Secretary of State Robin Carnahan on Monday gave the Columbia-based group Show-Me Cannabis the go-ahead to begin circulating two ballot referendum petitions that, if successful, would make marijuana use legal for all state residents 21 and older, and make Missouri's laws the most relaxed in the country, reports Chad Garrison at Riverfront Times.
One petition would amend the Missouri Constitution to legalize cannabis, allow doctors to recommend the medicinal use of marijuana and release prison inmates convicted of nonviolent pot offenses, reports The Associated Press. It would also allow the Legislature to enact a marijuana tax of up to $100 per pound.
|Missouri Baptist Medical Center|
|MO Secretary of State Robin Carnahan|
The second proposal is almost identical, but would enact a state law instead of amending the Missouri Constitution.
In a fiscal note not attached to the petitions, the state auditor's office estimated that operating costs would increase by at least $1 million due to a new licensing system that would have to be created if the measure was passed, but that those costs would be offset by an increase in fee and tax revenues generated by legal sales of marijuana.
To get a referendum on the statewide ballot, signatures must be obtained from five percent of registered voters in six of the state's nine congressional districts by May of next year. As soon as Toke of the Town sees a ballpark estimate of how many voters we're talking about, we'll publish that information.
If either petition gets enough signatures, the issue will appear on the Missouri ballot in November 2012.
To read the complete text of the initiatives, visit Show-Me Cannabis here.