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Initiative petition seeks to put question of recreational marijuana on November ballot

In November 2018, Missourians approved the use of medical marijuana with the passage of Amendment 2. In May 2019, in a 66-47 bipartisan vote, the Illinois legislature legalized recreational use of marijuana by adults age 21 and older. So, it’s not surprising that a coalition of Missourians, many of whom served as catalysts for the passage of medical marijuana, are striving to get a question on legalizing adult-use [recreational] marijuana on Missouri’s general election ballot in November.

Missourians for a New Approach has launched an initiative petition in an effort to gather the minimum 160,199 verified signatures to put the question on the ballot. 

John Payne, campaign manager for Missourians for a New Approach, draws a correlation between legalization and increased revenue for state services, including those for veterans, roads and bridges, and drug addiction treatment. 

“Eleven other states, including our neighbors in Illinois, have successfully regulated and taxed adult-use marijuana, bringing millions in new funding for state services,” Payne said in a press release announcing the initiative petition. “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.”

Payne was the former campaign manager for New Approach Missouri, which was the leading force behind Amendment 2. 

Some of the key provisions of the initiative petition 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 and New Approach PAC.

According to Missourians for a New Approach, the state’s fiscal estimate projects the initiative’s tax revenue at $93 million to $155 million annually to Missouri by 2025, with an additional $17 million to $27 million annually to local governments.

Thirty-three states, including Missouri, have passed laws legalizing marijuana in some form. Eleven states have legalized 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. 

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