Missouri Cannabis Advocates Gear Up to Put Recreational Marijuana Initiative on 2020 Ballot

While Missouri state officials work to launch the state’s medical marijuana program, advocates are rallying for a possible recreational cannabis vote in 2020.

Missouri cannabis advocates do not seem to be resting on their laurels. As Missouri state officials continue to work towards the official launch of the state’s medical marijuana program, advocates look towards a recreational cannabis ballot initiative in 2020.

John Payne, campaign manager of the effort to approve medical marijuana in Missouri, revealed that two groups of adult-use cannabis advocates may be soon joining forces.

“Missourians for a New Approach, in collaboration with New Approach PAC, is exploring the initiative petition process right now to determine the feasibility of allowing Missourians to vote on this important issue this year,” Payne told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

New Approach PAC, a national funding source for cannabis reform campaigns, accepted a $67,000 donation from a group by the same name, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Missourians for a New Approach have filed three proposed constitutional amendments that were certified by the Secretary of State last month.

All three amendments have similar wording and include:

  • Legalizing the possession of up to one ounce of cannabis by residents 21 years of age and older for recreational use.
  • Making the cultivation of up to three personal cannabis plants legal.
  • Enforcing a 15 percent sales tax on cannabis funding veterans’ services, state highways, and drug addiction treatment.
  • Allowing individuals with certain marijuana-related convictions to apply for an expungement of records or a reduced sentence.

Fiscal estimates associated with the ballot petition indicate annual revenues from $93 million to $155 million by 2025. In order to gain a spot on the November ballot, advocates of the proposed cannabis initiatives would need approximately 160,000 signatures by mid-May.

In 2018, Missouri voters approved a ballot measure, Amendment 2, to legalize access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is still in the process of launching the state’s medical cannabis program and began announcing winners of dispensary licenses Thursday.

“There is widespread support among Missouri voters to regulate, tax and legalize marijuana,” Payne told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “The status quo has allowed an unsafe and unregulated black market to thrive in Missouri, while wasting law enforcement resources that would be better spent fighting serious and violent crimes.”

On Jan. 1, Missouri’s eastern neighbor Illinois launched its recreational marijuana market, generating $3.2 million in first-day sales.

Marijuana in Missouri

Missouri voters approved Amendment 2 in Nov. 2018 with 65.5 percent of the vote. The amendment allows qualified patients with physician approval to legally purchase up to four ounces of medical marijuana from dispensaries each month and to grow up to six cannabis plants for personal use.

The Missouri cannabis law applies a 4 percent retail tax on medical cannabis sales, generating revenue to cover costs related to implementation and regulation, as well as services for military veterans. To read up on Missouri’s current cannabis laws, visit our Missouri Marijuana Laws education page.

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