Missouri marijuana legalization initiatives 2022
- Several groups are working to legalize marijuana in Missouri.
- Legal Missouri 2022 is the latest measure to be submitted to officials for approval.
- The Secretary of State’s office has rejected several prior attempts to launch a marijuana legalization petition in Missouri.
- Fair Access Missouri, another group trying to legalize marijuana in Missouri, has spoken out against the proposal offered by Legal Missouri 2022. Details below.
Legal Missouri 2022 submitted the latest Missouri marijuana legalization petition to the secretary of state’s office. The petition language will now go through a review period before potentially being certified. If approved, in order to qualify for the ballot, petitioners will need to collect 171,592 valid signatures from registered Missouri voters.
There is currently a program that gives qualifying patients access to medical marijuana dispensaries in Missouri. The new proposal could increase the number of dispensaries in the state by more than half.
What’s in the Missouri marijuana legalization initiative?
If the marijuana legalization initiative is passed by Missouri voters in 2022, the proposal would allow adults 21 and older to purchase, possess, and even cultivate cannabis for personal use while expunging criminal records for those with low-level marijuana offenses. (The state logged more than 10,000 marijuana possession arrests in 2018 alone.)
Regulators could develop rules and set possession limits, but with a minimum of three ounces of dried marijuana. Home growers would have to register with the state to cultivate marijuana for personal use, and they’d be limited to cultivating six mature and six immature plants, in addition to six clones.
Learn more about growing marijuana at home.
The measure would further build upon the state’s existing medical cannabis program, in part by allowing nurse practitioners to recommend marijuana to patients.
Under the proposal, there would be a six percent tax on marijuana sales. Local municipalities would be able to tack on additional sales tax up to three percent.
Revenue from recreational marijuana taxes in Missouri would help fund automatic expungements for anyone with prior, non-violent cannabis convictions, programs for veterans’ health care, and substance abuse treatment.
The bill will potentially add more than 140 new Missouri marijuana dispensaries
The initiative calls for the creation of a new licensing category set aside for low-income residents, disabled military veterans, and those who live in an area with either high poverty, high unemployment, or marijuana-related imprisonment rates.
The proposal calls for a minimum of 144 licenses in addition to the existing 378 cannabis businesses in the state with 18 (including at least six Missouri dispensaries) to be added in each of the state’s eight congressional districts.
Another new license category allows operators to both cultivate and manufacture cannabis products such as capsules, tinctures, edibles, vape cartridges, topicals, and concentrates.
Individual jurisdictions would be able to opt out of allowing marijuana businesses, but only if voters approve such a ban.
List of Missouri dispensaries
Additional Missouri marijuana legalization initiatives
Missouri has become something of a hub for 2022 legalization efforts, with multiple campaigns working to place reform on the ballot.
Another group, Fair Access Missouri, is exploring multiple similar marijuana legalization initiatives plus one that would only amend the state’s existing medical marijuana program.
Interestingly, Fair Access Missouri claims that the Legal Missouri 2022 initiative is “trying to pull a fast one on voters,” claiming:
“Hidden in the fine print is another shady scheme from the people who gave us our current mess — except this time, they’re trying to give themselves a constitutionally-protected monopoly on a statewide adult-use cannabis market.. We all know Missourians are ready to legalize marijuana. It’s common sense. The question is whether we will have an artificially closed market that can’t be fixed, or whether we will have an open market that empowers consumers and encourages entrepreneurship.”
The activists behind Legal Missouri 2022 are also affiliated with New Approach Missouri, a group that developed the medical cannabis initiative passed by voters in 2018 beating out another similar measure. The organization tried to place the issue of recreational legalization before voters last year, but the COVID-19 pandemic derailed that effort.
The secretary of state’s office has so far rejected most of the proposals including revised versions multiple times. Meanwhile, some Missouri marijuana legalization advocates are pushing lawmakers in the state to reform the state’s cannabis policies.
Missouri medical marijuana
Missouri’s medical marijuana program was approved by voters in 2018. Amendment 2 garnered a respectable 65 percent of Missouri voters.
Missouri medical marijuana doctors may recommend marijuana or cannabis products to treat qualifying conditions including PTSD, seizures, cancer, and epilepsy. Doctors are also able to approve patients for “any other chronic, debilitating or other medical condition.”
According to the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), in addition to the 56,488 Missouri medical marijuana cards issued in 2020, 12,062 were renewed in the past year. Also, the DHSS approved 17 new dispensary facilities, 10 cultivation operations, two testing labs, two transportation centers, and a manufacturing operation this year.