Kander seeks comments on 10 proposed petitions

One petition approved for circulation

Missourians have until Dec. 19 to comment on 10 proposed initiative petitions submitted this week to Secretary of State Jason Kander’s office.

Columbia attorney Dan Viets turned in all 10 petitions — all proposing to protect marijuana use in the Missouri Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

All 10 begin: “Citizens over the age of (21) years shall have the right to engage in the production, sale, distribution and consumption of marijuana and the manufacture of goods and services from hemp … “

Viets explained, in an e-mail: “The differences relate to whether and how many plants a person can legally cultivate, and to whether people imprisoned for crimes which will no longer be crimes shall be granted amnesty and/or expungement of their records.”

The amendment would allow the state to adopt “reasonable regulations” aimed at promoting “the regulation of the sale and distribution of marijuana in order to combat illegal underage use” and in “maintaining an orderly marketplace” of state-licensed producers, distributors and retailers.

Viets said adding the proposed amendment would save “great amounts of public money presently wasted on marijuana law enforcement and will raise large amounts of new tax money for police/fire pensions, education, drug treatment and local governments.”

State law requires the secretary of state’s and attorney general’s offices to approve the form of petition. The secretary and his staff then write the ballot summary language, and certify a petition for circulation, so supporters can get the signatures.

Kander this week also certified a proposed constitutional amendment affecting lawmakers, legislative candidates, lobbyists and campaign contributions.

The petition would amend the Constitution to create limits on campaign contributions for state legislative candidates and on gifts that state legislators and their employees from lobbyists; prohibit state legislators, and their employees, from serving as paid lobbyists for a period of time or being paid for campaign work; prohibit political fundraising on General assembly property; require legislative records to be open to the public; and prohibit any law that disqualifies the counting of valid signatures on petitions based on how voters sign the petition.

The state auditor’s fiscal note appearing on the petitions — and on the ballot if it gets enough signatures — says: “State governmental entities estimate increased annual operating costs starting at about $67,000.”

Local governments had no estimated additional costs, and no one predicted changes to state or local government revenues.

Supporters have until May 4, 2014, to gather registered voters’ signature. If they are successful in collecting enough valid signatures, their proposed amendment would be placed on the Nov. 4, 2014, statewide election ballot.

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