|Source: Missouri Secretary of State|
|Elections in Missouri|
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:
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.
The provisions of the amendment would officially go into effect on December 8, 2022.
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". 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. There has also been opposition due to there not being an automatic expungement of criminal records.
Protect Our Kids PAC opposed the initiative.
In March 2022, the Missouri ACLU endorsed the initiative.
Amendment 3 was filed with the secretary of state for approval in August 2021, and was qualified for signature gathering on October 6, 2021. 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". On the May 8 deadline, twice the minimum number of signatures were submitted. On August 9, 2022, The Missouri Secretary of State, Jay Ashcroft, certified the initiative to appear as Amendment 3 on the November ballot.
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. The lawsuit was dismissed on September 9. 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". 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.
The amendment was approved by voters on November 8, 2022 by a 53-47% margin. 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.
- Cannabis in Missouri
- List of 2022 United States cannabis reform proposals
- List of Missouri ballot measures
- 2022 Missouri elections
- "Petition 2022-059 information" (PDF). Missouri Secretary of State. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
- "2022 Initiative Petitions Approved for Circulation in Missouri". www.sos.mo.gov. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
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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...
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- 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.