Mo. Lawmaker Moves To Make Marijuana Legal

By Matt Lupoli |

Published 02/06 2014 06:26PM

Updated 02/06 2014 08:10PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Missouri House representative introduced a bill that would make marijuana a legal and taxable substance in the Show-Me State.

The proposal, HB 1659, was made by Rep. Chris Kelly, a Democrat from Columbia. It comes after a petition initiative by the group Show-Me Cannabis and would impose a 25 percent tax on pot.

"The bill is very much a work in progress," Kelly said. "(It's) similar to what Colorado and Washington are doing."

Kelly, a former judge, says his position on the subject changed when he was on the bench.

"Too many peoples lives got disrupted and sometimes ruined for no good reason," Kelly said. "I think the people are far ahead the politicians on this question and many other questions."

The bill would allow adults 21 and older to possess and grow small amounts of marijuana. It would also set up a system of retailers.

I think it's hypocritical to legalize marijuana when so many states and cities are banning smoking," Christian County Sheriff Joey Kyle said.

The amount of retailers would be limited in respect to each county's population, for example, Greene County could have about 112 sellers under the bill and nearby Christian County could have about 32.

"I think there's gonna be unintended consequences it's going to be expensive socially to the fabric of our society," Kyle said.

Some supporters say making marijuana a legal and taxable substance will lessen the burden on law enforcement.

"That's a wash," Kyle said. "I think there's going to be unintended consequences it's going to be expensive socially to the fabric of our society."

Kyle says law enforcement would be tasked with other facets of regulating the drug.

"Why are we going to cut loose another mind altering drug onto society when we can't control the ones that are already legal. Alcoholism is prevelant and we can't get a handle on that," Kyle said. 

"We've wasted billions with the war on drugs and I don't think we've kept one person from smoking one joint," Kelly said.

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