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Advocacy

Cannabis Legalization in Missouri

Legalization of Adult Cannabis Use in Missouri has been added to the November ticket. PreventEd believes substance misuse should be addressed as a public health concern. Responding through the criminal justice system does not provide equitable opportunities for evidence-based treatments and recovery in a behavioral health setting.  Additionally, PreventEd objects to the commercialization of cannabis because, as seen with alcohol and nicotine, commercially profiting from addictive substances provides powerful incentives for industry to expand markets to vulnerable populations, including young children, with advertising messages and images designed to encourage experimentation and the development of substance use disorders.

Explore the tabs below for more information on this ballot measure.

Where can the full ballot language be found?

What is the vote?

The initiative is to approve Adult Use Cannabis through a constitutional amendment. If approved, it can only be changed or repealed by another statewide vote. Because changing the constitution is a difficult process, it may be hard to modify the adult use cannabis program once it’s approved. The amendment allows the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services regulatory oversight how the program is administered.

What would the vote change?

  • Legalize recreational adult use cannabis: The amendment would remove the state’s ban on cannabis sales, consumption and manufacturing for people who are 21 years of age or older. Medical cannabis was legalized in 2018, but this measure would allow for anyone of age to use the substance.
  • Expungement for people with cannabis charges: The initiative also includes automatic expungement for many people who have nonviolent cannabis-related crimes on their record. This means if someone does have a nonviolent cannabis charge, they won’t have to petition for their crimes to be expunged, they’ll ideally just be removed from their record. People who are currently incarcerated for a nonviolent marijuana offense will be able to petition for release and expungement of all government records.
  • State and local government cannabis taxes: The state would be able to impose a 6% tax on the retail price of cannabis, and local governments can additionally tax the sale of cannabis up to 3%. On the state level, those taxes can rake in at least $40.8 million in revenue a year, and local governments could see upwards of $13.8 million in revenue a year. Tax revenue is specified to support the cannabis program in Missouri and any remaining funds to be split evenly between the Missouri Veterans Commission, Substance Use Treatment and Prevention efforts, and the Missouri Public Defender System.
  • Create a licensing process: The amendment would establish the rules around who can get a license to sell cannabis as part of the state’s recreational program. Those who currently have a license to sell medical cannabis would have a right to get a recreational license too. Beyond that, the amendment would create a “micro-licensing” program for people and businesses to apply for. Those would be granted through a lottery process, and there are only a certain number of licenses available in each congressional district.
  • An expanded medical cannabis industry: Medical cannabis was legalized in Missouri in 2018 by nearly two-thirds of voters. This amendment will lengthen the amount of time that medical cannabis cards issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services are good for from one to three years. The same would be true for patient cultivation cards, which allow patients to grow their own cannabis at home. The amendment would also allow nurse practitioners and physicians to certify people for the medical cannabis program. There would also be added protections for patients who use medical cannabis but are concerned about keeping their job or custody of their kids. If this amendment is added to the state’s constitution, having a medical cannabis card cannot be used against patients.
  • Allow people to grow their own cannabis plants: Recreational cannabis users would be able to register for a cultivation card, which would allow them to grow up to three cannabis plants in their private residence. Currently, medical cannabis patients can cultivate their own cannabis if they have a cultivation card issued by the state. Those cards are valid for a year at a time, but if the petition passes they would be valid for three years. The cost of cultivation cards would be reduced to $50.

Related Resource

advocacy

Cannabis Position Statement

One of PreventEd’s top legislative priorities is ensuring that Amendment 2, Missouri’s medical marijuana program, is implemented in a way that promotes transparency, legitimacy, and the public health.

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