A campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri on Sunday turned in signatures they’d gathered to get the measures on ballots.
In order to get a proposal on the ballot this year, campaigns need to collect 170,000 voter signatures from six of the state’s eight congressional districts.
The recreational pot campaign, Legal Missouri 2022, had already collected nearly twice the required number of signatures by mid-April, and it turned in more than 385,000 signatures.
Here’s what the proposed bill would do for cannabis consumers in Missouri:
Adults age 21 and older could buy and grow weed for personal consumption as early as this year if voters approve the amendment.
Backers of the ballot proposal are highlighting a provision that would erase past weed-related convictions for nonviolent offenders and those whose conviction didn’t include selling to minors or driving while high. Local NAACP chapters, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri, criminal defense lawyers and other civil rights advocacy groups endorsed automatic expungement, and it could broaden support for the initiative among Republican criminal justice advocates. Seven other states with legal recreational marijuana have also adopted automatic expungement policies.
Marijuana sales would be taxed at 6% under the Missouri measure. The tax is estimated to bring in more than $46 million during the first full year the amendment is in effect and close to $70 million the following year. Revenues would be earmarked for veterans’ homes, drug treatment programs and public defenders.
Cities and other municipalities could enact local sales taxes on recreational marijuana up to 3% or enact local bans on non-medical weed sales by a public vote.
Missouri lawmakers pitched similar legislation that would legalize recreational marijuana in law, without enshrining it as a right in the state Constitution. But pot policies have failed to gain traction in the GOP-led Legislature for years, and time is running out before lawmakers’ May 13 deadline to pass bills.
Legislative proposals include a lower 4.2% tax on recreational marijuana sales and would set the money aside for deputy sheriffs, the state’s police training oversight agency, small business loans and a work training program.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.