad Delay’s position. In Lawrence County, the disparity index for black drivers was 8.26. Anything over 1 indicates that there was an over representation of stops for the proportion of the population.

Meanwhile, the disparity index for white drivers was 0.97. Anything under 1 indicates that there was an under representation of stops for the proportion of the population. Click here and scroll to page 585 to see Lawrence County’s statistics.

Driving While Black: Southwest Missouri Statistics

The data does not lie.

In Greene County, the disparity index for black drivers was 2.82. Anything over 1 indicates that there was an over representation of stops for the proportion of the population. But the disparity index for white drivers was 0.97, indicating that there was an under representation of stops for the proportion of the population. Click here and scroll to page 413 to see Greene County’s statistics.

In Stone County, the disparity index for black drivers was 21.21! While the disparity index for white drivers was 0.99. Click here and scroll to page 1035 to see Stone County’s statistics.

In Christian County, the disparity index for black drivers was 7.38. But the disparity index for white drivers was 0.98. Click here and scroll to page 203 to see Christian County’s statistics.

In Laclede County, the disparity index for black drivers was 5.88. But the disparity index for white drivers was 0.99. Click here and scroll to page 547 to see Laclede County’s statistics.

In Taney County, the disparity index for black drivers was 3.15. But the disparity index for white drivers was 1.03. Click here and scroll to page 1061 to see Taney County’s statistics.

The 2018 report found the statewide search rate for black and Hispanic drivers were greater than white individuals (black: 8.93; Hispanic: 8.44; white: 6.04). Interestingly, the contraband hit rate was higher among white drivers (black: 33.82; Hispanic: 29.15; white: 35.68). But arrest rates were higher for black and Hispanic people (black: 6.37; Hispanic: 6.26; white: 4.25).

“A Report is Not Enough. Actions Must Be Taken.”

Lawmakers and activists immediately called for swift action in the wake of the report. Sara Baker, ACLU Legislative and Policy Director, addressed the report, stating that “For the eighteenth year in a row, the Missouri Attorney General’s office has released a report that shows black communities, and people of color are disproportionately stopped and searched by law enforcement. A report is not enough. Actions must be taken.”

But yesterday, the Missouri Sheriff’s Association pushed back. Kevin Merritt, Executive Director of the Sheriff’s Association, said that “Race alone is not dispositive of why the stop was made; neither is a disparity index.” Merritt called for expansion include data related to whether the officer knew the race of an individual before the stop was made.

“We appreciate any and all feedback on the Vehicle Stops Report as we are continuously working to improve the data collection and accuracy,” Chris Nuelle, a spokesman for the attorney general, said in a statement to The Missouri Times. “With the 2020 Census approaching, we’re looking into best ways to integrate the most accurate data possible moving forward. Additionally, we hope the proposed changes to this year’s vehicle stops report will provide the most accurate and insightful analysis of stops in Missouri since the report’s inception in 2000.”

The Special Committee on Criminal Justice announced that it plans on holding public hearings in Kansas City and St. Louis on racial profiling and civil asset forfeiture before the General Assembly convenes next year. Source.

It will be interesting to see how Southwest Missouri law enforcement responds to this Report and whether it makes any changes in the way it trains officers in implicit bias and the way it targets vehicle stops.

Click here to read the full Attorney General Report.

Illinois State Legislature the First in the Country to Legalize Recreational Use of Marijuana

Illinois is one step away from enacting a bill legalizing the use of marijuana, making it the first state to do so through the legislature. Ten other states approved recreational use of marijuana through ballot initiatives, including Colorado, California, Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada, Vermont, Alaska, Maine, Michigan, and Washington. But this is the first time a state legislature in the United States has taken such an action.

The Bill is on the Governor’s Desk for Signature

The bill is on Governor J.B. Pritzker’s desk. It passed the state House of Representatives by 66 to 47 vote. Governor Pritzker indicated that he plans on signing the bill. He estimated that it would make the state $170 million in the first year alone.

High Sales Tax

Users will have to pay heavy sales taxes on the cannabis they purchase in Illinois. There will be a 10% tax on marijuana products containing less than 35% THC, and a 25% or more tax on products with a higher concentration.

Details of the Law

Under the proposed law, Illinois residents 21 and older, beginning on January 1, 2020, will be able to legally possess up to 30 grams of cannabis–a little more than an ounce–and will be able to purchase it from licensed marijuana dispensaries. Non-residents can possess about half the amount of weed that residents can possess.

Under the new law, residents of Illinois convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana can petition for expungement, so long as the offense was not associated with violent crime. The Illinois Sentencing Policy Advisory Council estimated that approximately 770,000 Illinois residents could qualify to get their records cleared of low-level marijuana crimes.

But critics have voiced concerns. Republican Representative Norine Hammond noted concerns that former felons might be allowed to possess guns and dealers may have their records cleared, as well as the lack of a field sobriety test for pot.

Illinois is well on its way to becoming the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana. It will be interesting to see if Missouri joins the trend by passing a bill legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

Attorneys Must Now Remove Their Bras To See Their Clients in Jackson County Jail

New security measures at the Jackson County Detention Center in Kansas City aimed at reducing illegal drugs and contraband have caused controversy. This week, female attorney Laurie Snell complained that she was required to remove her underwire bra to pass a metal detector on her way to see a client.

After setting the alarm off, Ms. Snell removed her jewelry and glasses, but it still went off. Ms. Snell was required to remove her bra, place it in the bin, and pass through the metal detector. Once inside the jail, she had nowhere to put it back on, so she put it back on in the elevator on the way to see her client.

“People are Going Nuts”

The public’s criticism of the policy has reached the legislators. Jackson County Legislator Crystal Williams noted that something has to change because “people are going nuts.” Williams is still reviewing the new security policy, but stated that it is obvious that there is an “undue impact on women.” Williams stated that “There are a lot of women who use underwire bras. It seems unseemly that we are discussing this.”

Other Alternatives are Available

Legislator Tony Miller wondered whether different technology would help, such as using whole-body screeners that are now common at airports. At the very least, accommodations should be made for lawyers who visit clients in the jail. All attorneys have passed criminal background checks.

For now, no change is planned. But legislators are not likely to drop the issue. Chairwoman Theresa Galvin stated that “We need to come up with a better solution, because this is not good.”

It will be interesting to see if legislators address the public’s concern over the jail’s new policy requiring female attorneys to remove their bras to visit their clients. So far, no jail in Southwest Missouri has adopted a similar policy.