Campaign launched to legalize cannabis in Missouri in 2022

Missouri voters may have the opportunity to vote on the legalization of recreational cannabis next year.

A group called Legal Missouri 2022 began an initiative petition effort last week that, if successful, would put a bill on next year’s ballot that would allow anyone 21 and over to buy, consume, possess or cultivate marijuana for recreational purposes.

John Payne, manager of the campaign, noted the state residents approved the medical marijuana question with nearly 66% of the vote in 2018. He said that makes him confident residents will approve recreational use for adults.

The group has to collect about 170,000 signatures in six of the state’s eight congressional districts to place the question on next year’s ballot, St. Louis Public Radio reported.

The proposed constitutional amendment would allow localities to place a 3% sales tax on the drug and would levy a 6% tax on retail marijuana sales. After the cost of administering the state’s regulator program is subtracted, the rest of the money would go to public defenders, veterans’ health care and drug addiction programs.

The measure also would create a program to expunge some marijuana-related offenses from people’s records and create a new license for businesses to manufacture such products as edibles, vape cartridges and topicals.

Medical marijuana is currently legal for use in the state of Missouri for those with qualifying conditions, such as epilepsy, cancer, and glaucoma.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.