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Amendment 3 levies a 6% retail sales tax on recreational marijuana.
SBJ file
Amendment 3 levies a 6% retail sales tax on recreational marijuana.

Missourians legalize recreational marijuana

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Missouri voters gave the green light to recreational marijuana on Election Day.

Amendment 3 was approved by 53.1% of the vote, according to the unofficial election results from the Missouri secretary of state's office. In Greene County, the amendment was favored by 52.5% of voters, according to the Greene County clerk's unofficial election results.

The amendment goes into effect Dec. 8, and existing dispensaries will be able to sell recreational marijuana as early as February if they apply for expanded licenses, according to reporting by the Springfield News-Leader.

Amendment 3 imposes a 6% retail sales tax and allows local governments to assess an additional local sales tax of up to 3%. The retail sales tax would generate estimated annual revenue of at least $40.8 million, according to state officials. The optional local sales tax could bring in at least $13.8 million for local governments, according to past reporting.

Also approved in the vote is the automatic expungement of the criminal records of Missourians with nonviolent marijuana-related offenses.

The amendment creates a new category of cannabis licenses reserved for small businesses. The microbusinesses would be selected through a lottery, adding at least 144 licensed facilities to the roughly 350 licensed and certified cannabis businesses operating in the state. There would be 18 in each of the state’s eight congressional districts, and six per district would operate as dispensaries with the remainder as wholesale facilities, according to past reporting.

Legal Missouri 2022, which got the issue on the Nov. 8 ballot, recognized the successful vote in a Facebook post.

"Today, Missourians took a huge step forward by becoming the 20th state to legalize marijuana for adult use. Missouri also made history by being the first state in the nation to automatically expunge past, nonviolent marijuana offenses by a vote of the people," said John Payne, campaign manager for Legal Missouri 2022, in the post. "This enormous step forward for criminal justice reform will result in hundreds of thousands of Missourians having their records cleared, at no cost to them, for an activity that is now legal.

"Missouri will see millions in new revenue pour in each year for veterans’ health care, drug treatment and our severely underfunded public defender’s office."

Missouri voters previously passed medical marijuana legislation in 2018.

Other amendments
The recreational marijuana ballot measure wasn't the only amendment up for vote yesterday.

Missourians decided against Amendment 1, which would have granted the General Assembly authority to invest state funds and expand the state treasurer’s investment options.

A win was delivered for Amendment 4, which allows the General Assembly to increase minimum funding for a police force established by a state board of police commissioners, according to past reporting.

Amendment 5, which creates the Missouri Department of the National Guard, passed.

Missourians voted against a question on the ballot that sought for a convention to be called to revise and amend the Constitution.

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