political | 09.27.2018

The State of Cannabis in: Missouri

Adrian Daniel Schramm

Staff

2018 is a big year for cannabis legalization in multiple states across the country. Whether for medical use, adult use, expanded use, or some combination of all, it’s clear that big changes are on the horizon for many previously limited and prohibited markets.

Here, we dig deep into the November ballot for the state of:

Missouri

 

There is much evidence to suggest sweeping change is coming to Missouri on November 6. This will come in the form of a state constitutional amendment that, if enacted, will legalize recreational and medical cannabis for the state. It will also release all prisoners currently incarcerated for (nonviolent) cannabis crimes. This measure also goes further, stating that even possession of cannabis by a person under 18 would not be prohibited - use would still be illegal, however - in order to prevent more youth from being imprisoned for possession of cannabis.

And, importantly, the amendment also prohibits the use of state funds for federal cannabis enforcement, i.e. no public money can go to arrests, prosecution, etc. for possession of cannabis.

Missouri does currently allow a legal industrial hemp industry to operate, and hemp-derived CBD products are legal and available for a number of medical, and cosmetic conditions.

The “Show-Me State” To Lead by Example

Voters in Missouri prohibition will have much more to decide than simply whether or not to legalize cannabis for medical use. The issue has three different legalization measures to consider this fall, and each of these measures will different approach toward a regulated and taxed cannabis industry.

Medical cannabis legalization enjoys popular support across the state of Missouri, and there is a good chance that voters will approve all three ballot measures. The one that will win, however, will be the amendment that receives the most votes, even if the statute passes, as the Missouri Constitution supersedes any statutes, i.e. the statute (Proposition C) will only pass if none of the amendments do. While all three measures legalize cannabis for medical use, there are important differences to be noted in regard to key issues: Patient access to medical, taxation and the use the added tax revenues.

As there are three different proposals for the November ballot, medical cannabis legalization seems a sure thing in Missouri. It will remain up to voters, however, what that legalization will actually look like in practice.

More than just one decision to be made

There are two constitutional amendments up for vote: Amendment 2 and Amendment 3, along with Proposition C. They look like this:

Amendment 2: Backed by pro-patient group New Approach Missouri, the amendment, unsurprisingly then, is concerned mostly with patient care. New Approach’s amendment taxes dispensary sales at 4%, and would also dedicate an estimated $18 million in tax revenue to help fund veterans programs and programs for seniors.

Notably, Amendment 2 is the only measure seeking to legalize home cultivation, and put in place something called a “seed-to-sale” tracking system which would hold growers, dispensaries, etc. to a higher standard of quality, and help to maintain transparency for consumers.

Amendment 3: Also known as the Bradshaw Amendment, this is the most conservative of the measures up for vote. It is named for Brad Bradshaw, an attorney who funded the majority of the bill with his own money. The passage of this amendment would give Bradshaw significant control over the cannabis industry in Missouri by creating a nine-person board, which he would lead, to set licensing fees, purchasing limits, and the number of cultivation centers legally allowed in the state.

It would also have a higher tax rate than Amendment 2: Growers would pay $9.25 per ounce of flower sold to dispensaries, and patients would then be responsible for 15% on top of each purchase.

Proposition C: Similar to Amendment 2, Prop C is focused on patient care first and foremost. It is not an amendment, but a statute that would see the lowest tax rate (2%) for cannabis sales. The proposition has seen staunch support from Missourians for Patient Care. Thus far, however, it has received the fewest signatures of the three.

Links to each petition:

Bradshaw Amendment 

New Approach Missouri 

Missourians for Patient Care Act

Ballot in full:

2018 Ballot Measures

Find your voting booth:

Missouri Voter Outreach Center

Note: As the industry will need licensing, and both physicians and patients will need to get certification, it will take many months before medical cannabis is available even if one or more of these measures pass on November 6.

Read this next: A State-By-State Look at Legal Cannabis in the United States