Missouri voters will have their say on recreational cannabis this fall, as an initiative from the Legal Missouri 2022 campaign was officially certified by the secretary of state, placing it on the November 8 general election ballot.
If passed, the ballot measure, known as Amendment 3, would allow residents 21 and older to possess, consume and cultivate cannabis, as well as purchase from licensed retailers. It would establish a lottery process for licenses and, additionally, would automatically expunge the records of those charged with nonviolent marijuana offenses, which would make Missouri the first state where voters took such a step, according to the campaign.
The measure applies a 6% state sales tax on marijuana and is estimated to generate annual revenue of at least $40.8 million, with an optional local sales tax of up to 3%, yielding additional local government revenues of at least $13.8 million, according to a state auditor’s analysis.
According to the campaign, more than 400,000 supporters signed the initiative petition with state officials certifying 214,535 voter signatures across the state’s eight congressional districts as valid, exceeding the required minimum of 184,720 needed to make the fall ballot.
“Our statewide coalition of activists, business owners, medical marijuana patients and criminal justice reform advocates has worked tirelessly to reach this point, and deserves all the credit,” Legal Missouri 2022 campaign manager John Payne said in a press release, noting the “outpouring of grassroots support among Missourians who want to legalize, tax and regulate cannabis made all the difference.”
Missouri voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018. The program officially launched in October 2020 and has grown to be one of the most successful medical programs in the country, with 342 license holders and more than 187,000 registered patients resulting in sales of more than $393 million in less than two years.
Adult-use legalization measures have also qualified for the 2022 ballot in Maryland and in South Dakota. In addition, signatures in support of separate state efforts have been turned in and are awaiting verification in Nebraska (medical only), North Dakota and Oklahoma, according to NORML.
— Brian Beckley