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Initiative petition opening up access to marijuana approved to circulate

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missourians would legally be allowed to drive under the influence of marijuana under an initiative petition recently approved for circulation. 

This week, the Secretary of State’s Office gave approval for signatures to be collected on Petition 2020-70, filed by Mark Pedersen. The initiative petition seeks to alter Missouri’s budding marijuana industry. 

The fair ballot language asks voters if they want to amend the Missouri Constitution to: repeal all medical marijuana provisions; remove all prohibitions on marijuana; legally allow driving under the influence of marijuana; release all nonviolent offenders with marijuana-related convictions; prohibit Missouri assisting enforcement of federal marijuana offenses; and prohibit the taxation of physician-recommended medical marijuana.

The potential fiscal impact is calculated by the State Auditor’s Office. State governmental entities expect increased annual revenues of at least $10.7 million and annual savings of at least $6.8 million by 2027. Local governmental entities are expected to have revenue increases of at least $26.6 million annually by 2027 and are expected to have cost increases of an unknown amount.

The petition is the fifth one filed by Pedersen. The previous four have all been rejected. 

To date, a total of 102 initiative petitions have been submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. In total, four petitions are accepting comments, 19 are closed for comment, 23 have been approved to circulate, 38 have been rejected, and 18 have been withdrawn.

Three of those citizen petitions have been filed in the last week. All three are versions similar to previously rejected petitions.

Charles Hurth wants to amend the Missouri Constitution to read “only a citizen” of the U.S. can vote, instead of “all citizens.” Petition 2020-100 is the third filed by Hurth. 

Winston Apple filed Petition 2020-101 and Petition 2020-102 which seek to create a ranked-voting system and to alter the redistricting process, respectively. He had filed 20 initiative petitions in total. 

Before circulating petitions for signatures, state law requires groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the Secretary of State’s Office. The office then has 23 days after the formation of the petition is approved to draft ballot summary language. Every proposal received by the Secretary of State’s Office is sent to the Auditor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office.

Petitioners have until May 3, 2020, to deliver signed petitions to the Secretary of State’s Office. Proposed constitutional changes must be signed by 8 percent of legal voters in any six of the eight congressional districts, which amounts to a minimum of 160,199 signatures. Proposed statutory changes — none to date have been approved for circulation — must be signed by five percent of legal voters in any six of the eight congressional districts, which amounts to a minimum of 100,126 signatures.

More about the initiative petition process can be found on Secretary of State’s website.

This article is part of a periodic update on the initiative petition process. Other stories in the series can be found here