Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuana in Missouri

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Recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, and next month Missouri voters could make the Show-Me State the 20th state to legalize it.

On this episode of 4Star Politics, supporters and opponents of Amendment 3 join FOX4’s John Holt and Dave Helling to weigh in on what the issue could mean for the state.

But first, if Missouri Amendment 3 passes, this is what would change in Missouri:

  • Recreational use of marijuana will be legal in the state. Currently, only media marijuana is allowed.
  • People will be allowed to grow marijuana within certain limits
  • It also introduces a licensing system to allow the sale of marijuana, similar to what medical marijuana did
  • Some non-violent marijuana offenses will be eliminated

The idea started as a petition, and supporters gathered enough signatures to put Amendment 3 on the ballot for the Nov. 8 election.

“It’s time for adults to get into the system, into the business, and frankly, stop criminalizing marijuana,” said Justice Gatson, Legal Missouri 2022.

Gatson and other supporters of Amendment 3 argue that convictions for some minor marijuana-related offenses often fall short of the crime.

“We’ve seen black and brown communities get sentenced higher, incarcerated more than our white siblings who do the same. Frankly, the traffic stop report in Missouri has been out for over 20 years and they tell us over and over again that black individuals do not carry more cannabis than anyone else,” Gatson said.

Gatson says many groups, such as the ACLU of Missouri, have tried for years to solve the problem without legalizing marijuana, and those efforts have failed.

However, there is still the problem that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and that brings other problems.

Opponents of Amendment 3 say many states that have legalized marijuana are still dealing with the problems they hoped the amendment would fix.

“[In Colorado] every fourth traffic accident is now associated with marijuana. Incidents of children on marijuana have skyrocketed. Marijuana addiction among children is 25 percent higher in Colorado and other states that have legalized compared to states that have not,” said Platte County District Attorney Eric Zahnd.

While some claim marijuana isn’t addictive, Zahnd says that’s no longer true.

“The marijuana we deal with today is completely different than the marijuana of the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1960s and 1970s, one to three percent THC. THC is the part that gets you high. Now? Somewhere between 18 and 23 percent and if you get into edibles and waxes, unlimited potency. 99 percent strong. This is very different,” Zahnd said.

Hear more arguments for and against Missouri Amendment 3 by watching the full episode of 4Star Politics in the video player above.

FOX4 and The Kansas City Star have teamed up to bring you 4Star Politics, a special venture with new episodes airing on FOX4 every Saturday at 5:30 and posted online at FOX4KC.com.

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