SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – After a court ruling in Cole County Friday, voters in Missouri could pass a constitutional amendment allowing the use of recreational marijuana in Missouri.
“A lot of people that need affordable cannabis are people who are disabled or veterans or people who honestly are already at a handicap, and to be able to not have access that is cheaper, that’ll change once it’s recreational,” voter Anders Lewis said.
One legal expert calls the petition a win-win for the state and its voters.
“Missouri is a relatively conservative state and there’s no reason to jump all the way to the end of the road when you want to just test it out and see if it works with a conservative measure,” Chip Sheppard said.
Sheppard said the potential change would benefit the state financially and would also help those behind bars for non-violent drug offenses.
“You’ll pay a 6% tax statewide instead of a 4% tax on top of the normal retail tax, and for some communities, one dispensary that has maybe a million or $2 million in sales a year,” Sheppard said. “Non-violent offenders will be out. It’s a win for their families because instead of the taxpayer paying for them to be in prison, they’re going to be out on the street and employed and able to provide for their families.”
He said those interested in selling marijuana don’t have to immediately open a dispensary.
“Micro-licenses are for people that don’t have millions of dollars. They can start a small marijuana wholesale business, which they could grow up to 250 plants and sell those to a micro-dispensary,” Sheppard said. “The micro-dispensary can be just as big as the other dispensaries, but it can only sell marijuana from a micro wholesaler. So it protects the micro businesses from people that don’t have a ton of money from unfair competition from the macro.”
Sheppard says there’s been an interest in recreational marijuana for years. “This has been polling for at least four years at around the 60% mark in popularity.”
Part of that 60% includes Anders Lewis
“Make it more accessible for people who need it and don’t need to go into debt for it,” Lewis said. “I think that it’s frankly unjust to keep people in prison for nonviolent you know, use of a plant. It’s as healthy or healthier than anything anybody else is using to live their life.”