Proposal would put marijuana on Missouri ballot - KCTV5

Proposal would put marijuana on Missouri ballot

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO (AP) -

Supporters of legalized marijuana are getting an early start on a petition drive to put the measure on Missouri's 2016 ballot.

Columbia attorney Dan Viets has already submitted an initiative petition to the secretary of state's office. That's the first step in an approval process that could clear the way for supporters to start collecting signatures from registered voters. Supporters will need to gather 165,000 signatures to get it on the ballot, and that effort will start by the end of the year. Supporters aim to get 250,000 signatures, knowing some will be invalid and declared void.

The proposed constitutional amendment would make it legal to manufacture, sell and use marijuana in Missouri for people age 21 and older. Viets said Thursday that the measure is intended to tax and regulate marijuana in the same way as alcohol.

The Missouri initiative, which is called Show-Me Cannabis, comes after voters Tuesday approved legalized marijuana in Alaska, Oregon and Washington, DC. Recreational use of marijuana already is legal in Colorado and Washington.

Supporters want a November 2016 vote because of increased turnout due to the presidential election.

"Generally speaking in an off-year elections you have an older electorate, which tends to be more conservative and tends to vote against issues like this," said John Payne of Show-Me Cannabis.

Opponents say the states that have legalized marijuana are liberal and that Missouri is too conservative for such a measure to pass.

"Show-Me Cannabis folks have had difficulty in the past getting the signatures they need to get on the ballot. We'll see if they do this time," said Dan Duncan who opposes the effort. "I have my doubts. We're not Oregon. We're Missouri, a much more conservative state."

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