Missourians on Election Day voted to legalize cannabis for adult use by a 53%-47% margin. It marks the first time a mid-western state has backed an initiative to legalize cannabis for adults.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Legal MO 2022 Campaign Director John Payne noted the vote was also historic in that it is the “first state in the nation to automatically expunge past, nonviolent, marijuana offenses by a vote of the people.”
“This enormous step forward for criminal justice reform will result in hundreds of thousands of Missourians having their records cleared, at no cost to them, for an activity that is now legal. Missouri will see millions in new revenue pour in each year for veterans’ health care, drug treatment, and our severely underfunded public defender’s office. Today’s vote immediately puts an end to nearly 20,000 arrests each year for minor marijuana violations, freeing up vital law enforcement resources to fight serious and violent crime.” — Payne in a statement
The measure allows adults to possess up to three ounces of cannabis and to cultivate up to six flowering plants, six immature plants, and six plants under 14 inches at their homes for personal use. At the earliest, sales to adults could begin by Feb. 6, 2023. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services will oversee the new industry and is tasked with awarding adult-use licenses to established medical cannabis facilities.
Adult-use cannabis will be taxed at 6%, the Kansas City Star reports. Officials estimate the industry will cost the state about $5.5 million each year but bring in at least $40.8 million in annual revenue. It is expected to cost local governments at least $35,000 each year but bring in at least $13.8 million per year.
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