Voters in Missouri could decide on multiple cannabis reform proposals for the state’s 2022 ballot after another citizen-led group filed a new legalization initiative.
Legal Missouri 2022 submitted its adult-use legalization proposal to the secretary of state’s office where it’s currently under review before it can be certified. If approved and the group gathers enough verified signatures, Missouri voters would be asked whether it should be legal for adults 21 and older in the state to purchase, possess and cultivate cannabis for personal use.
If the measure were approved by voters, state officials would be charged with creating a regulator responsible for overseeing the legal marijuana industry. The regulator would set possession and purchase limits with a minimum threshold of three ounces, while adults who want to grow marijuana would have to register with the state and would be limited to six mature and six immature plants.
Further, Legal Missouri 2022’s legalization proposal would institute a six percent tax on cannabis sales alongside an option for local jurisdictions to impose an extra 3 percent tax. Initially, these revenues would be used to facilitate automatic expungement of marijuana-related convictions, with remaining funds set aside for programs such as veterans’ health care, substance misuse treatment and legal aid.
“There’s widespread support among Missouri voters to regulate, tax and legalize marijuana,” said John Payne, Legal Missouri 2022 campaign manager, in a press release. “The status quo has allowed an unsafe, illegal market to thrive in Missouri, while preventing law enforcement from truly prioritizing the fight against violent crime.”
“Now is the time for Missouri to join the 19 other states to have successfully regulated and taxed adult use marijuana, bringing millions in new funding for vital state services,” he added.
Local municipalities could opt out of allowing cannabis businesses from operating in their jurisdiction, but only if such a move is first approved by voters.
The proposal also contains social equity provisions for the establishment of a licensing category for low-income individuals, disabled military veterans and people who live in areas of high unemployment, poverty or cannabis-related imprisonment rates. 144 such licenses would be available, to add to the 378 medical marijuana licenses that have been issued in Missouri.
“To ensure statewide access, 18 of these new businesses will be added in each of the state’s eight congressional districts over time,” a summary of Legal Missouri 2021’s proposal reads. “At least six of those new businesses in each district must operate as dispensaries. The remainder will be designated as wholesale facilities, a new category that allows operators to both cultivate the plant and manufacture cannabis products such as edibles, vape cartridges, topicals and concentrates.”
If given the green light by Missouri’s secretary of state, Legal Missouri 2022 must collect 171,592 signatures from registered voters to qualify for next year’s ballot.
Fair Access Missouri is working on several cannabis-related initiatives for the 2022 ballot but is yet to receive approval for any of them. New Approach Missouri, the group behind the successful 2018 initiative to legalize medical marijuana, canceled its efforts to get an adult-use legalization question on the ballot last year due to the coronavirus outbreak but is working on a similar proposal again this year.
Missouri is far from the only state where residents are busy trying to put a cannabis reform proposal on the 2022 ballot. Legalization ballot measures are in the works nationwide across a further eight states at various stages of the process.