State Watch

Missouri puts marijuana legalization on November ballot

Missouri voters will decide whether to legalize the use of recreational marijuana this November, Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft (R) announced on Tuesday.

The petition asks voters if they wish to amend the Missouri Constitution to remove bans on possessing, consuming, delivering, manufacturing and selling marijuana for personal use by adults over the age of 21.

The petition includes a proposed registration card for personal cultivation of marijuana as well as provisions to allow people with nonviolent marijuana-related offenses to petition to have their records expunged.

A 6 percent tax on the retail price of marijuana would be imposed to benefit “various programs.”

“I encourage Missourians to study and educate themselves on any ballot initiative,” Ashcroft said in a statement.

“Initiative 2022-059 that voters will see on the November ballot is particularly lengthy and should be given careful consideration,” he added, referring to the petition number for marijuana legalization.

The use of medical marijuana has been legal in Missouri since 2020. Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana include any terminal condition, cancer, epilepsy, HIV and Parkinson’s disease.

When the use of medical marijuana was brought up for a vote in 2018, 65 percent of Missouri’s voters cast their ballots in favor of the amendment.

Legal Missouri 2022, the campaign that filed the petition, said in a press release that 214,535 voter signatures across the state’s eight congressional districts had been certified.

“We look forward to engaging with voters across the state in the coming weeks and months. Missourians are more than ready to end the senseless and costly prohibition of marijuana,” Legal Missouri 2022 campaign manager John Payne said.

The campaign estimated that the proposed tax on marijuana would generate “at least $40.8 million” annually.

Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 19 U.S. states and in Washington, D.C.

News of this petition comes less than a month after Senate Democrats unveiled legislation to end the federal prohibition of marijuana. The bill would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and permit states to “create their own cannabis laws instead.”

The bill faces challenges with opposition from Republicans in the 50-50 Senate as well as from some Democratic senators.

Updated 5:47 p.m.

Tags John Ashcroft Marijuana marijuana legalization Missouri
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