A Cass County Man Is the First Inmate in Missouri to Have a Conviction Linked to Marijuana Removed
Voters in Missouri approved Amendment 3 in November, making Adam Mace the first inmate to have a conviction for marijuana-related charges wiped.
A court in Cass County decided in Mace’s favor on Thursday, so he should be released within the next several days.
Mace was informed of the verdict by a phone call from his public lawyer Justin Ortiz and a group of supporters.
Ortiz said to Mace, “The judge allowed it.”
After a moment, Mace responded, “Yes?”
The answer was “yes” when Ortiz spoke up.
Are we good to go? Mace enquired.
Ortiz affirmed, “We’re good.” Awaiting the order, as it were.
Adam’s over-the-phone elation was palpable as he burst into a barrage of affirmatives and expressions of gratitude.
More people with nonviolent cannabis possession convictions, like Mace, could benefit from this if Amendment 3 passes.
Mace, then only 18 years old, was busted with more than 35 grams (just over an ounce) of marijuana. He has served almost a third of his five-year sentence.
It’s been a long journey,” Ortiz added. “Many opportunities have passed him by, and we never imagined that this one would open up for him. It’s rewarding to do good work for a client and provide him what he wants, all while giving voice to the people.”
Mace’s petition for expungement under the amendment makes him the first in Cass County and one of the first in the state. So far, he’s the only inmate in the state to ever win.
Mace’s initial prosecution by the Cass County DA’s and Sheriff’s Offices was not opposed to his release.
“It’s made me so pleased. Thank goodness. Significant strain, “Said Mace. “This last night I stayed up until the early morning hours. Nothing else matters to me at the moment. Today is a historic win for the cannabis industry as a whole.”
Mace is currently serving his sentence at Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City, so he was not able to attend court on Thursday to hear the verdict in person. He had support from his friend as well as advocates from the Canna Convict Project.
“I think the stigma has taken a long time to overcome and it has taken a lot of individuals losing their freedoms, losing their lives, and losing their homes fighting for their defense,” Christina Frommer of the Canna Convict Project said. “For a longer time than medicine has been practiced in this country, people have been discussing this. In addition, it is time-consuming, tedious, and costly. Let’s hope this helps everyone out and that things speed up a bit now.”
The order to erase records related to Mace’s cannabis case will now be sent out by the court.
Mace’s release from prison might not happen until Monday or Tuesday at the earliest due to administrative delays. Ortiz expresses a desire for a speedier resolution.
BREAKING: Adam Mace is the first person in prison in the state of Missouri to have his marijuana possession case expunged. This means he’ll be getting out of prison in a matter of days. A Cass County judge just gave the judgement a few mins ago. @KSHB41 pic.twitter.com/Cuyddb49W4
— Sarah Plake (@SarahPlakeTV) January 19, 2023
What Happens Next?
“In order to become a certified welder, he is enrolled in a welding class in jail. Welding is the trade he most aspires to enter into upon his release, and I know that’s where he’d like to start first “Angela Bowers, a friend of Mace’s, said.
Bowers claimed that she and Mace had been childhood friends and had reunited approximately a year ago. Mace has two surviving siblings after the death of both of his parents. Bowers has acknowledged the importance of receiving as much help as possible.
At the moment, Mace is focused on expressing his appreciation to his supporters.
Mace stated, “I appreciate the help.” It would be great if I were there, but alas.
Mace has expressed an interest in visiting a petrol station and a nearby Dave and Busters arcade. He also claimed to be looking forward to his first experience with an iPhone because it was something he had never done before.
The situation with Mace was intricate. He was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the first degree in 2010 and given a prison term of 13 years.
Mace was just 19 years old when he was responsible for the fatal car accident that took the life of Denise Lero Greene, 44, on Missouri Highway 291 close to Harrisonville. He had been drinking and behind the wheel.
Due to his manslaughter conviction, he is now facing five years in prison for violating the terms of his probation in the cannabis possession case.
Mace began serving his cannabis conviction only after he completed 85 percent of his sentence for manslaughter, despite the fact that the cannabis case occurred first.
A manslaughter accusation was not expected to factor into the judge’s decision, or so Ortiz thought at the time.
This shouldn’t affect either case, Ortiz said in an interview on January 10. He ought to be released and his (marijuana-related) case should be erased because “the marijuana amendment is quite explicit on what needs to happen and it doesn’t offer a lot of wiggle space.”
Mace told the KSHB 41 I-Team last week that he was excited to start over outside of prison and get caught up on all he had missed during his time behind bars.
Wow, that’s sky high,” Mace exclaimed. “In all candor, just contemplating that makes me want to start bawling. Sure, I’m going to give it my best go, but I think I’m ready.”
The precedent set by Mace’s decision will allow for widespread expungements across the state.
Judge Ortiz remarked, “It’s absolutely a benchmark because we had a number of circumstances in this case and less complex cases should be able to get through the court system swiftly and more efficiently.”
Voters in Missouri approved a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for recreational use, making possession of small amounts of the drug legal but not yet permitting its sale to the general public.
As a result of the new legislation, many persons who have been convicted of cannabis possession can now ask a judge to expunge their record, which might lead to their immediate release from prison or the end of their probation and other court-ordered services.
Voters in a number of municipalities, including Kansas City, Missouri, will be asked to adopt new marijuana sales taxes in April.
Voters in Missouri approved medical marijuana in 2018 via a constitutional amendment very similar to the 2016 amendment in Colorado.