Missouri Says Yes to Legal Weed, Approving Amendment 3

Amendment 3 passed with 53% of voters opting for it

Brennan England, who owns Cola Private Lounge on Cherokee Street, was among many supporters of legal cannabis who nevertheless had concerns about Amendment 3. - DANNY WICENTOWSKI
DANNY WICENTOWSKI
Brennan England, who owns Cola Private Lounge on Cherokee Street, was among many supporters of legal cannabis who nevertheless had concerns about Amendment 3.

Legalized recreational cannabis found favor with the majority of Missouri voters today.

Amendment 3, the initiative legalizing recreational use of marijuana, won 53% of the vote in Tuesday's midterm. The measure fell behind early in the night, but continued to gain steadily as election returns were tallied.

The amendment eliminates bans on marijuana sales, manufacturing and consumption for adults in Missouri. It also allows for expungement of past non-violent marijuana offenses and enshrines in state law a 6 percent tax on cannabis sales.

The day's vote came just four years after Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment approving medical marijuana. The rollout of the medical marijuana program engendered numerous lawsuits and allegations of an unfair playing field — and critics charged that Amendment 3 doubled down on the same set of winners who benefited from the medical plan. St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones and the Missouri Democratic Party both gave the measure a thumbs down, in part over concerns that minorities would be limited to "micro-licenses" even as the same beneficiaries of licenses for medical pot would be set up to cash in much more lucratively.

But others insisted that it was high time Missouri legalize a substance that other states were increasingly opening up to taxation and regulation — and remove laws that had a disproportionate effect on people of color. Supporters included the ACLU of Missouri and the Missouri AFL-CIO.

This story has been updated to show final election results.

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About The Author

Sarah Fenske

Sarah Fenske is the executive editor of Euclid Media Group, overseeing publications in eight cities. She is the former host of St. Louis on the Air and was previously editor-in-chief of the RFT and the LA Weekly. She lives in St. Louis.
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