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As Others Pursue 2022 Ballot, GOP Missouri Lawmaker Unveils Broad-Reaching Marijuana Legalization Bill

February 22, 2022

A Republican state legislator in Missouri introduced legislation that would legalize marijuana use for adults over 21. This bill would implement marijuana taxation and regulation in the state. It requires the law to delete the criminal record of any person related to marijuana, social consumption facilities should be permitted, and the government should grant tax breaks to the state’s marijuana businesses.

The “Cannabis Freedom Act” introduced by Rep. Ron Hicks contains much information (R). “Every marijuana bill that was passed this session was carefully incorporated into this bill,” he wrote in a memo to his colleagues. This was done to ensure a “free but tightly regulated market for legal marijuana.”

As it stands, the law would accomplish the following:

1.Ownership, expansion, and a license are all required for this to happen.

Adults aged 21 and up would purchase and possess marijuana from authorized retailers under the new law. It does not appear that having too much or little is a problem. As a result of this measure, there will be no new penalties for engaging in marijuana activity. An adult can cultivate a maximum of 12 plants for their consumption.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture would oversee the adult-use program, just as it is overseeing hemp production. It would be necessary to establish an official set of rules for the various businesses involved in selling marijuana. Short-term and long-term permit guidelines would also need to be established. In this case, the number of licensees would also be unrestricted.

A licensed grower can grow up to 12 plants for adults under the terms of a “contract.” In addition, for the first time, they will be able to produce marijuana products in collaboration with a licensed marijuana processor.

2. Consumer protection and social equity are important factors to consider.

The bill also includes expungement provisions. The law can now delete nonviolent marijuana crimes from the records of those convicted in connection with now-legal activities. Even people who are already incarcerated, on probation or parole, would be permitted to use marijuana if it were legal.

According to the law, police officers would not be permitted to enter someone’s home simply because they smelled of marijuana. Cannabis cannot be used as a factor in family court proceedings due to the rules.

Secondly, federal authorities are unable to obtain information about medical cannabis users.

3. This section covers all of the Tax related stuff.

Adult-use marijuana would be taxed at a rate of no more than 12% under the state constitution, as determined by the state Department of Revenue. In addition, the law would levy no taxes on medical cannabis products.

Recreational marijuana taxes would go toward establishing a “Cannabis Freedom Fund.” The establishment of a marijuana program would necessitate a significant administrative investment. According to this proposal, other funds would be distributed “equitably” among teacher salaries, first responder pensions, and the Missouri Veterans Commission.

This is not the case for state-licensed marijuana businesses, which can only claim tax deductions up to the amount they would be entitled to under federal law if they were operating legally in the state. Even though cannabis businesses must pay federal income taxes, it is illegal for them to receive tax breaks.

Those who pay the fee to obtain the license may deduct that amount from their tax bill even if they do not receive one.

Hospitality licenses would allow hotels and bars to “sell or serve cannabis or cannabis products in private events and venues.” If Hicks’ bill is passed, establishments like these will be able to do just that.

In a memo to his colleagues, Rep. Chris McDaniel stated that Missouri’s hospitality industry would benefit from an additional $2 billion in sales in the state.

According to the text, state regulators cannot prevent a bank or trust company from providing financial services. Anyone who does so is protected from being penalized or taking their rights away. Despite the bill’s encouraging language, no banks or credit unions would be forced to accept cannabis customers.

The bill states that interstate marijuana sales would be legal if Congress repealed the federal marijuana prohibition.

4. While there are constraints to what can be accomplished, there is also room for expansion.

It fails to address several issues, including Making the sale and use of marijuana by anyone under the age of 21 illegal. However, no one is immune from prosecution for driving while intoxicated: lawmakers and law enforcement officials from other states were polled for their thoughts.

“The goal here was to prevent criminal syndicates from using any licensing process to divert marijuana to illegal markets in other states.” When asked who devised the bill’s stringent regulations, compliance, and enforcement requirements, he credited Oklahoma Rep. Scott Fetgatter (R).

“This bill is not perfect,” he admitted, “and I encourage you to give us more ideas as we move through the legislative process.”

The lawmaker has been working with members of the Black Caucus “to ensure that startups in this market space can get loans and grants so that entrepreneurs can compete on an equal playing field,” according to the lawmaker. This was what he was referring to.

Many people were involved in the development of the Cannabis Freedom Act, including those who work in law enforcement and those who have been imprisoned for doing things now considered acceptable.

According to former Carter County prosecutors, “law enforcement no longer has to do the thankless job of enforcing marijuana prohibition.” Those who believe in reparative justice argue that the Cannabis Freedom Act establishes a framework for such actions.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle support the bill, with Rep. Michael Johnson (D) stating that it “will put Missouri at the forefront of the national conversation about ending marijuana prohibition.”

People in this state need this proposal now, he says, because it will make it easier for people to be released and have their records erased and provide more opportunities for our hospitality industry and farmers to sell their produce.

Republicans in Missouri are attempting to place marijuana legalization on the ballot for the second time. One campaign for a separate reform initiative began collecting signatures last month, and activists aren’t waiting for the legislature to act before calling for a referendum on the issue.

Rep. Shamed Dogan (R) recently pre-filed a joint resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana to be placed on the ballot in 2022. He made a similar proposal the previous year, but it was unsuccessful.

Adults aged 21 and up could buy, possess, and cultivate cannabis for personal use under the plan’s terms. It also makes no mention of the maximum amounts that A person can use.

Aside from that, New Approach Missouri, which successfully got a medical cannabis initiative approved by voters in 2018, announced last summer that it intends to place a reform proposal on the ballot in 2022 through its new campaign committee Legal Missouri 2020.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted the group’s plan to put legalization on the 2020 ballot.

Activists collected 80,000 raw signatures in just a few months, even though the ballot initiative required 160,199 valid signatures to be placed on the ballot.

There are several others besides this one. Fair Access Missouri hopes that at least one of these citizen initiatives will be on the ballot in the upcoming election year. Proposals 3 and 4 would make it legal for adults over 21 to buy and sell legalized marijuana. In addition, if the fourth amendment is ratified, the state’s medical-marijuana program would be altered.

Another state legislator introduced the bill late last month. Under this proposal, recreational drugs such as marijuana and psilocybin would be legal.

Earlier this year, Republicans in Missouri proposed another bill that made it legal for people suffering from serious illnesses to experiment with psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and other hallucinogens such as LSD.

According to one trade group, Missouri’s medical marijuana industry created nearly one out of every ten new jobs in the state in 2013.

Some propose making it more difficult for citizens to propose constitutional amendments for consideration at the polls, further complicating the political landscape.