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Legalizing recreational marijuana is on the November ballot for Missouri voters

Rebecca Smith

Voters will decide in November whether recreational marijuana will be legal in Missouri.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft announced Tuesday that the petition submitted to place the initiative on the ballot had been approved. It will be listed as Amendment 3 and would allow Missourians 21 and older to possess, consume, purchase and cultivate marijuana.

In the same announcement, Ashcroft said a petition to place an ranked-choice voting on the ballot did not collect enough signatures.

Legal Missouri 2022, which spent at least $6 million in its campaign, had gathered 400,000 signatures in an effort to qualify for approval. State officials certified that 214,535 signatures across the state's eight congressional districts were valid.

Voters will be asked Nov. 8 not only to allow the legal purchase and consumption of marijuana, but also to allow Missourians convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses to petition for release from incarceration, parole or probation.

It also asks voters to decide whether those convicted could have their records automatically expunged, a reform that, if passed, would make Missouri the first state where voters took such a step, according to Legal Missouri.

Current Missouri law requires those seeking to vacate their convictions to petition the courts.

Marijuana sales would be taxed by the state at 6%, which is estimated to generate an annual revenue of $40.8 million. An optional local sales tax of up to 3% would provide an additional $13.8 million to local governments.

According to Legal Missouri, medical marijuana sales now average $30 million a month.

A medical marijuana initiative was passed four years ago in Missouri, and the state now has 378 licensed cannabis businesses in the state.

The Columbia Missourian is a community news organization managed by professional editors and staffed by Missouri School of Journalism students who do the reporting, design, copy editing, information graphics, photography and multimedia.