Missouri has taken the first step toward putting legal marijuana on the 2016 ballot.
As we reported Monday, Show-Me Cannabis planned to file the paperwork this week to put an initiative on the November 2016 ballot. On Thursday, the Secretary of State's office announced that the group submitted an initiative petition to amend the Missouri Constitution to allow for the sale and use of marijuana.Dan Viets, chairman of Show-Me Cannabis and a criminal defense lawyer in Columbia, filed the official petition to Secretary of State Jason Kander's office the day after the end of a midterm election cycle -- when two more states and Washington, D.C., voted to legalize recreational marijuana use.
Missouri voters now have 30 days to comment on the petition, either online, by mail or by phone.
Election cycle is 2 days old and first initiative petition already submitted. Off we go!— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) November 6, 2014
Show-Me Cannabis needs signatures from 8 percent of active voters in six of Missouri's eight congressional districts -- or about 160,000 signatures -- to get the initiative in front of voters. It'll cost at least $500,000 just to hire people to get those signatures and much more to campaign for the majority of Missourians' votes, says John Payne, executive director of Show-Me Cannabis.
"Get this to the polls, and we're confident Missourians will pass the amendment," Payne tells Daily RFT.
The ballot measure Show-Me Cannabis submitted would amend Missouri's Constitution to legalize the sale and use of marijuana for adults over 21, and it would allow people with non-violent criminal charges stemming from marijuana to have their records expunged.
Here's the initiative filed Thursday: