Recreational marijuana use could be on 2018 Missouri ballot

5 months 1 week 6 days ago January 09, 2017 Jan 9, 2017 Monday, January 09 2017 Monday, January 09, 2017 3:21:00 PM CST in News
By: Jacob Kornhauser, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY - For the first time, there is a chance the legalization of recreational marijuana use could find its way on a Missouri statewide ballot in 2018. 

A petition was approved for circulation by the Secretary of State's office, which includes recreational marijuana. In the past, only medical marijuana and decriminalization for recreational marijuana had been considered. 

Initiative 2018-090 lists a "minor" as anyone under the age of 21, meaning 21 would be the legal age to purchase marijuana if it were to become legal. 

It also calls for non-violent marijuana offenders in Missouri to be released and have crimes relating to their marijuana crimes to be wiped from the public record. As currently written, the initiative calls for a 5 percent additional sales tax to be added to marijuana sales, with half those proceeds going to K-12 education and the other half going to the Missouri Veteran Administration. 

To get on the 2018 ballot, this initiative would have to receive signatures amounting to greater than eight percent of the overall gubernatorial vote from the 2016 election in two thirds of Missouri's congressional districts. 

So, six out of eight voting districts would need the eight percent to get it on the ballot. Tim Gilio, who has headed the initiative effort, estimated it would need about 27,000 signatures in six separate districts to get on the ballot. That equates to more than 160,000 overall signatures being needed statewide.

Should the initiative pass, it would become a constitutional amendment. Based on the current wording of the initiative, it would supersede other existing laws and go into place no later than January 31, 2019.  

[Editor's note: story has been updated to clarify the process to get the initiative on the 2018 ballot.]

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