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Petition Circulates To Legalize Marijuana In Missouri

Amendment to state constitution targets November 2012 ballot

Cathy Gregory Studio Gallery
November 30, 2011
A petition now circulating in Missouri would place a constitutional amendment on the November 2012 ballot to legalize marijuana for those 21 or older.

The "Show-Me Cannabis Initiative" calls for a sweeping repeal of criminal prohibitions against marijuana in Missouri.

The measure would regulate cannabis in many of the same ways the state now regulates alcohol. Marijuana would be legal and could be sold by licensed vendors or grown at home for personal use. Medical cannabis would be made available to those with a physician's recommendation, including those under 21 with parental consent and physician supervision. Retail sales would be taxed by the state (up to $100 per pound).

The petition, approved Nov. 7 for circulation by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, goes further in requiring the release of those incarcerated on non-violent, cannabis-only offenses, and would expunge all records related to such offenses.

The measure would also allow for the cultivation of low-potency (non-smokable) hemp, allowing for the return of a hemp industry that flourished in this country up until World War II.

The petition was submitted by Columbia attorney Dan Viets. Viets is Missouri state coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), and a long-time advocate for drug law reform in both Missouri and on the federal level.

"We are now closer than we've ever been to repealing the criminal prohibition of marijuana," Viets said.

Prevailing attitudes about the legalization of marijuana are changing, and changing rather dramatically, according to Viets. He points to a recent Gallup poll that shows, for the first time in this country's history, that a majority of Americans favor the legalization of marijuana — 50 percent agreeing with legalization to 46 percent opposed. Some of the strongest support comes from the Midwest.

Just five years ago Gallup reported that 60 percent of U.S. citizens opposed the legalization of marijuana, with only 36 percent in support.

"The greatest support is still among the youngest groups, with the lowest level of support coming from among the older folks. The simple fact of the situation is that demographics are changing. Dramatic increases in support will continue in the years to come," Viets said.

Signatures on initiative petitions, about 150,000 are needed, are due to the Secretary of State's office by May 6, 2012.

Sixteen states have already legalized marijuana for medical use, and 14 states have decriminalized marijuana for personal use. In addition to Missouri, five other states are at some stage of considering similar actions.

"We are squandering massive amounts of tax money on police, and on prosecution and prison for people who don't need to be treated like criminals," Viets said.

Even if the required number of signatures are collected, and voters approve the measure come November, a federal prohibition against marijuana would still be in place. Viets concedes that retail marijuana sales in Missouri could be subject to federal prosecution since the federal government collects taxes on retail sales.

He predicts, however, that the federal government will do little to stop marijuana reform laws at the state level.

"We don't have to sign on to the federal government's prohibition against marijuana. If the federal government wants to march in and round up marijuana smokers, they could, but they won't," Viets said.

Viets also predicts that the Missouri Legislature will not be on board should marijuana be legalized. Lawmakers, however, cannot pass legislation repealing a constitutional amendment.

  1. report reply print email
    December 01, 2011 | 02:06 PM

    Where do we sign for initiative petitions?

    Alexander Barnhart
    Kansas City
  2. report reply print email
    Legalization of Pot
    December 12, 2011 | 02:51 PM

    I would like to have a petition to collect signatures for the legalization of pot in Missouri

    Mary Dean Gray
  3. report reply print email
    December 20, 2011 | 06:44 AM

    I'm in Sedalia Missouri and I have petitions that need signatures!

    Adam Landon
  4. report reply print email
    January 11, 2012 | 01:07 PM

    Way to go Missouri! I would definitely sign if I lived in the state. I think it is a good idea to end prohibition of marijuana so that police officers can focus on violent crime, gangs will lose a big source of income, the cartels lose power in Mexico, responsible adults can enjoy a marijuana brownie to relax instead of getting drunk, and patients can find pain relief without using addictive and harmful pharmaceutical drugs.

    Christopher Wallace
  5. report reply print email
    Johny Choronic59
    January 11, 2012 | 04:36 PM

    I have talked to Dan in the past and know he is a very good man. I will support him in all he does because he does it for the people. The people of Mo. need you Dan. Thank's for standing up for those of us who can't stand alone anymore. Dan knows the law and he knows compassion.

    John Taber
  6. report reply print email
    January 12, 2012 | 04:12 PM

    I am 52 an terminal, my pain pills do little, and I run out early which mean I have to suffer till my refill date, even if I stayed on the pain meds, when I ran out early I wouldn't have to suffer, I would have a safe option for relief, and not be so depressed or have to go to the e r, and just the peace of mind knowing I would have something nto fall back on, makes my illness alot easier to deal with. I got in trouble once for using something which I didn't know was illegal, to get buy, and now at 52, never been in any trouble before, I am on probation for 2 years, me a Grandma, they need to put the tax dollars to good use, Like I,m a bad ass anything,geeezz I'm hooked to an oxygen machine, I guess I could strangle someone with my hose...I can't hardly even walk and I had to go to court like 4-5 times to get the whole thing straightened out, whats scary is, if I get in trouble for anything in the next 2 years, I face going to prison. where in the world is this sane?

    Diane King
  7. report reply print email
    Legalizing Marijuana
    January 25, 2012 | 08:05 AM

    Lots of signatures waiting for that petition in this area as well.

    mike reed
  8. report reply print email
    Marijuana Petition
    February 07, 2012 | 06:27 PM

    Come to laddonia with the petition lots of signitures waiting!!

    carrie turner
    laddonia, mo
  9. report reply print email
    Marijuana Petition
    March 22, 2012 | 06:38 AM

    How do you sign the petition, it needs to be passed because the laws on marijuana is ridiculus. If alcohol is legal then so should marijuana because its not any worse, if anything better.

    cameron jarvis
    sikeston, mo
  10. report reply print email
    petition for marijuana initiative
    April 19, 2012 | 11:00 AM

    Come to Moberly. Many people who will sign.

    Theresa Beard
  11. report reply print email
    September 06, 2012 | 05:17 PM

    we need jobs better fuel better medicen sick of good people being treated as violent criminals it makes money

    jeremy rogers
  12. report reply print email
    Petition for pot legalization in mo
    November 07, 2012 | 02:12 PM

    I would love to collect signatures to legalize pot in mo.

    Angela Williams
    El Dorado Springs Mo
  13. report reply print email
    legalize for personal use!!
    October 18, 2013 | 03:51 AM

    Come on Missouri!! I find it very desterbing that purity government wont let the American people use mj for personal use like alcohol or tobacco that will kill you and also medicine that is proven to cause circus and or fatal sideeffects the mj doesn't have any circus and fatal sideeffects at all. What's the worst that will happen. You may eat go to sleep oh my!!!!

    Richard Resener
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