Cannabis Legalization in Missouri: Three on the Ballot Tree
Updated: Jan 14, 2019
In 2016, New Approach Missouri, the leading campaign to legalize medical marijuana failed to obtain enough signatures to make the ballot by as few as 23 signatures. This year, things are looking up. New Approach Missouri successfully secured a spot on the November 2018 ballot; however, it’s going to share the cannabis spotlight with two other medical marijuana ballot initiatives. Missouri voters have three options to legalize medical marijuana during November’s election: two constitutional amendments and one statutory amendment. The three measures were among the five initiatives certified by Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. This opens the door for some potential complications though; if all three pass, constitutional amendments take precedence over state law, and whichever amendment receives the most votes would overrule the other. The three measures are as follows:
NEW APPROACH MISSOURI: Constitutional Amendment 2
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes under state laws. Amendment 2 creates regulations and licensing procedures for medical marijuana and medical marijuana facilities – dispensary, cultivation, testing and cannabis-infused product manufacturing facilities. Specifically, Measure 2 would:
Allow the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and create regulations, licensing and certifications procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities.
Impose a 4% tax on the retail sale of medical cannabis.
Use funds from the tax revenue generated for health and care services for military veterans by the Missouri Veterans Commission and to administer the program to license, certify and regulate cannabis and cannabis facilities.
Permit no less than 24 dispensaries in each congressional district, based on 2018 boundaries.
Only New Approach Missouri Measure 2 would allow for registered medical marijuana patients in Missouri to cultivate up to six (6) plants at home. 10 qualifying medical conditions, ranging from cancer to PTSD, would be covered by Measure 2 with a possession limit of up to four ounces of dried marijuana. Measure 2 is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $18 million for state operating costs and veterans’ programs, and $6 million for local governments. Annual state operating costs are estimated to be $7 million. The full initiative may be found here.
FIND THE CURES: Constitutional Amendment 3
Amendment 3 would create a Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute (BRDDI), a new government institution that would be tasked with finding cures for diseases and generate income for the state from cures developed. A “yes” vote makes Brad Bradshaw, an attorney, physician and leader of the Find The Cure initiative, the research chairperson of a newly created research institute that is funded by fees and taxes on medical marijuana. Specifically, Measure 3 would:
Allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes and create regulations and licensing procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities.
Impose a 15% tax on the retail sale of cannabis, and a tax on the wholesale of cannabis flowers and leave per dry-weight ounce to licensed facilities.
Use funds from the tax revenue generated to establish and fund a state research institute to conduct research with the purpose of developing cures and treatments for cancer and other incurable diseases or medical conditions.
Permit no less than 2 dispensaries per 20,000 residents in counties and cities.
This proposal is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $66 million. State governmental entities estimate initial implementation costs of $186,000 and increased annual operating costs of $500,000. The full initiative may be found here.
MISSOURIANS FOR PATIENT CARE: Statute Proposition C
Proposition C would amend Missouri statute to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes under state laws. This amendment creates regulations and licensing procedures for medical marijuana and medical marijuana facilities – dispensary, cultivation and production, and testing facilities. Specifically, Proposition C would:
Remove state prohibitions on personal use and possession of medical cannabis with a written certification by a licensed physician who treats a patient diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition.
Remove state prohibitions on growth, possession, production and sale of medical marijuana by licensed and regulated facilities, and a facility’s licensed owners and employees.
Impose a 2% tax on the retail sale of medical cannabis
Use funds from this tax for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and for public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility.
State government entities estimate initial and one-time costs of $2.6million, annual costs of $10 million, and annual revenues of atleast $10 million. Local government entities estimate no annual costs and are expected to have at least $152,000 in annual revenues. The full initiative may be found here.
November 6, 2018 Election:
Missouri’s Democratic Sen. Clair McCaskill, who’s up for reelection, has endorsed New Approach Missouri Amendment 2, as well as NORML, who also endorsed Amendment 2. NORML believes that Amendment 2 is written in a manner that best provides for the needs of patients and their physicians and is the measure likely to withstand scrutiny from lawmakers.
If either of the constitutional amendments pass, it will trump the statutory amendment, and if both constitutional amendments pass, the one with the most “yes” votes will win. According to MJBizDaily, there is a strong support for medical marijuana in Missouri, with 54% of voters support legalization and only 38% of voters oppose. If passed by voters this fall, Missouri would become the 32nd state to legalize and regulate medical marijuana. Missouri’s election begins Tuesday, November 6, 2018. If you are not registered to vote, you may do so here.