***VISIT OUR LATEST POST FOR MORE INFORMATION ON AMENDMENT 2***
There are three ballot measures concerning the legalization of marijuana in the State of Missouri. All three of these will appear on your ballot when you go to the polls on November 6 (and we know you will because voting is extremely important).
As you may know, the United States Federal Government has yet to legalize medicinal use or recreational use at the federal level. At this stage in the game, we are left to speculation and even Forbes magazine was speculating on the issue in an article from June of this year. We are addressing the State of Missouri ballot in this post but you can read the Forbes article and even do your own speculating.
For now, let’s focus on the three ballot measures you will see in the State of Missouri on November 6, 2018. You will be voting on Amendment 2, Amendment 3 and Proposition C. Remember these three ballot measures.
There are a lot of dogs in this fight and if you want to delve into the messiness of that, read the Marijuana Moment article from October 19, 2018 and in the interest of full disclosure (at Bloem, we pride ourselves on education and transparency) we note that Marijuana Moment is edited by Tom Angell, a 15+ year veteran of the legalization movement, with an aim to help activists, industry professionals, consumers, policymakers and the public understand developments and trends affecting cannabis.
Our goal is to show you the actual ballot language in advance so you have time to process it and make a decision before you head to the poll. No one likes to read complicated language under pressure or time constraints.
A YES vote on Amendment 2 will allow Missouri doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients with nine qualifying conditions. That yes vote will also mean that patients would be allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes and keep an amount of eight ounces, or a 60-day supply of marijuana. The amendment would allow up to 24 dispensaries to be operated in each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts for a maximum total of 192 dispensaries in the State of Missouri.
Amendment 2 is pretty basic and broad and disperses the industry across the state’s eight congressional districts.
The actual language you will see on the ballot is as follows:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing/certification procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;
impose a 4 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana; and
use funds from these taxes for health and care services for military veterans by the Missouri Veterans Commission and to administer the program to license/certify and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities?
This proposal is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $18 million for state operating costs and veterans programs, and $6 million for local governments. Annual state operating costs are estimated to be $7 million.
Fair Ballot Language:
A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes under state laws. This amendment does not change federal law, which makes marijuana possession, sale and cultivation a federal offense. This amendment creates regulations and licensing procedures for medical marijuana and medical marijuana facilities — dispensary, cultivation, testing and marijuana-infused product manufacturing facilities. This amendment creates licensing fees for such facilities. This amendment will impose a 4 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana for medical purposes by dispensary facilities. The funds from the license fees and tax will be used by the Missouri Veterans Commission for health and care services for military veterans, and by the Department of Health and Senior Services to administer the program to license/certify and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities.
A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution as to the use of marijuana.
If passed, this measure will impose a 4 percent retail sales tax on marijuana for medical purposes.”
You will want to be sure to distinguish between Amendment 2 (above) and Amendment 3 that reads similarly but with some very important distinctions and differences.
Among the important distinctions are a 4% tax if you vote yes on Amendment 2 (the tax on cannabis products in Colorado is 2.9%) versus a 15% tax if you vote yes on Amendment 3.
Another important distinction between Amendments 2 and 3 is that Amendment 3 proposes that all taxes and fees go directly to the contact person on this initiative petition (Brad Bradshaw) and the advisory board that he selects.
Here is the precise language:
“This amendment makes Brad Bradshaw (the contact person on this initiative petition) the research chairperson of a newly created research institute that is funded by fees and taxes on medical marijuana. Brad Bradshaw will select the members of the board that will govern the research institute, which will issue regulations and licensing procedures for medical marijuana and medical marijuana facilities — dispensary, cultivation, and marijuana-infused product manufacturing facilities. This amendment creates licensing fees for such facilities.”
-Source, Missouri Secretary of State’s Office
You also need to understand Proposition C clearly. Proposition C (note this is a Proposition and not an Amendment) and put simply, Proposition C means that lawmakers can change the language, change the qualifying conditions (for patients in need of medicinal marijuana) and change regulations at any time. Essentially, this proposition means lawmakers can make changes that could ultimately restrict access to medicinal marijuana and puts the management of the process under the Division of Liquor Control.
Here is a portion of the exact language as you’ll see it on the ballot:
“A “yes” vote will amend Missouri statutes to allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes under state laws. This amendment does not change federal law, which makes marijuana possession, sale and cultivation a federal offense. This amendment creates regulations and licensing procedures for medical marijuana and medical marijuana facilities — dispensary, cultivation and production, and testing facilities. This amendment creates licensing fees for such facilities. This amendment will impose a 2 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana for medical purposes by dispensary facilities. The funds from the license fees will go to the Division of Liquor Control to administer the program to license/certify and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities. The funds from the tax will be used for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and for public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility.
A “no” vote will not amend Missouri statutes as to the use of marijuana.
If passed, this measure will impose a 2% retail sales tax on marijuana for medical purposes.”
-Source, Missouri Secretary of State’s Office
Again, our goal is to share the exact language you will see on the ballot so you recognize it, break down the meaning of each of the three ballot measures, and allow you to make your own decision on how to vote on each of these.
Note that voting YES on Amendment 2 and then voting NO on Amendment 3 and NO on Proposition C does not cancel your YES vote on Amendment 2. It really depends on how you feel the ownership and management of the industry should work in the State of Missouri.
A vote of YES on Amendment 2 is a vote for a diffused industry across all eight congressional districts whereas voting yes on Amendment 3 puts the control and ownership of the industry in Missouri in the hands of Brad Bradshaw and the advisory board he selects.
A vote of NO on Proposition C simply means that you do not want the laws changing, without voter input, at the discretion of our state lawmakers.
What if I Vote Yes on All Three Ballot Measures?
What happens if more than one or all three ballot measures pass?
Things will get very confusing and the State of Missouri will be required to implement the Amendment that has the most “yes” votes.
According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, constitutional amendments take precedence over the state law proposition.
If both Amendment 2 and Amendement 3 pass, the Amendment with the most “yes” votes takes effect.
Remember that Amendment 3 is the Brad Bradshaw Amendment and will place control of the industry in his hands and that of the advisory board that he designates.
We all remember what happens when there is confusion following an election. From delays and recounts to possible court fights if both Amendments 2 and 3 pass.
“I am not aware of any constitutional provision that would bar use of the initiative to enact a constitutional amendment that imposes one tax in lieu of all others,” said James Layton, attorney at law with Teuth Keeney, who taught law at the MU and served in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office for more than 20 years.
“But I don’t know of any instance in which that has been attempted,” Layton said. “There have been taxes imposed through initiative petitions — most notable, perhaps, the conservation sales tax that has been in place since the 1970s. But that was in addition to, not in place of, other sales taxes.”
So it is very clear that voting yes on all three will cause confusion when the State of Missouri works to implement the new rules and regulations with regard to legalization.
This is why we are strongly encouraging you to make your decisions before you go to the polls and help all of us “win” by not contributing to the confusion.
Voting yes on all three may mean much higher taxes (higher than Colorado) it will definitely mean more confusion and more time for the State of Missouri to figure out all of the details.
We hope this has been helpful to you.
We encourage you to read the language carefully before you go to the polls and come to your own conclusions regarding the legalization and corresponding management of medicinal marijuana in Missouri.
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