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Monday, January 4, 2021

Republican Files Legislation to Legalize Recreational Marijuana in Missouri

Posted By on Mon, Jan 4, 2021 at 6:20 AM

click to enlarge KATHEIRNE HITT / FLICKR

Missouri state Representative Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) is pushing for a constitutional amendment to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana in Missouri.

The GOP representative filed a bill last week that would change the Missouri constitution and allow for voters to approve the legal sale of marijuana in Missouri for recreational use, with the goal of having the issue on the ballot in 2022.



His proposed amendment endeavors to establish the Smarter and Safer Missouri Act. Under his proposal, marijuana would be regulated like alcohol and recreational marijuana would be allowed for Missourians age 21 and older. Recreational marijuana would be taxed at 12 percent and medical marijuana would stay taxed at the current rate of 4 percent.

Rep. Shamed Dogan. - OFFICIAL PORTRAIT
  • OFFICIAL PORTRAIT
  • Rep. Shamed Dogan.

Details in the proposed bill, HJR 30, state that the collected tax money “shall be distributed to the Missouri Veterans Commission; infrastructure including, but not limited to, the Missouri department of transportation and the expansion of broadband; and drug treatment programs, including drug treatment courts.”

With an overwhelming number of Missourians approving the medical marijuana program in 2018, Rep. Dogan is betting that when it’s put to a vote that Missourians will choose to legalize adult-use and end marijuana prohibition.

“I think the war on drugs has been a failure — and the most glaring failure of it has been the fight against marijuana,” Dogan told The Missouri Times. “We’ve spent billions of dollars fighting against a drug which is, in the grand scheme of things, the least harmful on the list of what is currently illegal. We spend the most resources and time on it, and it’s time that ends. The public has come to that conclusion, but our laws have been pretty slow in catching up with that.”

Dogan is also aiming to loosen up licensing in the name of the free market, licensing that had formerly resulted in slower rollouts and higher prices. His goal is that the licensing process for marijuana companies is no more strict than licensing for other businesses.

From the text of HJR 30:

“No special licensing shall be required beyond that which is applicable for the cultivating, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, packaging, distributing, transferring, displaying, or possession of any nontoxic food or food product."

Email the author at jaime.lees@riverfronttimes.com
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