Despite a string of bad luck that has put the kibosh on marijuana legalization efforts over the past few years, advocates in Missouri are reportedly in the midst of collecting signatures in hopes of putting a brand new initiative on the ballot in 2018.
According to a report from Missourinet, Steve Leck of Springfield recently submitted a proposal to Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office seeking approval to move ahead with a proposal that would legalize medical and recreational marijuana statewide. The goal of this push is to legitimize the cultivation and sale of marijuana in a manner similar to booze.
“We believe that it should be treated no differently than alcohol in terms of any adult should be able to consume whatever they want as long as they are not affecting anybody else or harming anyone else,” Leck told the news source.
Interestingly, unlike other marijuana legalization initiatives to emerge across the United States, Leck’s proposal does not include any age restrictions, which could cause problems in gaining public support. However, Leck says that the omission of age was done only to ensure that sick children could gain access to the herb without issue.
“We’re not advocating the recreational sales to minors by any stretch,” he said.
In addition to making marijuana a taxed and regulated commodity, the initiative would also prevent law enforcement from engaging in roadside harassment tactics simply because they “suspect” a driver might be under the influence of weed.
“We think that if they (law enforcement officers) believe that if somebody is driving under the influence, which has happened several times, then they use that as a way to reach your amendments and actually do a search and call that reasonable cause,” Leck explained. “We’ve actually heard the story, they have red eyes from allergies. All of the sudden they are being pulled over, their rights are being violated, their car is being searched. If we eliminate that, we can keep intact some of our amendments guaranteed by both the state and U.S. Constitutions.”
The initiative suggests that marijuana legalization would save Missouri almost $11 million a year.
Similar measures have been attempted in the past, but so far none have been successful in making it on the ballot.