Meth makers could go free because of new criminal code loophole

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - FOX 2 has learned of what could be a major problem with the new Missouri criminal code, passed by the legislature on Thursday. Law enforcement fear the new wording could let meth makers go free.

The head of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association, Sergent Jason Grellner, said that he and other law enforcement across the state are stunned by the new revised Missouri criminal code. Grellner sees several problems, but the biggest, involves the penalties for meth makers. Grellner says there's not one for people who buy large amounts of psudo-ephedrine, a key ingredient in making meth.

"If I'm standing on the parking lot of Walgreens asking people to go inside and buy it for me and I'm acquiring box after box after box. There's no penalty for me." said Sgt. Jason Grellner.

Grellner and Governor blunt were the ones who got the original psudo-ephedrine laws passed in Missouri. He says the new revised law only allows law enforcement to go after the pharmacists who knowing sell large amounts of the cold medicine. I spoke with the senator who sponsored the bill.

Senator Dixon argues the penalties "are" addressed. Governor Nixon has been critical of overhauling the entire 650 page law at once. He has 15 days to sign or veto it and today said he wished the legislature would have given him more time.

"As we did into this bill and the two areas that we will focus on is making sure that it protects our strong laws involving methamphetamines and DWI and continues to keep our drunk drivers off the road." said Missouri Gov. Nixon.

"We had that strong legislation and I'm hoping this new criminal code doesn't attempt to water that down." said Grellner.

The new law goes into affect in 2017, so it is possible to amend it. I also spoke with the Missouri Police Chiefs Association and they and others are very upset that no law enforcement was involved in the initial crafting of the bill. However, Senator Dixon tells me they have been fully informed along the process.

The overhaul creates new classes of felonies and misdemeanors and many other crimes will follow a new penalty structure. Significant ones include no jail time for first time offenders convicted of possessing less than 10 grams of marijuana. People who sexually abuse family members would face harsher sentences.

You can read more about the overhauled criminal code here.

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