Two ballot initiatives were filed with the Secretary of State in the state of Missouri on July 6, 2011, two days after Independence Day, that would legalize possession of marijuana by adults, allow for medical marijuana use, and create an agricultural hemp industry for this Midwest state. This ambitious endeavor has been undertaken by a group that calls themselves “Show-Me Cannabis”, playing on Missouri’s motto as the “Show-Me State”. Their website can be found at www.show-mecannabis.com.
One of the initiatives would amend the state’s Constitution, while the other would revise the state’s statutes. Once the Secretary of State’s office approves the language of one, or both, initiatives the next step to get them on the November 2012 ballot would be signature gathering. The constitutional amendment would require the gathering of around 160,000 signatures by May of 2012 to be put on the ballot, while the initiative to revise state statutes would only need around 100,000 signatures by May of next year to make it to the ballot.
The initiative would remove marijuana from the state’s list of controlled substances, legalize possession of marijuana for people over the age of 21, make no changes to the state’s impaired driving laws, and will still allow employers in Missouri to fire anyone impaired on the job, treating the herb much like alcohol. The initiative also calls for the legalization of cultivation of marijuana, so that Missourians could grow up to 100 square feet of their favorite strain for their personal use. It would allow for commercial cultivation and sales as well, perhaps spurring growth in our ever shrinking economy. Another possible economy booster is the initiatives call for allowing Missouri farmers to grow agricultural hemp, giving farmers an avenue to grow a useful nitrogen fixing plant. A nitrogen fixing plant replenishes the soil with nitrogen, which is sometimes stripped from the soil by other agricultural crops. This makes hemp ideal for crop rotation. Finally, the initiative will allow for the use of medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
Some Missourians feel that if this initiative is approved by voters, one can expect a drop in the numbers of drug related crimes in Columbia, and the entire state of Missouri, and that Missouri’s law enforcement would be able to turn their attention to more serious crimes, such as violent crimes and the meth labs that plague rural parts of the state. So, what do you think?