FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sep. 13, 2022 

Marijuana Legalization and Expungement Will Officially Be on Missouri’s November Ballot 

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. _ With all legal challenges from opponents being defeated, Missouri voters will officially have the opportunity to become the 20th state to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana for adults on the November ballot. Out of more than 90 initiative petitions and referendums filed this cycle, the marijuana legalization and expungement campaign is the only effort with enough grassroots support to reach the Missouri ballot. 

Under Amendment 3, hundreds of thousands of Missourians charged 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, a time-consuming and expensive process.

Leaders of the statewide coalition of activists, business owners, medical marijuana patients and criminal justice reform advocates cheered today’s historic accomplishment. 

“We are now one step away from passing Amendment 3, which will bring millions in new revenue to Missouri, while allowing law enforcement to concentrate on fighting violent and serious crime,” said John Payne, LegalMo22 campaign manager. “Amendment 3 not only will make Missouri the 20th state to legalize marijuana, it does it in the right way by automatically expunging the nonviolent criminal records of hundreds of thousands of Missourians.”

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 additional local government revenues of at least $13.8 million, a state auditor’s analysis projects.

Those public dollars, in turn, would cover implementation costs including expungement, with remaining funds allocated to veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment and the state’s severely underfunded public defender system.

The automatic expungement provision does not apply to violent offenders or those whose offenses involved distribution to a minor or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.

“It's time to stop treating adults who use marijuana responsibly like criminals,” said Dan Viets, a Columbia attorney, LegalMo22 advisory board chairman and Missouri coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), whose six chapters across the state helped draft and have endorsed the initiative.

“It's also time to repair the damage marijuana prohibition has done to hundreds of thousands of Missourians' lives by automatically expunging their criminal records."

Others to endorse LegalMo22 include the ACLU of Missouri, the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Empower Missouri, the St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Columbia chapters of the NAACP, and the Reale Justice Network.
 
A copy of the Legal Missouri 2022 petition can be found here. For more information on the adult-use ballot initiative, including details on how to volunteer or donate to the campaign, visit www.legalmo22.com.

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Petition Highlights:

  • 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.
  • Automatically expunges nonviolent marijuana-related criminal records of hundreds of thousands of Missourians. Current Missouri law and most similar programs in other states require those seeking to vacate their convictions to first petition the courts, adding time and expenses.
  • Violent offenders and those whose offenses involved distribution to a minor or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana would be ineligible for expungement.
  •  Allows local communities to opt out of adult use retail marijuana sales through a vote of the people.
  • Strengthen 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.
  • Seeks to broaden participation in the legal cannabis industry by small business owners and among historically disadvantaged populations, including those with limited capital, residents of high-poverty communities, service-disabled veterans and those previously convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses
  • Adds a minimum of 144 of these new small businesses to the existing 378 licensed and certified cannabis businesses in the state.
  • All new license holders will be selected at random, by lottery.
  • 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.