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The Secretary of State for Missouri confirmed that marijuana reform activists have succeeded in qualifying a legalization proposal for the state ballot in November.

County officials previously indicated that the group, Legal Missouri 2022, had come up short on the required number of verified voter signatures in several congressional districts, but Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft (R) has now announced the question will indeed be put to voters at the coming midterm elections.

“I encourage Missourians to study and educate themselves on any ballot initiative,” Ashcroft said in a press statement. “Initiative 2022-059 that voters will see on the November ballot is particularly lengthy and should be given careful consideration.”

Legal Missouri 2022 handed in close to 400,000 signatures for its legalization proposal, with a minimum amount required in at least six of Missouri’s eight congressional districts.

The group’s campaign manager, John Payne, said he had been confident that they had done enough to qualify for the ballot, despite concerns raised by country officials.

“Our statewide coalition of activists, business owners, medical marijuana patients and criminal justice reform advocates has worked tirelessly to reach this point, and deserves all the credit,” Payne said in a press release. “Our campaign volunteers collected 100,000 signatures, on top of paid signature collection. That outpouring of grassroots support among Missourians who want to legalize, tax and regulate cannabis made all the difference.”

Here’s a breakdown of the key provisions in the proposal to reform Missouri’s cannabis laws:

  • Adults 21 and older would be allowed to purchase and possess up to three ounces of marijuana.
  • They would also be allowed to grow up to six flowering cannabis plants, six seedlings and six clones, subject to receiving a registration card from a state agency.
  • Recreational cannabis sales would be taxed at six percent, with a portion of these revenues used to facilitate expungements of non-violent cannabis-related offenses.
  • What remains would fund veterans’ healthcare, Missouri’s public defender system, and substance misuse treatment programs.
  • The Department of Health and Senior services would be charged with regulating the industry and issuing marijuana business licenses.
  • The agency would be required to issue a minimum of 144 microbusiness licenses by way of a lottery process to low-income applicants and those disproportionately affected by cannabis criminalization.
  • Existing medical cannabis dispensaries would also receive priority for recreational cannabis licenses.
  • Advertising restrictions would not be any more stringent than those in place for alcohol.
  • Public cannabis consumption, impaired cannabis driving, and underage cannabis use and possession would remain prohibited.
  • Local jurisdictions would be able to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses from operating in their area, so long as such a move is approved by local residents through a ballot.

According to recent polling on the issue, the measure stands a good chance of success with a strong majority of Missouri voters, including a plurality of Republicans, in favor of the reform.

Legal Missouri 2022’s proposal is one of several cannabis-related initiatives in contention for the ballot in Missouri, but is the only one to have qualified.

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About the Author: Matt Brooks

Matt is a journalist from San Francisco who has specialized in marijuana policy for more than six years.

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