Last Update: January 15, 2015
Voters in the Show Me State should decide!
Missouri’s 2015 legislative session began on January 7, and lawmakers have already been given an opportunity to help end the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. Rep. Brandon Ellington introduced HJR 15, a bill which would allow voters in the Show Me state to decide whether the state should legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana like alcohol for adults 21 and older. If passed, the bill would place a measure on the November 2016 ballot to amend the state constitution and establish a system similar to those adopted by voters in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon. Please take a moment to contact your senator and representative and voice your support.
Rep. Ellington also introduced HB 166, which would expunge some marijuana-related convictions if voters approve the constitutional amendment.
Another sensible measure, HB 490, was introduced by Rep. Keith English. This compassionate bill would allow patients to use and safely access medical cannabis, as is the case in 23 states and the District of Columbia. You can voice your support for a workable medical marijuana system by clicking here and emailing your representative and senator.
Marijuana laws in Missouri
A bill passed in 2014, SB 491, will lessen penalties for those caught with up to 10 grams of marijuana beginning in 2017. But Missouri still has a long way to go to protect its adult residents who choose to possess or use a substance that has been shown to be objectively safer than alcohol.
Possession of over 35 grams — about 1.25 ounces — is a felony subject to a prison sentence of up to seven years and a $5,000 fine.
In 2012, Missouri arrested or cited over 18,800 individuals for marijuana-related offenses, 92% of which were for possession. During the same year, 87% of reported burglaries — including home invasions — and 88% of motor vehicle thefts went unsolved by law enforcement. In addition to marijuana prohibition diverting police from more serious crime, it’s also been unevenly enforced among races. Blacks are 2.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Missouri than their white counterparts, even though blacks and whites consume marijuana at similar rates. For more information on how the war on marijuana consumers is often waged unequally, check out the ACLU’s recent report.
Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project and all of our allies. If you have any questions concerning the status of marijuana policy reform in Missouri, you can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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