The U.S. elections are getting closer and the measure to legalize marijuana approved for the November ballot in Missouri concerns certain lawmakers.
The Legal Missouri 2022 campaign, issued through a certificate of sufficiency by Missouri's Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, has divided lawmakers on recreational marijuana policy in the state.
Missouri State Senator Cindy O'Laughlin, who does not support the measure, said she is concerned about how legalization could affect the state's future: "when we passed the medical marijuana, we had a lot of people who came in and testified that it could be used for medicinal purposes (...) I think that has kind of expanded a little bit beyond what it should have and I see no reason to add recreational marijuana to our current culture," said O'Laughlin.
Despite Being Divided On Marijuana Policy, Democrats Expect An Increase In Participation From The Campaign. Rep. Crystal Quade, the Democratic leader in the Missouri House, said that the cannabis proposal will bring out younger voters. "Traditionally, younger voters tend to vote Democratic, so that is looking like good news for us,” said Quade.
What Does The Initiative Say?
According to the proposed amendment, Missourians over 21 will be permitted to possess, consume, purchase and cultivate marijuana. A six percent sales tax would be put on the products, which could generate up to an estimated $40 million. That revenue would go to expungement costs, veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment, and the public defender system.
In addition, the measure would allow adults to possess up to three ounces, purchase from licensed retailers, and home-grow up to six flowering plants, six immature plants, and six clones.
Moreover, it would establish a program to automatically review and expunge those with criminal records for non-violent marijuana-related marijuana offenses.
Nevertheless, if the initiative passes in November, businesses could start selling cannabis legally starting on December 8. Missouri would set a precedent as the first state where voters initiated the automatic expungement of prior marijuana convictions.
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