Missouri Marijuana Petitions Advance

Secretary of State Jason Kander announced this morning that a pair of initiative petitions seeking to legalize marijuana sales and use in Missouri had met state standards for circulation.

The measures, if approved by voters in 2018, would amend the state constitution to legalize marijuana for personal, medical, and commercial purposes for those 21 and older, and allow use for medical purposes for those under 21 who have a physician’s written recommendation and parental or legal guardian supervision.

In addition, all state inmates with nonviolent, marijuana-related offenses would be released from incarceration and records of their offenses expunged. On the retail-sales side, a 5 percent marijuana tax would be imposed. A news release announcing the petition status said that proposal could potentially increase annual state tax revenues by $17 million, with additional estimated annual state savings of $11 million.

The petitions, which would amend Article IV of the Missouri constitution, were submitted by Timothy Gilio of Lee’s Summit. Before any constitutional changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November 2018 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to 8 percent of the total votes cast in the 2016 governor’s election from six of the state’s eight congressional districts. 

Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2018 ballot are due to the secretary of state’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 6, 2018. 

Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the secretary of state and attorney general. The secretary of state then prepares a summary statement of no more than 100 words, and the state auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the attorney general. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.