Show-Me Cannabis looking to legalize pot in 2016
COLUMBIA - Show-Me Cannabis has proposed a bill to the Missouri Secretary of State's Office in hopes of legalizing marijuana in the 2016 election.
Show-Me Cannabis Chairman Dan Viets said its goal is to legalize the drug the same way alcohol is today.
If passed, cannabis would be legal in Missouri for people over the age of 21.
Viets said the group will need 165,000 valid signatures for the issue to be put on the ballot, but he doesn't see that being a problem.
His purpose is something he said is often misconstrued.
"Our purpose is not to increase marijuana use, and it's very important to understand that in the 10 states that decriminalized marijuana in the 1970's, there has been no greater use of marijuana," Viets said.
He also said in addition to marijuana simply being legal for users, there's an economic benefit.
"We are proposing that that money be used to support drug counseling and treatment, to support fireman and police officers' pension, to support veterans' benefits and to support many other worthy causes that need that money," Viets said.
But some say legalization isn't going to completely solve the issue of people choosing to buy marijuana tax-free.
"There is still going to be illegal selling of marijuana when it does get legalized because everybody is going to be upset about the taxes," Columbia resident Jonathon Smith said.
For Dr. Jack Bragg, the issue is medical.
"Anything that you inhale into your lungs that isn't oxygen or medicine isn't good for your lungs. So, I'm reluctant to see that approved," Bragg said.
The political action committee sent the bill the first day it was eligible for the 2016 ballot. Viets said he used language from states like Colorado and others that have legalized the drug.