ST. LOUIS – Recreational marijuana could be legalized in nearly half of the country if voters in Missouri and several other states approve ballot measures in the upcoming general election.

Missouri presents this possibility in the form of Constitutional Amendment 3, which would legalize the possession, sale and creation of recreational marijuana for anyone 21 or older.

Amendment 3, which will appear on all statewide ballots, consists of the following language:

“Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to:

  • remove state prohibitions on purchasing, possessing, consuming, using, delivering, manufacturing, and selling marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of twenty-one;
  • require a registration card for personal cultivation with prescribed limits;
  • allow persons with certain marijuana-related non-violent offenses to petition for release from incarceration or parole and probation and have records expunged;
  • establish a lottery selection process to award licenses and certificates;
  • issue equally distributed licenses to each congressional district; and
  • impose a 6% tax on the retail price of marijuana to benefit various programs?

State governmental entities estimate initial costs of $3.1 million, initial revenues of at least $7.9
million, annual costs of $5.5 million, and annual revenues of at least $40.8 million. Local governments are estimated to have annual costs of at least $35,000 and annual revenues of at least $13.8 million.”

“Yes” and “No” votes mean…

A “yes” vote would legalize recreational marijuana by removing state bans to purchase, possess, consume, use, delivery, manufacture and sell cannabis for personal use. It would also allow some people with marijuana-related offenses to petition to have their records expunged. Additionally, it would establish certain regulations for the state’s recreational marijuana industry, including a 6% tax on the retail price of recreational marijuana.

A “no” vote means the Missouri constitution will not be amended, therefore the sale and use of marijuana for recreational purposes and would remain prohibited under current law.

What else to know…

Missouri currently only allows transactions of marijuana for medical purposes, which Missouri voters approved in 2018. A group of advocates, through Legal Missouri 22, collected a sufficient number of voter signatures and met an August deadline for it to qualify for the Nov. 8 election.

In September, following pushback from a lawsuit that argued over how the signatures were acquired, a judge and the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office ruled that a recreational marijuana measure would remain on ballots.

Supporters want to stop prosecution for marijuana violations, which is the case for neighboring state Illinois. Many also believe legalizing cannabis could improve the state’s economy, according to new research. Opponents disagree and believe marijuana shouldn’t be legalized in Missouri.

There are also voters who support legalizing marijuana, but don’t believe Amendment 3 is the right answer. Those voters might be concerned about the possession limits and other restrictions included in the amendment. For a closer look at Amendment 3 and such conditions, click here.

If Missouri and four other states (Arkansas, Maryland, North Dakota and South Dakota) approve recreational marijuana measures, it would legalize cannabis in 24 states and Washington D.C.

For FOX 2’s in-depth voter’s guide for what else to expect in the November election, click here.