A ballot initiative to fully legalize cannabis in Missouri is attempting to gain traction. A group called Sensible Missouri is currently gathering signatures for the Missouri Cannabis Restoration and Protection Act 2016-013.
The Act, if it became law, would legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use, allow unlimited commercial and recreational cultivation, and even legalize hemp. This far-reaching effort would remove cannabis from Missouri’s list of controlled substances, allowing both marijuana and hemp to be used for a variety of purposes.
This ambitious legislation features no tax on medical marijuana, no special tax on recreational sales (only state and local sales tax would apply), and no licensing fees or registration for personal cultivation. It would also provide amnesty to those convicted of non-violent cannabis-related offenders, including the “immediate expungement of civil and criminal records.” On its website, Sensible Missouri claims that its mission is “Nothing Less Than TOTAL Legalization.”
In an exclusive interview with Whaxy, Brittany Lind, a Sensible Missouri board member, said “No one should be allowed to profit off of the misfortune of the sick and dying.”
To purchase tax-free medical cannabis, patients would be required to obtain a doctor’s recommendation. This is about as strict as this bill gets. It imposes no restrictions on possession or cultivation of cannabis and includes specific language to protect doctors who recommend it. It also in no way restricts the open market from establishing manufacturing facilities, retail stores, and medical dispensaries. The bill does, however, explicitly outlaw the use of Missouri law enforcement resources or state funds to “aid in the enforcement of federal cannabis laws involving acts which are no longer illegal in the State of Missouri under this amendment.”
In its mission statement, the group claims full legalization will help achieve its goal of improving Missouri’s economy and reinvigorate the farming community. But will “total,” almost fully unregulated legal pot be too much for the average voter in Missouri? Will the bill be defeated based on its wide-ranging, aggressive goals and lack of regulation?
Recent polls have shown that the majority of Americans, by very thin margins, support recreational marijuana. Even higher approval ratings have been shown for medical cannabis. Will this initiative’s lack of grow limits and limited tax revenue convince citizens that full legalization, with almost no regulation, is good for the state? With such a Libertarian tone, will adversaries of the bill use old prohibitionist tactics of scaremongering and misinformation to convince voters in The Show Me State to say no to legal cannabis?