Competing advocacy groups in Missouri are seeking to put an adult-use question to voters next year, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The groups include Fair Access Missouri and Legal Missouri 2022, which was once known as New Approach Missouri—the group behind the successful medical cannabis initiative in 2018.
Fair Access is comprised of cannabis proponents who are disenchanted with the medical cannabis program created by the 2018 initiative. That campaign, a constitutional amendment, required the state to issue at least 338 industry licenses. The licensing process was marred by controversies, which included an investigation into the scoring process over claims that Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s office was able to influence how industry applications were scored and a report that was used to limit the number of licenses awarded.
Eric McSwain, the spokesman for Fair Access and chair of the Missouri Cannabis Industry Association, told the Post-Dispatch that under the current medical cannabis system, prices are too high and that his organization is pushing for an “open market” approach to broad legalization.
“We’re not big fans of the limited license scheme that’s in place. I don’t think it does justice to all those entrepreneurs in Missouri. I don’t think it does justice for all of the individuals who want to be employed in the industry, and I don’t think it’s fair to patients either, who at this point don’t have an adequate supply.”— McSwain to the Post-Dispatch
The groups diverge on several issues, including micro-licenses, social equity provisions, allowing current operators the first shot at new licenses and which state agencies would regulate the new industry.
Fair Access last week filed multiple versions of its ballot question with the secretary of state’s office. Campaigns must gather enough signatures to get the issue on midterm ballots in 2022.
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