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Recreational marijuana ballot initiative survives legal challenge

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

Missouri voters will have an opportunity to vote on the adult use of recreational marijuana on the November 8, 2022 ballot, as well as provisions that provide for expungement of criminal records for certain marijuana-related offenses. These constitutional changes would occur within the existing medical marijuana section of the Constitution, and would also provide changes to the existing regulations on medical marijuana (including a new, broad definition of “unduly burdensome”). A legal challenge to the ballot initiative was brought, claiming that the initiative itself contains multiple subjects and there were issues with the signatures. As to the substantive portions of the challenge, the court determined that the initiative petition was sufficient to be placed on the ballot and was correctly directed by the Secretary of State to be placed on the November 8, 2022 ballot.

With this proposed constitutional amendment, recreational possession and use of marijuana by adults twenty-one years of age and older would become legal within the State of Missouri. It is worth noting that this provision, if passed, would not change the existing federal prohibition on recreational marijuana use.

If the proposed constitutional amendment passes, local governments may be required to amend certain zoning provisions, personnel policies, and police procedures relating to marijuana use. Further, the language for the proposed constitutional amendment provides for two additional ballot question options for local governments: 1) to pass an additional sales tax on recreational marijuana sales within municipal boundaries (up to an additional 3% on such sales); and 2) to prohibit operation of certain recreational marijuana businesses. A local ballot question prohibiting recreational marijuana requires 60% to pass rather than a simple majority. Those ballot questions could be subject to a local vote at the option of the local governments if the constitutional amendment passes. If you have any questions about these matters, please contact your City Attorney.

A copy of the proposed amendment can be found HERE.

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