by Ray Downs
The effort to legalize marijuana in Missouri continues as ten different legalization proposals have been sent to the Secretary of State Jason Kander's office and are open for public comment.
But these aren't just changes to laws. They're changes to the Missouri State Constitution, similar to what Colorado has and done so in a way so no buzz-kill state legislator can try to repeal it.
Each proposal was submitted by attorney Dan Viets, chairman of Show-Me Cannabis, who says the aim of each proposal is to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, but they vary in different ways such as the amount of plants one can grow and how legalization would impact people with criminal records for marijuana offenses.
After public comments end on December 19 and Kander's office writes up the ballot language for the proposals, pro-legalization group Show Me Cannabis Regulation will begin polling Missourians to find out which of the ten proposals has the most support and best chance of passing in 2014.
"If we don't have 60 percent of Missourians, then we will wait another two years when we will definitely have the 60 percent," Viets tells Daily RFT.
But the long-time fighter for marijuana-law reform says that he and other legalization advocates are feeling pretty good about 2014.
Click on the next page to read more about the proposals...
Back in March, a poll conducted on behalf of Show-Me Cannabis Regulation found that 50 percent of Missourians favored legalization. That's not quite the 60 percent Viets finds to be ideal, but he says that number is likely much higher now.
See also: Poll Says Majority of Missourians Favor Legalizing Pot, Regulating Like Alcohol "Support in the last twelve months jumped 10 percent across the nation," Viets says. "If Missouri is typical of the rest of the country -- and it usually is -- we should have 60 percent right now."
To qualify for the 2014 ballot, Show-Me Cannabis needs signatures from "8 percent of Missouri's 4 million registered voters in two-thirds of Missouri's eight congressional districts," reported the Columbia Missourian.
Viets says that he believes the most contentious issue will be about what to do with nonviolent marijuana offenders, including whether to let out people currently incarcerated and expunge criminal records of people previously arrested for marijuana.
Each proposal deals with these issues to different degrees, and a final ballot initiative will be determined based on the reaction from Missourians during the polling stages.
Similar to Colorado's Amendment 64, which changed the state's constitution to allow for the sale and regulation of marijuana, Viets' proposals aim to change Missouri's constitution for the same purpose.
"We anticipate there would be a repeal attempt," Viets says, adding that passing an amendment to the state constitution, rather than a state law, would make it more difficult for the state legislature to overturn marijuana legalization if it passes.
The ten proposals are available to read on the secretary of state's website.