Election Day Results and Resources
Missourians have voted in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana use and automatic expungement for prior cannabis convictions.
As of 6 a.m. this morning, Amendment 3 is passing by a 6.2% margin with 99% of the vote in. The race has been called, with the majority of Missourians voting “yes” for legalizing recreational marijuana.
Proponents successfully petitioned to have the amendment added to the November ballot after earning signatures from enough residents in six of the state’s eight Congressional districts. Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft certified the petition on Aug. 9.
The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, the ACLU of Missouri, Missouri NORML, and the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers had endorsed the amendment. Governor Mike Parson vociferously opposed the legalization effort.
The amendment will remove bans on the sale, consumption, and manufacturing of marijuana for adults 21 years and older. A 6% sales tax would be put on the products, which could generate up to $48 million annually for state and local governments by 2028. That revenue would go to expungement costs, veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment, and the public defender system.
Missouri was one of five states with marijuana legalization on the ballot (Arkansas, Maryland, North Dakota, and South Dakota being the others).
One week before the election, a poll by Nexstar, Emerson College and The Hill showed 47% were in favor of Amendment Three, 39% opposed it, and 14% were undecided.
It’s been a years-long push for the full legalization of cannabis in the United States. Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana use in Dec. 2012.
In the decade since, 19 states, as well as the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, the territory of Guam, and the commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, have legalized the drug for personal use. Each state or jurisdiction has its own laws on transportation and cultivation.
A majority of the American public seems to support the legalization of marijuana as well. An April 2021 survey by the Pew Research Center reported 60% of all respondents believe medical and recreational marijuana use should be legal. In 1969, approximately 84% of those surveyed were against legalizing weed. A Nov. 2021 Gallup poll showed 68% support for total legalization. Last month, President Joe Biden announced pardons for all federal convictions of simple marijuana possession, and urged governors to do the same at the state level. The president also directed the Health and Human Services Secretary and Attorney General to examine downgrading cannabis from a Schedule I narcotic to a Schedule II controlled substance.