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Missouri effort launched to put legal marijuana to 2022 vote

December 8, 2021 GMT

The leader of a campaign to legalize marijuana use in Missouri said he is confident the issue will pass if his group gathers enough signatures to put the question on the 2022 election ballot.

A group called Legal Missouri 2022 began an initiative petition effort last week that, if successful, would allow anyone 21 and over to buy, consume, possess or cultivate marijuana for any reason. Currently, the state allows marijuana use only for medical reasons.

John Payne, campaign manager for Legal Missouri 2022, noted the state residents approved the medical marijuana question with nearly 66% of the vote in 2018. He said that makes him confident residents will approve recreational use for adults.

The group has to collect about 170,000 signatures in six of the state’s eight congressional districts to place the question on next year’s ballot, St. Louis Public Radio reported.

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The proposed constitutional amendment would allow localities to place a 3% sales tax on the drug and would levy a 6% tax on retail marijuana sales. After the cost of administering the state’s regulator program is subtracted, the rest of the money would go to public defenders, veterans’ health care and drug addiction programs.

The measure also would create a program to expunge some marijuana-related offenses from people’s records and create a new license for businesses to manufacture such products as edibles, vape cartridges and topicals.