A recent poll has revealed that more than half of Missouri voters support adult-use cannabis legalization as activists work to place an adult-use measure on the state’s 2022 ballot.
The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, surveyed 1,782 registered voters between May 11 and May 15, according to a Riverfront Times report, and asked: “Should the use of marijuana for recreational use remain against the law in Missouri? Or be legalized?”
Sixty-two percent of respondents said adult-use cannabis should be legalized, the news outlet reported; 71% of those in favor are ages 18 to 49, while 59% are ages 50 to 64.
Only 46% of respondents over the age of 65 said they support legalization, according to the Riverfront Times, but only 35% of that demographic said that adult-use cannabis should remain illegal; 18% answered that they were undecided.
Forty-nine percent of those in favor of legalization were Republicans, while 79% were Democrats and 66% were Independents, the Riverfront Times reported.
The poll comes as an adult-use cannabis legalization measure, supported by Legal Missouri 2022, is likely to land on the ballot in November.
The group submitted more than 385,000 signatures—more than twice the required number of roughly 171,500 signatures—to the Missouri Secretary of State May 8.
The Secretary of State’s Office must now validate roughly 45% of the submitted signatures before Legal Missouri 2022 can receive final approval for the ballot.
The group’s measure would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older; allow those convicted of nonviolent cannabis-related offenses to petition to be released from incarcerations and/or have their records automatically expunged; establish a lottery to award business licenses, which would be distributed equally to Missouri’s congressional districts; require a registration card for personal cultivation; and impose a 6% tax on cannabis sales, among other provisions.
“This widespread and enthusiastic show of support from the people of Missouri exceeds our expectations,” said Legal Missouri 2022 Campaign Manager John Payne. “We look forward to the timely review and certification of our petition by the Secretary of State’s Office as we continue to educate and inform voters in the coming weeks and months.”
Still, others have expressed opposition to the group’s proposal; when Missouri State Rep. Ron Hicks, R-St. Charles County, presented his adult-use cannabis legalization bill, the Cannabis Freedom Act, before the House Public Safety Committee in March, Christina Thompson, from the advocacy group ShowMe Canna-Freedom, claimed the ballot initiative would create a monopoly for the state’s existing medical cannabis operators.
“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.”
Hicks’ legislation would have allowed for a free market with no adult-use cannabis licensing caps, but that approach ultimately kept the bill from advancing during this year’s legislative session.