Voters in Missouri could decide in 2022 whether to legalize marijuana under a plan prefiled this week in the state House of Representatives. The proposal would scrap the state’s existing medical cannabis law and replace it with a simpler system meant to serve both patients and adult consumers.
Republican Rep. Shamed Dogan introduced the joint resolution Tuesday, ahead of the new legislative session set to begin next week. Both the House and Senate would need to approve the legislation for the legalization question to go to voters.
“I believe in free markets,” Dogan told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Tuesday, “and I want to regulate marijuana as closely as possible to the regulations we have on alcohol, tobacco and other products.”
The proposed constitutional amendment, HJR 30, or the Smarter and Safer Missouri Act, would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over and establish a commercial cannabis industry, taxing sales at 12 percent. Unlike legal marijuana programs in most other states, it would require no special licensing “beyond that which is applicable for the cultivating, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, packaging, distributing, transferring, displaying, or possession of any nontoxic food or food product,” according to language of the joint resolution.
Private marijuana cultivation for personal or medical use would also be allowed under the proposal, although the amendment provides no details on whether plant limits or other restrictions would apply.
Advocates attempted to qualify a citizen-initiated legalization measure for last November’s election, but the COVID-19 pandemic scuttled the signature-gathering effort. They’re widely expected to attempt to qualify a 2022 measure that could compete with Dogan’s plan.
Revenue from Dogan’s proposed system would go to a new state fund that would be split among the Missouri Veterans Commission, state infrastructure projects and drug treatment programs.
Courts in the state would be required to