Editor's note: This story was updated at 8:25 a.m. ET on Tuesday, April 26 to reflect that Legal Missouri 2022 is nearing the signature requirement rather than has reached the required number of signatures to place its adult-use legalization measure on the state's 2022 ballot.
Legal Missouri 2022 is approaching the signature requirement to put adult-use cannabis legalization on the state’s November ballot.
The group announced April 19 is has gathered 200,000 signatures supporting its constitutional amendment, according to the Associated Press.
Legal Missouri 2022 plans to continue collecting signatures ahead of the May 8 deadline to ensure the issue can go before voters this year, the news outlet reported.
Petition gatherers in Missouri must collect signatures from 8% of voters who cast ballots for governor in the previous general election in six of the state’s eight congressional districts, amounting to about 170,000 total signatures for an initiative to qualify for the ballot, according to AP.
“While the number of signatures collected already exceeds the legal minimum required to qualify for the ballot, our campaign will continue to collaborate with voters in the coming days and weeks to collect the tens of thousands of additional signatures needed to ensure our proposal exceeds the required threshold,” John Payne, campaign manager for Legal Missouri 2022, told KMOV.
Legal Missouri 2022’s proposed constitutional amendment would allow adults 21 and older to possess, consume and grow cannabis, AP reported, as well as levy a 6% state tax on adult-use sales.
The measure also includes provisions to expunge criminal records for most nonviolent cannabis-related offenses, according to the news outlet.
Meanwhile, the Missouri Legislature is considering House Bill 2704, the Cannabis Freedom Act, which would legalize adult-use cannabis legislatively.
That bill’s sponsor, St. Charles County Republican Rep. Ron Hicks, has urged his colleagues to act on legalization before their hands are tied by an initiative petition that amends the state Constitution.
Christina Thompson, of the advocacy group ShowMe Canna-Freedom, has expressed opposition to the legalization initiative sponsored by Legal Missouri 2022, claiming that it would create a monopoly for businesses already operating in the state’s medical cannabis program.
“Without this legislation, our Constitution will be corrupted for profit by the ballot initiative Legal Missouri 2022,” Thompson said. “This is the same group that designed the broken medical marijuana program, and they want to write another violent and subversive business monopoly into our state Constitution. I say monopoly because this initiative eliminates nearly all competition through constitutionally protected license caps.”
Missouri’s legislative session ends May 13.