Oct. 13, 2022

Kansas City Star Endorses Amendment 3, Citing Critical Progress Towards Criminal Justice Reform 

One of Missouri’s Largest Newspapers Asks Voters to Support Marijuana Legalization and Expungement Campaign

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – One of Missouri’s largest newspaper, the Kansas City Star, has endorsed Amendment 3 and asks voters to support the marijuana legalization and expungement campaign.

In its editorial endorsement the Kansas City Star said, “… Amendment 3 would represent progress in our state toward criminal justice reform. Black, Hispanic and other people of color have always borne the brunt of America’s war on drugs.

The endorsement also stated, “Full legalization in Missouri has been a long time coming. In 2018, 65.6% of Missouri voters amended the state constitution to legalize marijuana use for medicinal purposes… Amendment 3 expands on that, allowing adults over 21 to legally use, possess or sell up to 3 ounces of the drug.”

Under Amendment 3, tens of thousands of Missourians with nonviolent marijuana offenses would have their records automatically expunged ─ a critical criminal justice reform that if passed, would make Missouri the first state where voters took such a step.

Current Missouri law and most similar programs in other states require those seeking to vacate their convictions to first petition the courts, an expensive and time-consuming process.

The proposed constitutional amendment would allow Missourians ages 21 and older to possess, consume, purchase, and cultivate marijuana. A 6 percent retail sales tax would generate estimated annual revenue of at least $40.8 million (and likely much higher) and additional local government revenues of at least $13.8 million, a state fiscal analysis projects. 

That money, in turn, would cover program costs including expungement, with remaining funds reserved for veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment and the state’s severely underfunded public defender system.

“As the Kansas City Star endorsement of Amendment 3 points out, lawmakers have failed to make Missouri the 20th state to legalize marijuana and now it’s time for Missouri voters to take matters into our own hands,” said John Payne, Legal Missouri 2022 campaign manager. “Amendment 3 will allow law enforcement to concentrate on fighting violent and serious crime, while bringing millions of revenue and economic activity to the Show-Me-State.” 

Additional Highlights of Amendment 3:

  • Allows Missourians 21 years and older to possess, purchase, consume and cultivate marijuana.
  • Levies state taxes of 6 percent on retail sales of marijuana. New revenue funds regulatory program and costs to process automatic expungements, with the surplus split equally among veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment, and Missouri’s underfunded public defender system.
  • Allows local governments to assess local sales taxes of up to 3 percent.
  •  Allows local communities to opt out of adult use retail marijuana sales through a vote of the people. 
  •  Strengthens Missouri’s medical marijuana program. The petition extends the amount of time that medical marijuana patient and caregiver ID cards are valid from one to three years while keeping that cost low ($25). And the current $100 fee for Missourians who choose to grow medical marijuana at home will be reduced by half, with the expiration period also extended from one to three years.
  • Provides employment discrimination protection for medical patients, preventing them from being denied employment or being disciplined or fired for off-the-job medical marijuana use.
  • Adds nurse practitioners to the category of healthcare professionals who can issue medical cannabis recommendations to patients.

Paid for by Legal Missouri 2022, Paul Bocci, Treasurer.