Amendment 3, a ballot measure to legalize the cultivation, processing and sales of marijuana to adults 21 and older in Missouri is under attack once again. This time, the opposition comes from the state prosecutors who called the measure “nothing more than thirty pages of mischief.”
The Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys criticized the proposed constitutional amendment, backed by Legal Missouri 2022, on several accounts in a position paper published on Thursday, reported St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The paper touched on the issue of impaired driving, claiming that the measure doesn’t allow courts to stop drivers’ use of marijuana in case of those charged or convicted of killing someone while driving under the influence of cannabis.
Moreover, the prosecutors were not too fond of civil penalties for cannabis offenses that are part of the amendment either.
“Amendment 3 fails to protect our children from dealers in black market marijuana,” they said, adding that a “dealer can give or sell to middle schoolers and face only a civil penalty of $100.”
The document also raised concerns about the health effects of marijuana while stressing that legalization should be a part of the Missouri Constitution.
However, John Payne, Legal Missouri 2022’s campaign manager said in an emailed statement that the measure is designed to set up a “thorough system of regulation,” under which public health and safety would be protected “far better than our current illicit and unregulated system.”
He also said that driving under the influence of cannabis and its sale outside the regulatory system is considered illegal under the amendment.
Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft certified the initiative to expand the current medical marijuana business program by allowing existing licensees to serve both medical and non-medical purchasers last month.
However, Joy Sweeney, a local anti-legalization activist backed by the Colorado-based Protect Our Kids PAC, filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the measure shortly after. The lawsuit argued that the petition was improperly certified and that the measure’s language is not in accordance with the state Constitution, citing a violation of single-subject rules and that the initiative lacked sufficient signatures to be placed before voters.
A judge with the Missouri Circuit Court of Cole County dismissed the lawsuit earlier this month due to the plaintiff’s failure to “prove an essential element of her cause of action,” referring to her claim that she was a resident of Jefferson City.
Had it not been dismissed on procedural grounds, the decision regarding the case would be in favor of the legalization campaign on all counts, Judge Cotton Walker said.
The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals then ruled that the lower court was correct to rule that the process of petition certification was valid.
Just a day after the initiative to legalize cannabis in Missouri was cleared out to appear on the ballot this November, Rep. Ron Hicks (R) introduced a slightly amended version of a bill to legalize the plant.
“Marijuana Freedom Act,” introduced earlier this year under the title “Cannabis Freedom Act” and advanced through committee, represents an alternative to the initiative from Legal Missouri 2022. The revised piece of legislation now includes an emergency clause about the ballot initiative.
Photo: Courtesy of gguy by Shutterstock and Kindel Media by Pixabay
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