Last Monday, November 21st, 2011 Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan announced that two marijuana initiatives for legalization have been approved for public circulation. Dan Viets, a long time marijuana advocate, filed both the initiatives and also sits as a member of the NORML board of directors. The initiative is being called “Show-Me Cannabis Regulation” in reference to Missouri being known as the “show me” state. Both initiatives are for the most part identical, except that one would amend the state constitution and the other would amend state law.
The initiatives call for marijuana legalization for persons 21 and over, a process for licensing marijuana establishments, and the lifting of criminal justice system sanctions against people imprisoned or under state supervision for non-violent marijuana offenses that would no longer be illegal and the expunging of all criminal records for such offenses. The initiatives would also allow for the use of marijuana for medical reasons by minors and allow the legislature to enact a tax of $100 a pound on retail marijuana sales.
For these to qualify for the November 2012 ballot, the one amending the state constitution must collect signatures equal to 8% of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor’s race from six of the nine congressional districts of Missouri. The one amending state law has the same conditions only it needs just 5% of those votes from those six of nine districts. The deadline for gathering all necessary signatures is May 6th, 2012.
Already we are seeing California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado making the most advanced strides toward legalizing marijuana in their states. Last year we saw California put Proposition 19 on the November ballot in an attempt to make marijuana legal, at least by state law. Obviously the proposition didn’t pass or all us greenies would already be living there but things none the less seem very hopeful especially with all these states pushing legislation to legalize marijuana in their state. Now with the “show me” state showing us their interest in legal pot, maybe we’ll start seeing more states in the eastern half of the U.S start pushing more and more for legalization.
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