Insights: Cannabis in Missouri
June 22, 2018
June 22, 2018
Contributing writer: Alex Bibisi
Four ballot initiatives have been submitted to the Missouri Secretary of State for signature validation. Each of the initiatives has more than 300,000 signatures, nearly three times the number needed for the measures to reach the 2018 ballot. None of the initiatives have been approved for the ballot yet, as signatures are still being validated.
Nonetheless, over one million signatures in favor of the various ballot initiatives show that the people of Missouri are ready for legalization.
The ballot initiatives include the following:
- Two constitutional amendments legalizing medical-use
- One citizen-initiated statute legalizing medical-use
- One constitutional amendment legalizing adult-use for all individuals aged 18 and up.
If all three of the medical initiatives are approved by voters, the initiative with the most votes will prevail.
The Missouri House of Representatives has also passed a bill (HB 1554) that would legalize medical use, production, and sale of marijuana and hemp. The bill is current pending in the Senate Health and Pensions Committee, where it has not seen any movement since early May. The Missouri state legislature has adjourned and will not meet again for regular sessions until January 2019, making it highly unlikely that HB 1554 will become law.
All three of the medical initiatives would create separate licenses for cultivation, processing, and dispensaries, while HB 1554 would create vertically-integrated facilities for medical cannabis and hemp.
Each of the potential paths for legalization presents a different licensing system and unique challenges. It is unclear at this point what form legalization will take in Missouri.