Missouri Advocates File Ballot Initiative to Legalize Cannabis

Advocates in Missouri have filed a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for adults in the state. They must now collect 175,000 signatures to secure the issue on next year’s midterm ballots.

Full story after the jump.

Advocates in Missouri have filed a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis for adults in the state and now must collect 175,000 signatures to put the issue to voters during next year’s midterm elections. The proposed constitutional amendment includes a 6% retail tax and the option for local governments to collect their own 3% tax on sales.

The initiative was filed last week by Legal Missouri 2022. The organization’s Campaign Manager, John Payne, said there is “widespread support among Missouri voters to regulate, tax and legalize marijuana.”

“The status quo has allowed an unsafe, illegal market to thrive in Missouri, while preventing law enforcement from truly prioritizing the fight against violent crime. Now is the time for Missouri to join the 19 other states to have successfully regulated and taxed adult use marijuana, bringing millions in new funding for vital state services.”Payne in a press release

Funds derived from cannabis taxes would be used for veterans’ healthcare, drug addiction treatment, and the state’s public defender system.

The proposal also includes a provision to automatically expunge low-level cannabis crimes, not including violent offenders or those whose offenses involved distribution to a minor or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of cannabis, which would be required to be adjudicated through a petition to the court.

From 2010 through 2018, cannabis possession arrests accounted for 50% of all drug arrests in Missouri, the campaign said in the press release, placing the state just outside the nation’s top 10 for the highest cannabis possession arrest rates.

Medical cannabis sales in Missouri only began last October and have reached more than $91.36 million, according to a Center Square report.

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