JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In November, Missouri voters will get the opportunity to decided on the legalization of medical marijuana, raising the minimum wage, and overhauling the states ethics laws, after signatures for five initiative petitions were officially verified on Thursday.
The Missouri Secretary of State’s Office has issued certificates of sufficiency, stating that the petition shall be placed on the ballot for the general election, for five the the six initiative petitions that submitted signatures for verification back in May.
An initiative petition seeking full legalization of marijuana did not submit the necessary amount of signatures.
Those wishing to challenge the certificates must file legal action within the next 10 days. Barring a successful challenge, the Secretary of State will issue a final certification for the November general election ballot no late than August 28, 2018.
Amendment 1 will be the ballot initiative advocating for a major overhaul of campaign finance and ethics laws in the Show-Me State. The so-called Clean Missouri measure is perhaps one of the most controversial initiative petitions, at least among lawmakers.
Amendment 1 is asking the voter is the Missouri Constitution should be amended to:
- change process and criteria for redrawing state legislative districts during reapportionment;
- change limits on campaign contributions that candidates for state legislature can accept from individuals or entities;
- establish a limit on gifts that state legislators, and their employees, can accept from paid lobbyists;
- prohibit state legislators, and their employees, from serving as paid lobbyists for a period of time;
- prohibit political fundraising by candidates for or members of the state legislature on State property; and
- require legislative records and proceedings to be open to the public?
State governmental entities estimate annual operating costs may increase by $189,000. Local governmental entities expect no fiscal impact.
Three of the four marijuana related initiative petitions submitted the necessary signatures to go to a vote of the people. Two are constitutional amendments and one is a statutory change.
Amendment 2 asks if the Missouri Constitution should be amended to:
- allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing/certification procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;
- impose a 4 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana; and
- use funds from these taxes for health and care services for military veterans by the Missouri Veterans Commission and to administer the program to license/certify and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities?
This proposal is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $18 million for state operating costs and veterans programs, and $6 million for local governments. Annual state operating costs are estimated to be $7 million.
Amendment 3 is asking if the Missouri Constitution should be amended to:
- allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;
- impose a 15 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana, and a tax on the wholesale sale of marijuana flowers and leaves per dry-weight ounce to licensed facilities; and
- use funds from these taxes to establish and fund a state research institute to conduct research with the purpose of developing cures and treatments for cancer and other incurable diseases or medical conditions?
This proposal is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $66 million. State governmental entities estimate initial implementation costs of $186,000 and increased annual operating costs of $500,000.
Proposition C is asking if Missouri law should be amended to:
- remove state prohibitions on personal use and possession of medical cannabis (marijuana) with a written certification by a physician who treats a patient diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition;
- remove state prohibitions on growth, possession, production, and sale of medical marijuana by licensed and regulated facilities, and a facility’s licensed owners and employees;
- impose a 2% tax on the retail sale of medical marijuana; and
- use funds from this tax for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and for public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility?
State government entities estimate initial and one-time costs of $2.6 million, annual costs of $10 million, and annual revenues of at least $10 million. Local government entities estimate no annual costs and are expected to have at least $152,000 in annual revenues.
This initiative petition is looking to raise the state’s minimum wage in an effort to equalize wages with the costs of inflation over the years.
Proposition B is asking voters if Missouri law should be amended to:
- increase the state minimum wage to $8.60 per hour with 85 cents per hour increase each year until 2023, when the state minimum wage would be $12.00 per hour;
- exempt government employers from the above increase; and
- increase the penalty for paying employees less than the minimum wage?
State and local governments estimate no direct costs or savings from the proposal, but operating costs could increase by an unknown annual amount that could be significant. State and local government tax revenue could change by an unknown annual amount ranging from a $2.9 million decrease to a $214 million increase depending on business decisions.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.