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Ballot certification deadline upcoming for ban on recreational marijuana dispensaries

If your constituents are saying they hate pot, now's their shot! In November 2022, Missouri voted to legalize marijuana for individuals 21 and up, while also altering the existing framework for medical marijuana, but the county divide was obvious. Now, the November 2024 election is coming upon us and it's a good time to refresh our memories of the authority provided in Constitutional Amendment 3 that was enacted in 2021 related to marijuana facilities. If you recall, Amendment 3 authorizes municipalities to place on the November 2024 election, and each subsequent presidential election thereafter, the question of whether the municipality desires to ban non-medical comprehensive dispensaries and microbusiness dispensaries.  If at least 60% of the votes cast on the question by the qualified voters are in favor of the question, then the ban shall go into effect as provided by law. Failure to obtain 60% vote will mean the city does not have authority to ban those facilities. The Amendment does not authorize the municipality to ban any other type of marijuana facility. The Amendment provides that the ballot question shall read: “Shall (insert name of local government) ban all non-medical microbusiness dispensary facilities and comprehensive marijuana dispensary facilities from being located within (insert name of local government and, where applicable, its “unincorporated areas”) and forgo any additional related local tax revenue?  ( ) Yes  ( ) No”. Because, per the Missouri Constitution, after the 2024 November election this question cannot be submitted again to the voters until 2028, it may be worth your municipality at least considering whether this is a question you desire to ask your residents. The date for final certification to place a question on the November 2024 election is August 27, 2024. The Missouri Constitution also provides that if a citizen petition is authorized by the laws of your municipality, then the question can also go to the voters through a citizen petition. Interestingly, the Amendment also provides that if the ban is approved, the ban can be lifted by either an ordinance of the governing body or through referral of the ballot question to the voters by the governing body. Feel free to contact us if you want more information prior to the August 27, 2024 final certification deadline.

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