JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri marijuana laws could soon go up in smoke after "Legal Missouri 2022" delivered enough signatures to put recreational marijuana on the ballot this November.
There are more than 181,000 Missourians carrying medical marijuana cards currently.
“There’s certainly a lot more people than that that use marijuana in Missouri on a regular basis and those people shouldn’t be treated as criminals,” said Legal Missouri 2022 campaign manager John Payne. “We want to create a legal framework for them to use, purchase, and cultivate marijuana for their own personal use.”
Legal Missouri 2022 Campaign manager John Payne spoke with 5 On Your Side just minutes after delivering more than 390,000 signatures in support of a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana to Jefferson City.
“I believe it was 731 boxes in total,” said Payne. “It took up two U-Haul trucks.”
If approved by the voters, Missouri’s marijuana program would look similar to what we already see in Illinois, but with one major difference.
“We’re going to have a lower tax rate than Illinois,” said Payne. Taxes on cannabis in Illinois can be upwards of 40%.
Under the Legal Missouri 2022 ballot measure marijuana would be taxed at up to 6% at the state level with local municipalities given the ability to add a 3% tax.
Early estimates project recreational marijuana generating more than $50-million in tax revenue in Year 1.
“We’re going to direct those funds to drug abuse and treatment services, and then also the badly underfunded Missouri Public Defender system, and then Missouri veteran services,” said Payne.
The last part of the ballot measure seeks to expunge all non-violent marijuana offenses aside from DUI and sales to a minor.
“Those people typically don’t go to prison, but they’re still going to have a record from that arrest and that conviction,” said Payne. “This is going to wipe the slate clean for them. Yes, it’s going to let some people out of prison who are serving time for non-violent marijuana offenses.”
The state of Missouri must still validate all 390,000 signatures to verify that they are valid before placing recreational marijuana on the November ballot.