Missouri AFL-CIO endorses marijuana legalization, expungement campaign
Missouri’s largest labor organization urges Missourians to Vote Yes on Amendment 3
Missouri’s largest labor organization is urging Missouri voters to support Amendment 3 to legalize marijuana and automatically expunge past, nonviolent cannabis offenses from Missourians’ records.
“Legalizing marijuana for Missouri adults, while also automatically expunging past, nonviolent marijuana offenses is a huge step forward for criminal justice reform in Missouri,” said Jake Hummel, Missouri AFL-CIO President. “Amendment 3 will bring significant revenue to Missouri, while allowing law enforcement to focus on fighting serious and violent crime. We urge Missourians to support this common-sense proposal to make Missouri the 20th state to legalize marijuana for adult use.”
In 2018, marijuana possession accounted for more than 50 percent of all drug arrests in Missouri. Of the nearly 21,000 marijuana arrests here that year, the vast majority were for simple possession of very small amounts.
The proposed constitutional amendment would allow Missourians ages 21 and older to possess, consume, purchase, and cultivate marijuana. A 6 percent retail sales tax would generate estimated annual revenue of at least $40.8 million (and likely much higher) and additional local government revenues of at least $13.8 million, a state fiscal analysis projects.
That money, in turn, would cover program costs including expungement, with remaining funds reserved for veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment and the state’s severely underfunded public defender system.
“We are honored that Missouri’s most influential labor organization is supporting this grassroots effort to legalize marijuana, while being the first state in the country to automatically expunge past, nonviolent cannabis offenses by a vote of the people,” said John Payne, Legal Missouri 2020 campaign manager.
Other organizations to endorse the ballot initiative so far include the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Empower Missouri, Reale Justice Network, Missouri NORML, and the St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County chapters of the NAACP.
Additional Highlights of Amendment 3:
- Allows Missourians 21 years and older to possess, purchase, consume and cultivate marijuana.
- Levies state taxes of 6 percent on retail sales of marijuana. New revenue funds regulatory program and costs to process automatic expungements, with the surplus split equally among veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment, and Missouri’s underfunded public defender system.
- Allows local governments to assess local sales taxes of up to 3 percent.
- Allows local communities to opt out of adult use retail marijuana sales through a vote of the people.
- Strengthens Missouri’s medical marijuana program. The petition extends the amount of time that medical marijuana patient and caregiver ID cards are valid from one to three years while keeping that cost low ($25). And the current $100 fee for Missourians who choose to grow medical marijuana at home will be reduced by half, with the expiration period also extended from one to three years.
- Provides employment discrimination protection for medical patients, preventing them from being denied employment or being disciplined or fired for off-the-job medical marijuana use.
- Adds nurse practitioners to the category of healthcare professionals who can issue medical cannabis recommendations to patients.
Paid for by Legal Missouri 2022, Paul Bocci, Treasurer.