Legality of Cannabis by U.S. Jurisdiction

Constitutional Amendment 3
Marijuana Legalization Initiative
Votes %
Yes 1,092,432 53.10%
No 965,020 46.90%
Total votes 2,057,452 100.00%

Source: Missouri Secretary of State[1]

2022 Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3, also known as the Marijuana Legalization Initiative, was a ballot measure to amend the Constitution of Missouri to legalize cannabis at the state level in Missouri. The measure was on the November 7, 2022, general ballot and was approved by voters with a margin of 53–47 percent.


The amendment appeared on the ballot as follows:[2]

Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to:

  • remove state prohibitions on purchasing, possessing, consuming, using, delivering, manufacturing, and selling marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of twenty-one;
  • require a registration card for personal cultivation with prescribed limits;
  • allow persons with certain marijuana-related non-violent offenses to petition for release from incarceration or parole and probation and have records expunged;
  • establish a lottery selection process to award licenses and certificates;
  • issue equally distributed licenses to each congressional district;
  • and impose a six percent tax on the retail price of marijuana to benefit various programs?

State governmental entities estimate initial costs of $3.1 million, initial revenues of at least $7.9 million, annual costs of $5.5 million, and annual revenues of at least $40.8 million. Local governments are estimated to have annual costs of at least $35,000 and annual revenues of at least $13.8 million.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is directed to conduct cannabis licensing and regulation.[3]

The provisions of the amendment would officially go into effect on December 8, 2022.[4]


There has been opposition to the scheme's licensing caps giving an advantage to existing medical dispensary license holders due to existing medical license holders being first in line for recreational licenses, raising questions about "fairness and equity".[5][6] A competing bill without caps was introduced in the state legislature. It failed after it was amended with two provisions labeled "poison pills", including licensing caps.[7] There has also been opposition due to there not being an automatic expungement of criminal records.[5]

Protect Our Kids PAC opposed the initiative.

In March 2022, the Missouri ACLU endorsed the initiative.[8]


Amendment 3 was filed with the secretary of state for approval in August 2021, and was qualified for signature gathering on October 6, 2021.[9][10] The sponsoring organization's campaign manager said on May 4, 2022, that they were "confident" that the number of signatures collected by that date, a few days before the deadline, "provides the necessary cushion to qualify for the ballot".[11] On the May 8 deadline, twice the minimum number of signatures were submitted.[12] On August 9, 2022, The Missouri Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft, certified the initiative to appear as Amendment 3 on the November ballot.[13][14][15]

In August 2022, on the last day of the 10-day challenge period following certification, the prohibitionist organization Protect Our Kids funded a lawsuit to remove the initiative from the November ballot.[16] The lawsuit was dismissed on September 9.[17] The Associated Press used the suit as an example of "pushback against the initiative process [that] is part of a several-year trend that gained steam as groups aligned with the Democratic Party have increasingly used petitions to force public votes on issues that Republican-led legislatures have opposed".[18] On September 13, the deadline for challenges, the state supreme court allowed the initiative to appear on the ballot by refusing to review a lower court's decision to reject an appeal.[19]

In September 2022, lawmakers pushed to have cannabis added to a special session called by Governor Mike Parson, over disagreements with policies outlined in Amendment 3, particularly with licensing.[20] A bill entitled the Marijuana Freedom Act was filed to address these concerns.[21] Despite calling Amendment 3 a "disaster", Governor Parson did not expand the scope of the special session to include cannabis, killing the challenge to Amendment 3.[22][23]


The amendment was approved by voters on November 8, 2022, by a 53–47% margin.[24] Despite initially saying that recreational sales would begin on February 6, 2023, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services unexpectedly announced on February 2 that licenses would be issued to recreational dispensaries the following day.[25]

Constitutional Amendment 3[1]
Choice Votes %
Referendum passed Yes 1,092,432 53.1
No 965,020 46.9
Total votes 2,057,452 100.00

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Petition 2022-059 information" (PDF). Missouri Secretary of State. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
  2. ^ "2022 Initiative Petitions Approved for Circulation in Missouri". Retrieved October 28, 2023.
  3. ^ Rivas, Rebecca (October 6, 2023). "Companies can now work with state to destroy recalled Missouri marijuana products • Missouri Independent". Missouri Independent. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
  4. ^ Bayless, Kacen; Phillips, Kynala (November 9, 2022). "Missouri votes to legalize recreational weed for adults with passage of Amendment 3". Kansas City Star. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Recreational marijuana is on Missouri's ballot in November. Critics say to read the fine print". KCUR 89.3 - NPR in Kansas City. August 15, 2022. Archived from the original on August 16, 2022. Retrieved August 17, 2022.
  6. ^ Meg Cunningham (April 20, 2022), "Hesitant support continues for full cannabis legalization in Missouri, amid concerns about fairness and equity", Kansas City Beacon, archived from the original on May 12, 2022, retrieved May 10, 2022, Under the Legal MO 2022 proposal, current medical marijuana license holders would get first dibs at recreational marijuana licenses in Missouri, stoking worries of shutting out smaller, less-established operators...The proposal is backed by the state's cannabis trade lobby...
  7. ^ Jack Suntrup (April 6, 2022). "'Poison pill' creates headache for backers of plan to fully legalize marijuana in Missouri". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on May 6, 2022. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  8. ^ Gregory J. Holman (March 16, 2022). "Legal Missouri 2022 marijuana campaign lands key ACLU endorsement". Springfield News-Leader. Archived from the original on May 18, 2022. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  9. ^ "Missouri Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2022)". Ballotpedia. Archived from the original on November 29, 2021. Retrieved May 12, 2021.
  10. ^ Cameron Gerber (September 1, 2021). "Marijuana legalization, record expungement could go before Missouri voters". Missouri Times. Archived from the original on March 14, 2023. Retrieved May 12, 2022 – via Muddy River News.
  11. ^ Jack Suntrup (May 4, 2022). "Marijuana legalization fizzles in Missouri House as initiative petition heads toward ballot". Archived from the original on May 11, 2022. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  12. ^ Summer Ballentine (May 8, 2022). "Missouri ballot measures on marijuana, ranked voting advance". Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 8, 2022. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  13. ^ Kynala Phillips (August 9, 2022). "Missouri will vote on recreational marijuana use. What are the state's current weed laws?". The Kansas City Star. Archived from the original on August 15, 2022. Retrieved August 10, 2022.
  14. ^ Joseph Choi (August 9, 2022). "Missouri puts marijuana legalization on November ballot". The Hill. Archived from the original on August 10, 2022. Retrieved August 10, 2022.
  15. ^ Sarah Kellogg (August 9, 2022). "Legalization of recreational marijuana will be on the Missouri ballot in November". St. Louis Public Radio. Archived from the original on August 9, 2022. Retrieved August 10, 2022 – via Salt Lake Public Radio.
  16. ^ Tessa Weinberg (August 22, 2022). "Lawsuit asks judge to block marijuana legalization from appearing on Missouri ballot". Missouri Independent. Archived from the original on August 22, 2022. Retrieved August 22, 2022.
  17. ^ Alisa Nelson (September 9, 2022). "Missouri judge dismisses lawsuit about recreational marijuana ballot measure". Missourinet. Learfield. Archived from the original on September 9, 2022. Retrieved September 9, 2022.
  18. ^ David A. Lieb (September 3, 2022). "GOP escalates fight against citizen-led ballot initiatives". Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 5, 2022. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  19. ^ "Challenge to marijuana ballot question jettisoned at Missouri Supreme Court". Archived from the original on September 13, 2022. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
  20. ^ "Missouri lawmakers ask governor to add marijuana legalization to special session | Jefferson City News-Tribune". September 4, 2022. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  21. ^ Dunn, Brandon (September 16, 2022). "Hicks introduces Marijuana Freedom Act during special session". Greenway Magazine. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  22. ^ Post-Dispatch, St Louis (September 6, 2022). "Parson shuts door on marijuana special session". Columbia Missourian. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  23. ^ Bayless, Kacen; Shorman, Jonathan (October 16, 2022). "'I think that thing's a disaster': Gov. Parson slams recreational weed question on MO ballot". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved December 8, 2023.
  24. ^ Kurt Erickson. "Missouri voters approve legalizing recreational marijuana". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on November 9, 2022. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  25. ^ Neman, Daniel (February 3, 2023). "Surprise! Recreational marijuana sales become legal in Missouri on Friday". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Archived from the original on February 6, 2023. Retrieved March 14, 2023.

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