Jefferson City — Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander today (Feb. 9, 2015) announced that an initiative petition relating to legalizing marijuana met state standards for circulation.
The official ballot title for the initiative petition, 2016-013, reads:
"Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
legalize marijuana for personal, medical, and commercial purposes; release all persons who have non-violent, marijuana-related offenses from incarceration, probation, and parole, and expunge the records of their offense; and prohibit state funds and law enforcement from being used to enforce federal marijuana laws?"
State government expects annual operating costs starting at $900,000 and an unknown increase in public health costs, possibly offset by unknown savings in the criminal justice system. Possible increased sales tax revenue is unknown. The fiscal impact to local governments is unknown.
The petition, which would amend Article IV of the Missouri Constitution, was submitted by Nicholas Raines, 4 West Meyer Blvd., Kansas City, MO 64113.
Before any constitutional changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November 2016 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to eight (8) percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor's election from six of the state's eight congressional districts.
Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2016 ballot are due to the secretary of state’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 8, 2016.
Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the secretary of state and attorney general. The secretary of state then prepares a summary statement of no more than 100 words, and the state auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the attorney general. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.