Missouri likely to become latest state to legalize recreational marijuana

Missouri will likely become the latest state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Matthew Brodeur

Legal Missouri 2022 claimed victory for Amendment 3 around 11:30 p.m., but the race has not officially been called yet by the Associated Press. With 99% precincts, the amendment passed with 53% of the vote.

The amendment to the Missouri Constitution legalizes the purchase, possession, consumption, use, delivery, manufacture, and sale of marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of 21. It would allow for personal possession up to three ounces.

It prohibits marijuana facilities from selling cannabis-infused products shaped or packaged as candy that may be attractive to children.

The amendment also allows individuals with certain marijuana-related offenses to petition for release from prison or parole and probation and have their records expunged.

A 6% tax on the retail price will be enacted.

Across the state, various groups have shown support and opposition.

Legal Missouri 2022, the campaign registered in support of Amendment 3, raised $5.6 million. The top donors to the PAC were New Approach Advocacy Fund, BD Health Ventures LLC, Good Day Farm Missouri LLC, New Growth Horizon LLC, Green Four Ventures LLC and Organic Remedies MO Inc.

Missouri NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) has six chapters across the state that have each endorsed the passage of Amendment 3.

Mid-Missouri NORML, central Missouri’s chapter, hosted an election night watch party at the Grand Cru restaurant in Columbia Tuesday night.

Dan Viets is a local attorney who’s secretary of NORML at the national level and vice president of the Mid-Missouri NORML chapter. KOMU 8 News spoke to him Tuesday ahead of results about his 50 years in the organization and about what the amendment will mean for Missouri.

Viets said the legalization of marijuana will stop criminalization of “victimless crimes.”

“What’s important is that we stop arresting more than 20,000 of our fellow citizens every year, for victimless behavior,” Viets said. “Marijuana does not need to be treated like a crime. People who use marijuana responsibly should not be treated like criminals. Specifically that our law enforcement officers can spend less time on pointless marijuana investigations and more time investigating violent crime and other types of serious crime.”

Viets said within a year, all past misdemeanors and many felony offenses will be expunged from public records.

But Missouri NAACP President Nimrod Chapel Jr. says Amendment 3 is the “quintessential bait and switch.”

“It says we’re going to expunge criminal records, but it’s got no mechanism to actually make that happen,” Chapel said.

Chapel said because the legislature still has to act to make those expungements happen, they cannot be automatic. He said the bill was worded to make it sound like the expungements are a guarantee while they are not.

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