Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, a Columbia-based coalition of drug law reform groups, has gained approval from Secretary of State Robin Carnahan to begin circulating a petition to legalize cannabis in the state of Missouri. The official proposal can be seen here. If successful, the proposal, which lists the change of statutes, would make cannabis usage legal for all state residents over the age of 21. The law also allows for persons under the age of 21 to use cannabis for medical purposes under the supervision of a licensed physician and with the consent of a guardian. Missouri’s General Assembly would be capable of taxing up to $100 per pound of dried cannabis. On top of this, anyone currently imprisoned or on probation for non-violent, cannabis-related offenses would be released upon its passage.
The law explicitly acknowledges that its passage would not protect anyone who has been operating a vehicle impaired or selling cannabis to minors, nor would it protect workers who are fired for impairment while on the job. It does, however, allow for personal not-for-resale cultivation in a 10×10 area, distributing and selling from a licensed cannabis establishment, and leasing property to any adult lawfully possessing or using cannabis. The Department of Health and Senior Services would be given a deadline of February 1, 2013 to set up a license and fee system for cannabis establishments and would be barred from requiring any personal information from customers other than a photo I.D. for age verification.
The initiative would amend the Missouri Constitution to reflect these changes if passed. Signatures must be obtained from 8 percent of registered voters who participated in the 2008 gubernatorial election in six of the nine Missouri congressional districts. The deadline for collecting signatures is May 1, 2012. If these signatures can be attained, the issue will appear on the ballot for November 2012.
If anyone in the Columbia area is interested in helping gather signatures for this petition, MU NORML will be holding a training session for signature gathering at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 16 in Middlebush 133 on Mizzou’s campus. It’s important to note that you must be certified and have an official petition form when gathering signatures. If you cannot make it to the meeting but would like to know more about how to help out, please register as a volunteer with Show Me Cannabis Reform.