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Group Files Papers To Put Marijuana Legalization On Mo. Ballot

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

In 2016, Missouri voters may have the opportunity to vote on the legalization of marijuana. The group Show-Me Cannabis filed an initiative with Missouri’s Secretary of State to include the issue on the ballot.
If Secretary of State Jason Kander approves their initiative, Show-Me Cannabis plans to gather 300,000 signatures of support from 6 out of the 8 congressional districts. They are required to have a minimum of 160,000 registered voters sign their petition.
The organization will go for an amendment to the constitution instead of a proposition. Executive Director John Payne said a proposition can be altered by the legislature if they don’t agree with it.
“We’re going with an amendment that creates a structure for a legal market in cannabis,” he said. “It does allow the legislature to administer the details and have an active role in it, but it prescribes the parameters in which they can act.”
Payne said the organization has to poll voters to determine if they are in favor of full legalization. 
“If that’s not the case, then we’ll consider our options and probably look at doing a very strong medical initiative,” he said. “Hopefully our polling will indicate that we have a very strong shot at winning in 2016 with full legalization.“
Show-Me Cannabis decided to push for legalization in 2016 because it is a presidential election year. Payne said presidential elections have higher voter turnouts.
“In a presidential election you have a higher turnout from younger people among other groups, so that can really help sway the vote totals,” he said. “It can have as much as a six or seven point impact.”
According to Payne, if cannabis is legalized it could benefit Missouri financially. If it is taxed at 25 percent it could result in $217 million of new revenue. Also, law enforcement officers will save time and resources. 

Jessica Penland was an intern reporter for KRCU in 2014.