medical marijuana Missouri, Missouri certifies three medical cannabis initiatives for November ballot

The Missouri Secretary of State’s office said Thursday that three initiatives to legalize medical marijuana have been certified for the November ballot, pending possible legal challenges.

The initiatives would offer a range of business opportunities to enter the market, with varying tax burdens as a key difference among the three measures.

New Approach Missouri, which failed in a similar effort in 2016 because of a technicality, is backing an initiative that would appear to offer the most business licensing opportunities. The measure also would:

  • Levy a 4% retail sales tax.
  • Use tax revenue in excess of the cost to regulate the system for a fund to help cover veterans’ health-care costs.

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A second measure, sponsored by Find the Cures, would:
  • Impose a 15% retail sales tax, plus a wholesale tax of $9.25 per ounce of flower and $2.75 per ounce of leaves.
  • Use tax revenue to establish and fund a state medical research institute.

The third initiative, put forth by Missourians for Patient Care, would:

  • Impose a low 2% retail sales tax.
  • Use tax funds for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education and public safety in cities that have medical marijuana facilities.

The Missourians for Patient Care initiative is a statutory amendment that could be trumped if one or both of the two constitutional amendments above are approved by voters Nov. 6.

Some observers worry that multiple ballot initiatives could confuse voters. Voters could approve more than one initiative and then the results might have to be hashed out in the courts.