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Missouri voters approve legalizing recreational marijuana

The words "Constitutional Amendment No. 3" standout from a yellow sample ballot.
Rebecca Smith

Missouri’s Amendment 3 has successfully passed in Missouri.

Individuals 21 years of age or older will be able to possess up to three ounces of recreational marijuana in the state.

Lance Lenau, secretary of the Missouri National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the amendment goes into effect on Dec. 8. “Individuals that are 21 or older will be able to possess marijuana no matter what,” Lenau said. “Even if they didn’t get it from a dispensary, they will still be able to possess it.”

Medical marijuana businesses are able to request to expand their licenses immediately. If they’re not approved by the state within 60 days, they will automatically be approved and may begin recreational sales.

The amendment also allows for new marijuana businesses to enter the industry and join those already involved in marijuana sales.

Nevil Patel is the CEO of Shangri-La, a medical marijuana dispensary with locations in Columbia and Jefferson City. He said the new licenses will go to new businesses that might have not been able to enter the industry before.

“Those new licenses will mostly go towards those individuals,” he said. “And it'll be a lottery. So, pure luck once you have submitted an application.”

Additionally, Amendment 3 will expunge the criminal history of those who have nonviolent marijuana-related offenses on their record for anyone that is no longer incarcerated, on parole or probation.

Dan Viets is a Columbia lawyer who has worked for decades on the legalization of marijuana with the advocacy group, NORML.

He said the amendment will expunge hundreds of thousands of criminal records that are like a weight being carried by many Missourians. "The courts would be bound to implement the expungement," Viets said. "Supreme Court already estimated that might cost 6 to 7 million to do that over a year's time, but amendment 3 would generate at least $40 million each year."

This article has been corrected to include the correct spelling for Lance Lenau.

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