The Campaign Would be First in the Nation to Automatically Expunge Criminal Records Through a Vote of the People

Jefferson City, Mo. – This week a new series of digital ads will begin blanketing digital channels across Missouri in support of Amendment 3, the ballot initiative to legalize adult-use marijuana. The first 15-second ad, titled “Too Many”, highlights the fact that tens of thousands of Missouri residents are saddled with minor convictions for non-violent marijuana offenses. These convictions follow them throughout their lives and careers.

“Too Many” Digital Ad

“This law would be the first of its kind in the nation, because it will be the first citizens’ initiative to automatically expunge the criminal records for these individuals,” said John Payne, Legal Missouri 2022 campaign manager. “Unlike other states where you have to spend a lot of time and money petitioning to get your record cleared, here in Missouri it would be automatically expunged and fully funded by a cannabis sales tax.”

The digital ads focus on fairness to citizens, funding for Missouri veterans, and support for law enforcement. If passed, the law would allow already stretched police departments to focus their efforts on combating serious and violent crime.

“Our Turn” Digital Ad

19 other states have legalized marijuana. This new series of ads aim to strengthen enthusiasm and voter turnout efforts on November 8.

“Missouri voters are overwhelming in favor of legalizing marijuana and that is why it’s on the ballot this fall,” said Payne. “We are excited to show Missourians all the ways this could move our state forward in safety, fairness and a way to help our veterans that has never been there before.”

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.

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.

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