Missouri Group Launches Cannabis Legalization Bid

Activists in Missouri have started collecting signatures to put an adult-use legalization initiative on the November ballot; the effort is backed by the same group from the state’s successful 2018 medical cannabis push.

Full story after the jump.

Missouri activists are circulating petitions to put adult-use cannabis legalization on November ballots, the St. Joseph News-Press reports. Missourians for a New Approach, the organization behind the legalization campaign, also headed the successful 2018 bid to legalize medical cannabis in the state. Activists need to gather 17,000 valid signatures from registered voters distributed across six of the eight Congressional districts by May 3.

The measure would legalize cannabis for adults 21-and-older and impose a 15 percent sales tax, which would be used for infrastructure, veterans, and combating drug use. The proposal includes expungement and local opt-out provisions. Potential taxes derived from cannabis sales in Missouri are estimated at between $93 million and $155 million annually, while the program would cost the state about $21 million initially and $6 million per year after that.

John Payne, the campaign manager for Missourians for a New Approach, told the News-Press that the organization is “basically getting petitions in people’s hands right now,” using both paid and volunteer signature gatherers. According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report, New Approval PAC, based in Washington state, has donated $150,000 toward the signature-gathering effort.

According to the January 31 Post-Dispatch report, the campaign had raised $80,000 in contributions, including $25,000 from BeLeaf Medical, which holds three medical cannabis cultivation licenses and five dispensary licenses in the state.

Missouri’s medical cannabis industry is still not yet online and regulators only awarded some operator licenses last month. Voters approved the medical cannabis amendment 66 percent to 34 percent during the midterm elections.

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