GOP Lawmaker Proposes Cannabis Legalization Bill in Missouri

Republican Missouri State Rep. Shamed Dogan has proposed a constitutional amendment to legalize and regulate cannabis; the proposal would leave the legalization question up to voters during the 2022 election.

Full story after the jump.

Republican Missouri State Rep. Shamed Dogan has pre-filed legislation that would put an adult-use ballot question to voters in 2022, the Missouri Times reports. The proposal – a constitutional amendment – would regulate cannabis similar to alcohol in the state, allowing use and possession by adults 21-and-older.

The “Smarter and Safer Missouri Act” sets adult-use sales taxes at 12% while medical cannabis taxes would remain at 4%. Funds derived from the program would be used for infrastructure, veterans, and drug treatment programs. The bill also removes caps on cannabis industry licenses.

In an interview with the Times, Dogan described the war on drugs as a “failure” with the “fight against marijuana” as the “most glaring failure” of prohibitionist policies.

“We’ve spent billions of dollars fighting against a drug which is, in the grand scheme of things, the least harmful on the list of what is currently illegal. We spend the most resources and time on it, and it’s time that ends. The public has come to that conclusion, but our laws have been pretty slow in catching up with that.” – Dogan to the Times

In 2018, Missouri voters approved the medical cannabis legalization bill with 65% of the vote. A similar adult-use legalization bill was proposed last session by Democratic Rep. Peter Merideth but was never voted on. Dogan is the first GOP member in the state to introduce legalization legislation.

Legalization activists had sought to put the legalization question to voters during last November’s General Election; however, the effort stalled amid the state’s pandemic-related stay-at-home order in March.


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