A St. Louis man is taking his fight to legalize marijuana to the Missouri Supreme Court next week.
“I’m just a regular guy with a chance to change the world,” Mark Shanklin told 5 on Your Side.
Shanklin was convicted a year ago in St. Louis for growing more than 300 marijuana plants, but he’s challenging the conviction on a constitutional basis, arguing Missouri’s Right to Farm amendment gives him and others the right to grow pot.
The Right to Farm amendment, passed in 2014, states, “That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri's economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri's economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.”
“Under the Right to Farm amendment to the Missouri State Constitution, Mr. Shanklin has the right to grow marijuana because it is a substance that can convey significant benefits,” Shanklin’s attorney Anthony Muhlenkamp told 5 on Your Side in an email.
But, in legal briefs, the state’s attorney general argues pot isn’t agriculture and Shanklin is no farmer.
If he loses this appeal, Shanklin says he’ll have to serve four months in prison and five years probation, but that’s not what worries him the most.
“What bothers me more is the people who really need it not getting it, that real help that it would do that wouldn't happen,” he said.
This isn’t the only effort to legalize marijuana in the state. 5 on Your Side checked with the Secretary of State’s Office and found at least 11 approved petitions to get marijuana on the ballot in 2018.