Most of us can agree that marijuana is not a dangerous drug. In fact, alcohol is far more deadly, causing numerous DUI crashes each year. In addition, people can literally drink themselves to death – while it is essentially impossible to overdose on marijuana. Finally, marijuana is nowhere near as addictive as some of the other “harder” drugs, and users tend to develop a dependency that is similar to a caffeine addiction at best. For all of these reasons and many others, numerous states have legalized marijuana for recreational use.
However, Mississippi currently only makes it legal to possess and use marijauna if you have a medical license. Many are calling for the state to join many others and fully decriminalize marijuana – making it legal for recreational users to possess, use, and grow the drug as well. Despite the fact that this will probably happen in the near future, there are many Mississippi residents who currently have criminal records due to simple marijuana possession. But could you get a pardon for this offense and clear your name?
What is Simple Marijuana Possession in Mississippi?
If you are caught carrying 30 grams of marijuana or less in Mississippi, you will face a fine of up to $250 with no jail time. The logic here is that if you are carrying less than 30 grams, your marijuana is probably for personal use – and you are not trying to sell this drug to anyone. While this might seem like the state of Mississippi is taking a very progressive stance, it’s important to remember that the penalties become increasingly severe with subsequent offenses. For example, a second simple marijuana possession charge will result in a $250 fine and up to two months in jai.. A third violation is prosecuted as a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 and a jail sentence of up to six months. Remember, you could face these penalties even if you are caught with a couple grams.
You should also know that the penalties become worse if you are caught with marijuana in a car. Even if it is your first offense, possession of up to 30 grams is automatically a misdemeanor – resulting in a fine of up to $1,000 and up to three months in jail.
Pardons are Being Discussed
If you have already been charged for one of these offenses, you know all too well that Mississippi can be quite harsh when it comes to marijuana possession – even though the state seemingly has a relaxed stance toward medical marijuana. Many people are stuck with criminal records due to marijuana possession, and this can make it difficult to find employment, obtain a firearm, and exercise many of their rights as Americans.
On October 26th, it was reported that criminal justice groups in the Magnolia State were pushing for the government to pardon those who had been convicted of simple marijuana possession. This outcry came after Joe Biden’s announcement that he would pardon all federal offenses related to simple marijuana possession. Criminal justice groups immediately demanded to know what the state government was planning to do with its own local laws – pointing out that many people with these criminal records are struggling to find secure housing.
Biden specifically encouraged all state governors to follow his lead and pardon offenses of simple marijuana possession. As of this writing Governor Tate Reeves has yet to respond – but he has called Biden’s actions “naive” while accusing him of attempting a “political stunt” in the run-up to the elections. That being said, those who have been convicted of simple marijuana possession in federal district courts within Mississippi can pursue a pardon through Biden’s new initiative without worrying about the state governor in Mississippi.
Pardoning these crimes would certainly make a lot of sense, although it is important to note that it would not remove the offense from your criminal record. In order to do that, you would need to work with a criminal defense attorney and pursue an expungement.
Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Mississippi?
If you have been searching the Mississippi area for a qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney, look no further than Vic Carmody Jr., P.A. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants in the Magnolia State, and we know that there are far worse crimes out there than marijuana possession. A pardon may be possible, especially with recent comments from Joe Biden. If you would like to explore your options to clear your criminal record and get on with your life, book a consultation with us today.