As of late Tuesday evening, Missouri voters seemed primed to narrowly legalize recreational marijuana use and sale in the Show-Me State.
Amendment 3, an effort to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana, received just more than 52 percent of the vote with 188 precincts yet to report as of 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to unofficial data from the Missouri Secretary of State's Office.
The amendment asked voters whether they wish to remove the state's prohibition on the purchase, possession, consumption, manufacturing and sale of marijuana recreationally for those 21 and older. The language requires registration with the state for personal cultivation with prescribed limits and establishes a lottery system to award certification and licenses for prospective businesses and award these licenses equally among the state's eight congressional districts. Sales would be subject to a 6 percent tax, with revenue earmarked to benefit veteran programs, drug addiction treatment services and the state's public defender system.
The amendment, placed on the ballot through the initiative petition process, also allows those with non-violent marijuana-related offenses to petition for their release from incarceration, or for parole and probation. Those petitions would also include expungement for their records.
"This enormous step forward for criminal justice reform will result in hundreds of thousands of Missourians having their records cleared, at no cost to them, for an activity that is now legal," Legal MO 2022 Campaign Director John Payne said in a statement. "Today's vote immediately puts an end to nearly 20,000 arrests each year for minor marijuana violations, freeing up vital law enforcement resources to fight serious and violent crime."
The election saw 55 percent of Cole County's voters oppose the amendment.
As passed by the General Assembly earlier this year, Amendment 5 creates the new Missouri Department of the National Guard. The Guard is currently housed under the Department of Public Safety. Missouri voters approved the measure by a wide margin, with 61 percent voting in favor with 188 precincts to go as of press time.
The proposed department would be led by an adjutant general appointed by the governor with the advice of the state Senate.
The election saw 62 percent of Cole County's voters support the amendment.
This year's Amendment 4, which saw 64.3 percent of the electorate voting in favor by reporting at 11:30 p.m., grants state lawmakers the ability to increase minimum funding for the Kansas City Police Department. The ballot language identifies "a police force established by a state board of police commissioners," a classification that in Missouri only applies to Kansas City.
The election saw almost 64 percent of Cole County's voters support the amendment.
Amendment 1 asked voters whether they wished to amend the Missouri Constitution to allow the General Assembly to invest state funds, a proposal 54 percent of the state's voters had rejected as of Tuesday evening's reporting. While the state's legislative bodies do not currently have that power, the amendment would have allowed them to determine avenues for the state treasurer to make investments of the state's funds, according to the Secretary of State's Office.
The amendment would also expand the treasurer's investment abilities, authorizing him or her to invest in municipal securities. Those investments would be in municipal securities that possess one of the top five highest long-term ratings or the highest short-term ratings, according to the ballot language.
In Cole County, 55 percent of voters opposed the measure.
The Constitutional Convention question, which 67.5 of Missourians had voted "no" on with 188 precincts yet to go, would have led to an election of delegates to serve in the convention, with any changes put forth by the delegation subject to a vote of the people.
Unlike this year's other questions, the convention issue is a regular question that appears on the ballot every 20 years. The provision requiring the regular ballot question was enacted in 1920, with the first convention taking place in 1922. The second convention 20 years later resulted in the state's fourth constitution, the latest version that remains in use today.
The question was rejected by Cole County voters, 69 percent of which opposed the measure.