Hemp, Juvenile Crime, Welfare Reform Hot Topics in Missouri

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Hemp, Juvenile Crime, Welfare Reform Hot Topics in Missouri


Missouri Governor Eric Greitens may be embroiled in scandal, but legislators in Jefferson City are busy passing bills, trying not to let the governor’s troubles affect their work. The 2018 legislative session has dealt with a number of issues. Among them, legislators have passed bills that would legalize the industrial use of hemp, reform juvenile justice, and limit how welfare recipients can use their EBT cards.


Industrial hemp


Under legislation passed by both houses of the legislature, Missourians will be able to grow hemp for industrial uses if they apply for a permit, are fingerprinted, and pass a background check. The state’s Department of Agriculture would set up regulations for the growing and processing of hemp. It would also inspect farms. If hemp has a THC content above .3%, the department would destroy it.


Juvenile justice reform


Currently in Missouri, 17-year-olds who are accused of crimes are tried as adults. Only four other states set the age for being tried as an adult to 18. Under legislation passed by the state Senate, this would change. This bill would change the age of adult jurisdiction to 18. Supporters contend that it will not only save the state money by reducing incarceration rates, it will also give youth in the criminal justice system a better opportunity for reform.


Welfare restrictions


Under legislation being considered in the state House of Representatives, recipients of government benefits could no longer use their electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards to withdraw cash at ATM machines. In addition, the bill further specifies what items would be prohibited from being purchased with these cards and where the cards could be used. An amendment was also added during consideration of the bill that would increase penalties for recipients who misuse government benefits. Supporters of this bill say that it is needed to ensure that these benefits are not abused. Opponents contend that these provisions will only make life more difficult for benefit recipients and that parts of the bill violate federal law.


Do you think that industrial hemp should be legalized? Should 17-year-olds be tried for crimes in adult or juvenile court? Should more restrictions be placed on the use of EBT cards?



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