Between now and May 8, you might be asked to sign a petition seeking a statewide vote on legalizing marijuana in Missouri.
Secretary of State Jason Kander announced an initiative petition seeking the vote has met state standards for circulation.
The proposal would legalize the production, sale, distribution and consumption of marijuana and hemp products by anyone 21 or older. It would legalize the use of marijuana for recreational and medical uses.
It also would permit the state to establish a tax and regulations/licensing procedures for marijuana.
The petition also would change the state's crime laws to allow people with certain marijuana offenses to apply to have the records relating to those offenses expunged.
State government in Missouri would incur an estimated $1 million in startup costs and annual operating costs starting at $4.9 million, possibly offset by unknown savings in the criminal justice system. Kander's office said the annual revenue increase is unknown, but could exceed $75 million.
The petition was submitted by Dan Viets, a Columbia attorney, on behalf of Columbia-based Show-Me Cannabis Regulation.
For the measure to be put on the ballot, the organization would need to get signatures from registered voters equal to at least 8 percent of the total votes case in the 2012 governor's election from six of the state's eight congressional districts. That's about 165,000 signatures. The deadline to collect the signatures is May 8.
Then, a statewide vote on the issue would be set for November 2016.
Viets has said his group believes it now has needed support, and it is constantly growing as a younger voting demographic replaces older voters. A Gallup poll shows 58 percent support legalizing marijuana nationwide, he said. The increase of states legalizing marijuana also helps in Missouri, he said. So far, four states have legalized recreational marijuana and 23 allow it for medical use.
Last year, the Missouri Legislature approved a bill to reduce the crime of marijuana possession (up to 10 grams) from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class D misdemeanor, starting in 2017. Gov. Jay Nixon let the bill pass into law without signing it.