Cannabis Proponents Aim to Put Petition in Front of Citizens
Missouri could be one of the next states to legalize medical marijuana. New Approach Missouri, a group that advocates for cannabis reform, aims to gather the 168,000 signatures needed from six of the eight congressional districts in order to put the decision in voters’ hands. The move would place Missouri among 11 other states considering some type of legalization in 2018.
Cannabis Legalization Effort Already Showing Success
New Approach recently announced they had already obtained 100,000 signatures, and raised $172,000 in the final quarter of 2017. The petition narrowly missed the ballot in 2016 after election officials tossed thousands of the group’s signatures. This year, New Approach is taking steps to ensure the ballot initiative moves forward.
"The issue in 2016 was a byproduct of having a very short window to collect the signatures," said Jack Cardetti, the group's spokesperson, in an interview with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "This year, by starting so much earlier, we'll avoid those problems."
The petition calls for a 4% tax on retail sales, which would go toward veterans health care; estimates predict the proposal would generate $18 million in fees and sales tax each year. Additionally, the state would limit its growing licenses to no more than one for every 100,000 residents, meaning 60 would be available at 2016 population levels.
Missourians Likely to Support Marijuana Initiative
Cardetti added that once the required amount of signatures are collected, the petition should have no problem passing. According to recent research, over 61% of Americans are now in favor of legalizing cannabis. Cardetti adds that states do not have to be blue to pass cannabis reform.
"When you look at the 2016 election results and see that Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota approved this, that makes us confident that if we can get this on the ballot, it'll be approved," he said.