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Marijuana legalization initiative petition approved to circulate

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — An initiative petition changing the Missouri constitution to legalize marijuana has been approved to circulate by the Secretary of State’s Office

The approved ballot language asks voters about removing prohibitions on recreational use and possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for those at least 21 years old. It also would allow the cultivation of up to three plants for personal use. 

Additionally, the initiative petition seeks to remove prohibitions on commercial cultivation, manufacture, and sale of marijuana from state-licensed facilities. It would also allow people who have certain marijuana-related offenses to have an opportunity to seek a reduction in sentences and expunged records. 

The petition, if approved, would impose a 15 percent sales tax on the retail sale of marijuana which would go toward a new “Veterans, Infrastructure, and Health Fund.” After taxes are collected by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the local government where the sale occurred, the remaining amount collected would be split evenly between:  

  • A Missouri veterans commission or agency for health care and other services for military veterans and families
  • The State Road Fund for constructing and maintaining Missouri highways
  • DHSS for grants for agencies and other non-profits to increase access to drug addiction treatment and overdose prevention and reversal 

The initiative petition also seeks to amend some aspects of the already-passed medicinal marijuana provision to the state constitution. Specifically, it would make patient and primary caregiver cards valid for three years. 

“State government entities are expected to have one-time costs of $21 million, annual costs from $6 million to unknown, and annual revenues from $86 million to $155 million by 2025,” the ballot language said. “Local governments estimate unknown costs and are expected to have annual revenues from $17 million to $27 million by 2025.” 

The petition, 2020-126, was filed by Deirdre Hirner of Jefferson City on Oct. 18. 

A total of 141 initiative petitions have been submitted to the Secretary of State’s Office. In total, two petitions are accepting comments, 64 have been approved to circulate, 40 have been rejected, and 22 have been withdrawn. An additional 13 have been closed to comments. 

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