Missouri cannabis lobbyists fight to get legalization initiative on the November ballot

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Of the 11 U.S. states that have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes, Missouri is not one of them. However, if cannabis lobbyists are successful in their efforts to get a legalization initiative featured on the November ballot, things could be about to change in the very near future.

Included in the proposal is draft language pertaining to the advertising, labeling and packaging of adult-use cannabis products. Should the state legalize cannabis for recreational purposes, it will join Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Washington, DC

Missouri isn’t the only state trying to legalize recreational cannabis; advocates in Florida have also been trying to get a similar bill onto the 2020 ballot. “Make It Legal Florida” collected 221,281 signatures as of January 1, 2020.

Even if Missouri voters are not successful in their efforts to legalize recreational cannabis, hope prevails. Based on a recent Marijuana Moment article, states have submitted a proposal that has received an adequate number of signatures. This tells us that federal-level legalization could be on the horizon.

160,000 signatures must be collected for Missouri recreational cannabis measure to appear on ballot

No less than 160,000 signatures must be collected by Missouri cannabis advocates in order to get a recreational cannabis legalization measure on the November ballot. While support for cannabis reform is high, lawmakers are predominantly conservative in the state of Missouri. This could pose a challenge for lobbyists, who may not get enough support from state officials to tip the scales for a legalization measure to be approved.

“There is widespread support among Missouri voters to regulate, tax and legalize cannabis,” said the campaign manager for Missourians for a New Approach, John Payne.

The legal weed initiative that Payne supports would present consumers aged 21 and above with the opportunity to purchase a maximum of one ounce of cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries. In addition to this, home growing to the amount of three plants per household would be permitted.

An excise tax of 50 percent would be imposed on recreational cannabis sales in Missouri, which could bring in plenty of money for the state. Analysts project that legal sales could generate $86 million-$155 million in annual revenue within the next five years.

Medical cannabis in Missouri was legalized in 2018

Recreational cannabis legalization in Missouri would also trigger some changes to the state’s medical cannabis program; medical cannabis in Missouri was legalized in 2018, after voters pushed for lawmakers to enact such a law.

Currently, based on the state’s cannabis laws, patients can grow a maximum of six plants. Moreover, patients who are qualified to enroll in Missouri’s medical cannabis program can purchase a maximum of four ounces of medical cannabis on a monthly basis from state-licensed dispensaries. Tax imposed on medical sales are significantly lower than what they are anticipated to be for recreational sales; four percent.

You can find out more about Missouri’s recreational cannabis proposal by clicking here.