Missouri voters to decide on marijuana this November

Five measures will be on the Missouri ballot on November 8. One ballot measure, Amendment 3, would legalize the sale, possession, and use of marijuana in Missouri. 

Amendment 3 would also provide for individuals with certain marijuana-related offenses to petition for release from prison or parole and probation and have their records expunged. It also would enact a 6% tax on the sale of marijuana.

Amendment 3 is one of five marijuana measures on the ballot nationwide this November. Marijuana legalization will also be on the ballot in Arkansas, Maryland, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

As of 2022, 19 states, along with Washington, D.C., had legalized the possession and personal use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Eleven states and Washington D.C. have used the ballot initiative process to legalize marijuana, while in seven states, bills to legalize marijuana were enacted into law. In one state, New Jersey, the legislature referred a measure to the ballot for voter approval.

Polling on Missouri’s Amendment 3, done by Emerson College Polling/The Hill from September 23 to September 27, showed that 48% of likely voters surveyed supported the measure, while 35% of likely voters surveyed opposed the measure (with 17% undecided). 

The Kansas City Star Editorial Board endorsed Amendment 3, writing, “It’s been four years since almost 66% of Missouri voters approved medical marijuana. If state lawmakers wanted legal recreational pot in Missouri, as some have argued, we would have it. So let the people decide. In our view, the benefits of recreational cannabis outweigh some of the technical issues raised by critics.”

Supporters of Amendment 3 include the ACLU of Missouri, the Missouri AFL-CIO, NORML KC, and the St. Louis City branch of the NAACP. Erik Altieri, the executive director of NORML, said that the majority of Missouri residents want to end the prohibition on marijuana. “Recent polling reveals that a majority of Missouri residents are ready and eager to end their state’s failed marijuana prohibition,” said Altieri, “That is because Missourians, like the overwhelming majority of all Americans, recognize that prohibition is a disastrous and draconian practice best cast into the waste bin of history.”

Opponents of Amendment 3 include Gov. Mike Parson (R), the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the Missouri Catholic Conference, and the Missouri Constitutional Conservatives PAC. “Amendment 3 says a court cannot prohibit a person on bond, probation, or parole from continuing to use marijuana,” said the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys in a statement, “Further, in less serious cases involving medical marijuana users, if sentenced to participate in one of Missouri’s treatment courts, Amendment 3 attempts to require courts to allow defendants to continue to get high on marijuana regardless of the circumstances or their addiction. This is a threat to the safety of our communities and kids.”

The Missouri NAACP, breaking with the St. Louis City and St. Louis County chapters, also opposes Amendment 3, saying that the measure “does not increase the number of available full market licenses,” and that “the expungement program is dependent on legislative authorization funding and so doesn’t actually exist.” 

Voters will decide on Amendment 3 on November 8, 2022. Amendment 3 needs a simple majority vote to be ratified.

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