New Bill Brings Missouri One Step Closer to Cannabis Legalization for Recreational Use
A new bill recently passed by a committee of the Missouri House of Representatives, giving hope to those who have been waiting on the state to legalize cannabis recreationally. Unfortunately, the bill seems to be facing a major hurdle due to some inserted language that will likely cause it to stall on the floor.
Missouri's state legislature is gaining momentum towards supporting a bill legalizing recreational marijuana. The frustrating news is that political maneuvering is causing delays, which will likely mean we’re going to have to wait a bit longer for those changes to occur. In the meantime, Missouri residents can still get the relief that medical marijuana provides, as long as they have their medical card.
Cannabis Freedom Act Passes Committee
The “Cannabis Freedom Act” (House Bill 2704) was first introduced to the Missouri legislature in February. If passed, the bill would legalize adult use marijuana in the state of Missouri for use and possession by adults 21 and over.
Since the bill’s introduction, eight Republicans and fourteen Democrats have signed on as sponsors. On March 31st, the bill moved forward narrowly. It was passed by the House Public Safety Committee by a vote of 5-4 with some notable amendments that are detailed below.
The next step for the bill is a vote by the House Rules Committee. If it passes there, it will move onto the floor for a vote by the full House of Representatives.
Adults Over 21 Would Be Able to Purchase Cannabis
As mentioned above, the bill would allow adults in Missouri over the age of twenty one to purchase cannabis, and these purchases would need to be made from licensed retailers. The medical marijuana field has already seen an incredible boom in retail sales, and this new bill would increase state cannabis revenue by opening up marijuana sales for non-medical reasons.
The bill does not specify a maximum amount that adults may possess, as it simply invalidates any current statutes that make marijuana possession illegal. The bill would also allow adults to grow up to twelve cannabis plants for personal use.
Recreational Cannabis Could Mean Big Business
The Cannabis Freedom Act provides opportunities for businesses by instituting an application process for those seeking a marijuana business license. These processes will allow Missourians to apply for licenses for retail sales as well as growing and processing.
If other states are any indicator, the revenue that recreational marijuana could bring to Missouri is significant. Let’s look at data from Colorado as a reference:
Last year, Missouri brought in over 200 million dollars in medical marijuana revenue. During that same year, the state of Colorado, which legalized cannabis for recreational use, brought in 2.19 billion dollars. They collected more than 400 million in resulting marijuana taxes, so their taxes alone were more than double Missouri’s revenue for the entire year. Recreational marijuana legalization in Missouri would be a game changer for the state economy.
Bill Would Provide Relief for Previous Marijuana Crimes
Additionally, the bill is designed to provide relief for those who have previously been convicted of marijuana-related crimes. The legislation outlines a process to expunge the records of those with prior nonviolent offenses related to marijuana, and it would also put an end to the forfeiture of civil assets for infractions related to marijuana.
The language of the Cannabis Freedom Act would allow for the courts to be petitioned for record-clearing, and those currently serving time would be eligible for re-sentencing. Individuals on probation or parole would also be allowed to use marijuana.
Hidden Language May Thwart Bill
Unfortunately, while in committee, some anti-transgender language was introduced to amendments for the Cannabis Freedom Act that may stall the legislation in its next steps.
Many supporters of the bill see this as a “poison pill,” - a political trick designed to force democrats to pull support because the language goes against transgender rights - a topic completely unrelated to marijuana legalization.
The bill includes provisions to create a loan program to support women and minority-owned businesses participating in the market. That sounds good at first glance, until you dig deeper into the specifics of the amendment.
Republican Representative Nick Schroer revised the bill to specify that only women who are “biologically” female would be eligible for the benefit. For many Democrats, this anti-transgender stipulation makes this legislation impossible to support. Many believe this is exactly what Schroer wanted, and that he inserted the language simply to thwart marijuana legalization in Missouri.
How Long Must We Wait for Recreational?
The wait for recreational marijuana could take years. With political maneuvering and outdated stigma still rearing its head, there may be many hurdles to jump over before relief is available without a state medical card.
The good news about The Cannabis Freedom Act is that we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Cannabis is gaining support across the nation, and we believe it will only be a matter of time until it is legal across the board.
But, we also know that bureaucracy takes time. Even if recreational cannabis does pass this year, it could be a long time until the first licensed retailers open their doors. The good news is that you don’t have to wait if you have your Missouri Medical card!
Cannabis Is Already Legal in Missouri With a Medical Marijuana Card
You don’t have to wait for recreational legislation to pass to experience the natural relief that cannabis provides. All you need is a valid Missouri medical marijuana card. If you need some help getting your card, we’re here to help! Our medical team is standing by to take you through a quick and easy evaluation to see if you qualify. Schedule an appointment with a marijuana doctor online by CLICKING HERE, or give us a call at (877) 303-3117 to talk to a patient support representative.
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
At Missouri Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (877) 303-3117, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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