St. Louis Mayor Opposes Cannabis Legalization Initiative

The mayor of St. Louis, Missouri has come out in opposition to adult-use cannabis legalization in the state, indicating that the amendment will create a “permanent exclusion” of minorities from the state’s cannabis industry.

Full story after the jump.

St. Louis, Missouri Mayor Tishaura Jones on Tuesday came out in opposition of the ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in the state, describing the proposal as inequitable and once it’s in the state constitution, “it can be difficult to alter,” the Missouri Independent reports. 

“If we choose the path of a constitutional amendment to resolve the matter of legalization, it would have to be forward-thinking, flexible and most of all, equitable. This amendment fails to meet that lofty aim. Simply put, legalization does not equal decriminalization.” — Jones, in a statement, via the Independent

Jones’ opposition comes about a month after Democratic state Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove formed the Impactful Canna Reform Coalition to oppose the reforms. Bland Manlove, the chair of the Missouri Legislative Black Caucus, said she formed the group along with “like-minded community partners” because they realized “people from politicians to Bob on the street didn’t know the details” on the proposed constitutional amendment.   

“The capitalism monster loves to exploit you,” Bland Manlove said last month when announcing the formation of the organization, “and that is what’s happening with this petition.” 

The measure is also opposed by the Missouri NAACP. Both groups argue that, if approved, the amendment will create a “permanent exclusion” of minorities from the state’s cannabis industry. 

Freedom Inc., a Black-led civil rights organization from Kansas City, and STL Power Project – which backed Jones’ election – are backing the reforms.  

Rodney Bland, president of Freedom Inc. told the Independent, “Every day that goes by where cannabis is still illegal in Missouri, is a day when justice is not being served.”  

The legalization amendment also recently received support from the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), which is a non-profit group of criminal justice professionals, including police, prosecutors, and judges that aims to mobilize law enforcement in criminal justice reforms that promote public safety. 

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