ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - PRESS RELEASE - A broad coalition of Missourians, named Missourians for a New Approach, has launched an effort to gather signatures for an initiative petition that would place a question on legalizing adult-use marijuana on the 2020 ballot in Missouri. The effort is being backed by many of the same Missourians and groups that passed a medical marijuana constitutional amendment with 66% in 2018.
“Eleven other states, including our neighbors in Illinois, have successfully regulated and taxed adult-use marijuana, bringing millions in new funding for state services,” said John Payne, campaign manager for Missourians for a New Approach and former campaign manager for New Approach Missouri, which successfully enshrined medical marijuana in the Missouri Constitution in 2018. “Missourians are strongly in favor of legalizing, taxing and regulating adult marijuana use and we are excited to give voters this opportunity in November.”
“I think Missourians are confident in the way the state has managed and regulated the medical marijuana program to this point and want to move sooner rather than later, following in the footsteps of many other states, to legalize the adult use of marijuana,” said Payne.
Some of the key provisions of initiative petition 2020-128, which is the one being circulated by Missourians for a New Approach, include:
- Allowing Missourians 21 years and older the ability to possess marijuana;
- Taxing retail sales of marijuana at 15%, with the funds being split between veterans’ services, Missouri’s roads and bridges, and drug addiction treatment;
- Allowing local communities to opt-out of adult use retail marijuana sales through a vote of the people;
- Allowing Missourians with certain marijuana-related offenses to expunge their criminal record.
The effort is backed by many of the same advocacy and grassroots organizations that supported the passage of Amendment 2, including the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and New Approach PAC.
According to the state's fiscal estimate, the initiative is projected to produce $93 million to $155 million annually to Missouri by 2025, with an additional $17 million to $27 million annually to local governments.
Dan Viets, Missouri State Coordinator for NORML and Board Chair of Missourians for a New Approach, said, “It's time we stop treating adults who use cannabis responsibly like criminals. We should tax and regulate marijuana like we do alcohol."
Earlier this month, Missouri NORML, including all of its local chapters, St. Louis, Kansas City, Mid-Missouri, Springfield, St. Charles, St. Joseph, and Southeast Missouri State University, voted to endorse the passage of the initiative petition.
Thirty-three states, including Missouri, have passed laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Through this ballot initiative effort, Missourians for a New Approach is seeking to make Missouri the twelfth state to legalize adult-use marijuana.
The deadline to submit signatures to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office for the 2020 General Election ballot is May 3, 2020. Constitutional amendments must collect at least 160,199 verified signatures to make the ballot.