In critiquing bills and initiatives, it can be quite daunting trying to determine just exactly what it is that is motivating the author(s). Be assured – to date – I have yet to critique ANY policy – state or Federal – that had purely altruistic motivation. There is always a hidden agenda.
But what is the author(s) of THIS initiative really after? Here I will address each of the claims that are made on “Legal Missouri 2022’s website, then you can decide for yourself. One thing we have learned from these guys through past experience, you DON’T want to take them at their word.
On the “Legal MO 2022 website” they state:
“Legalize adult-use marijuana:
Allows Missourians 21 years and older to possess, purchase, consume and cultivate marijuana.”
Well, sort of. I didn’t come up with the title to this article thinking that this is somehow a more simplistic means to legalization. It most certainly is NOT. The word “dummies” actually refers to the author(s), and anyone who might think this is anything more than just a rehash of prohibitionist language in an attempt to push through “adult use”.
This initiative is deliberately quite difficult and tedious to read. Why would the author(s) do that? As we have seen with past initiatives that were put out by this bunch, their true motivations are usually buried in the text. They don’t want you or anyone else to know exactly what “shenanigans” they are up to. You can be assured, their goals include a big payday for profiteers (possibly within their own group?) at the expense of the Cannabis consumer and patient.
But hey, perhaps they have turned over a new leaf. Maybe, just maybe, this isn’t the big money-making recreational initiative that they told me that they were going to produce AFTER they pushed through their worthless “medical” bill (their words).
If it isn’t, it’s one Hell of a coincidence.
Just interchanging the word “legalize” with “adult-use” or “recreational” doesn’t make the three words synonymous. But then, much of this document is truly nothing more than a “shell game”. That is, it implies much but when actually examined, provides very little if anything… Little more than double-talk.
For Cannabis to truly be legal, its possession and use would have to be devoid of penalties. This initiative actually reinforces harsh penalties, and even creates some new ones of their own.
When I was drafting “Cannabis Restoration”, I spent a great deal of time examining and reexamining my words, looking for any and all possible ways that my words could be misconstrued. What I realized was that simplicity and honesty were my only hope to achieve that goal. Something that apparently escaped the author(s) of this document, though the very bulk of it all would lead one to perhaps another reason…?
“Section 2. Marijuana Legalization. Regulation. and Taxation”
They begin by saying,
“The purpose of this section is to make marijuana legal under state and local law for adults twenty-one years of age or older.”
…sounds promising…until you read on,
“…and to control the commercial production and distribution of marijuana under a system that licenses, regulates, and taxes the businesses involved while protecting public health. The intent is to prevent arrest and penalty for personal possession and cultivation of limited amounts of marijuana by adults twenty-one years of age or older; remove the commercial production and distribution of marijuana from the illicit market, prevent revenue generated from commerce in marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, prevent the distribution of marijuana to persons under twenty-one years of age): prevent the diversion of marijuana to illicit markets (those who don’t have a card), protect public health by ensuring the safety of marijuana and products containing marijuana: and ensure the security of marijuana facilities to the fullest extent possible, this section shall be interpreted in accordance with the purpose and intent set forth in this section,”
This is many words to basically outline heavy state government oversight. I’ve seen all this in other states. Believe me when I say, there will be a WHOLE lot more filled in later…and then continually there after.
The eventual goal is to see ALL Cannabis to eventually be produced through cultivation facilities and ALL sales to eventually, and exclusively go through dispensaries, to covet industry revenue and assure tax revenue – the author(s)’ promise to the state. And there by force patients and adult users to have to purchase the majority of their Cannabis and Cannabis products through their licensed facilities.
Of course, no worthless double-talk is complete without a “disclaimer” to render it all null, if it should become necessary.
“This section is not intended to allow for the public use of marijuana, driving while under the influence of marijuana, the use of marijuana in the workplace, or the use of marijuana by persons under twenty-one years of age.”
It’s a common political practice, really… making promises, then taking them back in a following line.
You might think, “That’s ok. I’m good with medicating within the privacy of my home. What’s more, I don’t need to medicate while I’m driving. And…I don’t have to medicate at work. I’m good.”
But are you good, really?
In the past year, how many times have YOU medicated away from home? …honestly? Did you drive to get where you were going? Did you drive yourself home? Seriously, be honest with yourself.
When it comes to drug tests, it really doesn’t matter if its been days. In some cases, it could have been a week or more since you last consumed Cannabis. So, regarding driving, if enforced, over 20% of Missouri’s citizenry would not be able to legally drive. But, you’ll be fine, as long as you don’t get pulled over, or have an accident (even if it’s not your fault).
Hey…there’s always Uber…
Your life can come all apart very quickly,… with just one arrest. I know this because I have had many years as a Cannabis patient and many years traveling this country. Even if you get your charges reduced, or even dismissed, much damage has already been done. Even though “advocacy groups” make light of it, the pain – physical, financial and emotional – has already been done.
I have interviewed quite a number of people who have suffered under prohibition. Good people, who just wanted to live their lives.
So, you see. This point is a half-truth. People would have “limited” access – and then only if they met special criteria. And if you screw up, the hammer will still come down… JUST as hard as before.
To possess and consume…
Cannabis would most certainly NOT be legal under this initiative.
What we DO see in this document is a very deliberate effort to establish a “recreational” industry while being very careful NOT to limit the harmful invasiveness of prohibition.
I can’t help but marvel when I read initiatives like this where “activists” so casually dictate fees and penalties. Cannabis patients, adult users and industry hopefuls should very carefully examine the motives of this author(s).
“Each indoor facility utilizing artificial lighting may be limited by the department to thirty thousand square feet of flowering plant canopy space. Each outdoor facility utilizing natural lighting may be limited by the department to two thousand eight hundred flowering plants. Each greenhouse facility using a combination of natural and artificial lighting may be limited by the department at the election of the licensee, to two thousand eight hundred flowering plants or thirty thousand…”
I have never been a fan of Cannabis laws that limit grow space by “canopy size” or “plant number”. It’s so terribly obvious that whoever came up with this crap had very little understanding of the varied growth characteristics of Cannabis.
Allows Missourians with nonviolent marijuana-related offenses to automatically expunge their criminal records (Similar programs in other states typically require those seeking to vacate convictions to first petition the courts, adding time and expenses).
No. Not even close. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING “automatic about their take on “expungement”.
“ (7) (a) Any person currently incarcerated in a prison. jail or halfway house. whether by trial or open or negotiated plea:
Who would not have been guilty or an adult or juvenile offense. had sections I and 2 of this Article been in effect at the time of the offense; or
Who would have been guilty of a lesser adult or juvenile offense had sections 1 and 2 of this Article been in effect at the time of the offense; or
(,iii) Who is serving a sentence for a marijuana offense which is a misdemeanor. a class E felony. or a class D felony, or successor designations. involving possession of three pounds or less of marijuana. excluding offenses involving distribution or delivery to a minor. any offenses involving or any offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana:
may petition the sentencing court to vacate the sentence, order immediate release from incarceration and other supervision by the department of corrections, and the expungement of all government records of the case. Such expungement from all government records shall be granted for all of the person’s applicable marijuana offenses, absent good cause for denial.”
…absent good cause for denial.
Do you have any idea just how much weight those words can carry?? This document makes considerable use of “phrases of deniability”.
“ The effect of such orders shall be to restore such person to the status the person occupied prior to such arrest. plea or conviction and as if such event had never taken place, and the conviction and sentence shall be vacated as legally invalid. No person for whom such order has been entered shall be held thereafter under any provision of any law to be guilty of perjury or otherwise giving a false statement by reason of the person’s failure to recite or acknowledge such arrest, plea, trial, conviction, or expungement in response to any inquiry made of the person for any purpose whatsoever, and no such inquiry shall be made for information relating to an expungement. The court shall not assess any filing fee for these filings. The office of the state public defender shall prepare and make readily available and accessible a pleading form that may be filed pro se for this purpose.”
Well, that’s largely all the author(s) would care for you to see, but there is more, much more.
You see, with this initiative, there are considerable limitations and conditions to amnesty and record expungement. It states that a Public Defender will “assist” with your “pleading form”. …good luck with that.
“The circuit courts of the state shall also make readily available and accessible this pleading form. Within ninety days of the effective date of this section. the sentencing court shall complete the adjudication for all cases involving only misdemeanor marijuana offenses. Within one hundred and eighty days of the effective date of this section, the sentencing court shall complete the adjudication for all cases involving class or successor designation. felony marijuana offenses and, if applicable, any additional marijuana misdemeanor offenses by such offenders. Within two hundred and seventy days of the effective date of this section, the sentencing court shall complete the adjudication for all class D. or successor designation, felony cases involving three pounds or less of marijuana, as well as any lesser marijuana offenses by such offenders. if applicable. This shall not apply to offenses while operating a commercial motor vehicle as defined in 49 CFR 390.5, or its successor provisions: in interstate or intrastate transportation unless otherwise exempted as found in section 307.400. RSMo. or its successor provisions.”
As you may have guessed, “expungement” is going to be one long and arduous process if this were to pass,. …and it could get expensive. Even if some part of your legal expenses are absorbed by the Public Defender’s office, you can expect many half-days off from work – and loss of work if your employer is not sympathetic or is lacking in patience. Of course, there’s added daycare, and transportation expense and… Well, I’ll let you ponder on that thought.
Essentially, to be considered for “expungement”, you have to have been found guilty of a misdemeanor or a lesser felony, possession of three pounds or less of Cannabis, your charges can IN NO WAY involve a motor vehicle or a gift to, or tolerance of consumption by a minor.
If you think about it, that eliminates a good many of those seeking their records cleared.
“…excluding distribution or delivery to a minor, any such offenses involving violence, or any offense of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.”
But wait… What really is this author’s definition of “expungement”?
“The court shall keep a special index of cases that have been expunged together with the expungement order and the certificate issued pursuant to this subsection. The index shall list only the name of the person convicted of the offense. his or her date of birth, the docket number, and the criminal offense that was the subject of the expungement. ThIs special index and related documents shall be confidential and shall be physically and electronically segregated in a manner that ensures confidentiality and that limits access to authorized persons. The court may permit special access to the index and the documents for research purposes pursuant to the rules for public access to court records. The index and documents made available by the court may not include any identifying information.”
That’s right. Even with all the time, work and expense, it’s actually…
not really expungement at all.
If THEY were to deem it necessary, THEY could still access your past records, because your past records are NOT REALLY DESTROYED.
I’ve seen this “double-talk” in a number of initiatives and state bills. It’s meant to make you feel good without really giving you ANYTHING, and most of all, assuring law enforcement and the courts that the actions of this initiative will only minorly diminish the punishments that they will continue to perpetrate on the helpless. You can expect nothing less from opportunistic lawyers and divisive activists, playing both sides against the middle.
So, this “expungement” is only for a select few, mostly those fined for very small, recreational amounts. Like so much of this initiative, it’s just another sham.
Boost state tax revenues:
Levies 6% state tax on retail sales of marijuana. Beyond covering administrative expenses and the costs to process automatic expungements, any remaining surplus will be split equally between veterans’ healthcare, drug addiction treatment, and Missouri’s underfunded public defender system.
Somehow these guys think this is a good thing. Why would a Cannabis consumer be excited about the price of their Cannabis being artificially inflated by ridiculous taxes?
As I have spoken on this subject quite extensively, “excise taxes”, which is what this is, are nothing more than “sin” taxes. These are taxes that are created to DISCOURAGE use. We see these taxes on things like cigarettes and alcohol. Both of which are carcinogens and have caused tremendous harm and death to humans all over the world. Obviously, creating a “sin” tax that is levied on a specific group of people who are doing NO harm to themselves or anyone else, is in itself, an injustice, but then to defend the “sin” tax by using a portion of it to pay for their slip-shot effort of “expungement” and a handout to veterans…? Can we really go along with their “flim-flamory”?
Allows local governments to assess local sales taxes of up to 3%. State officials project additional annual revenue of at least $40.8 million and additional local government revenues of at least $13.8 million.
Cannabis didn’t create the need for “expungement”. Draconian laws created by profiteering prohibitionists are the real reason so many have suffered under prohibition for nearly a hundred years. The injustices experienced by our veterans wasn’t brought on by Cannabis. They were the product of an unjust and fascist military . The short-falls of our healthcare system didn’t develop because cancer patients chose Cannabis rather than lethal pharmaceuticals. The reason we have a drug problem in this country is DIRECTLY because of an unbridled legal drug industry.
Knowing all of this, it’s mind numbing to think that the author(s) of this initiative STILL had no problem with saddling Cannabis consumers with upwards of a 9% “sin” tax to pay for it all.
New business licenses:
“Seeks to broaden industry participation by small business owners and among disadvantaged populations, including those with limited capital, residents of high-poverty communities, service-disabled veterans, and those previously convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses.
In the following lines, its apparent that the author(s) was inspired by the Federal bill, the “MORE ACT”.
“In addition to other requirements established by this section. an applicant for a marijuana microbusiness license shall be majority-owned by individuals who each meet at least one of the following qualifications:
(a) Have a net worth of less than $250,000 and have had an income below two hundred and fifty percent of the federal poverty level ($44,022.50), or successor level, as set forth in the applicable calendar year’s Federal Poverty Income Guidelines, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or its successor agency, for at least three of the ten calendar years prior to applying for a marijuana microbusiness facility license: or
(b) Have a valid service-connected disability card issued by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, or successor agency or
(c) Be a person who has been, or a person whose parent, guardian or spouse has been arrested for, prosecuted for, or convicted of a non-violent marijuana offense, except for a conviction involving provision of marijuana to a minor, or a conviction of driving under the influence of marijuana. The arrest, charge, or conviction must have occurred at least one year prior to the effective date of this section, or
(d) Reside in a ZIP code or census track area where:
(i) Thirty percent or more of the population lives below the federal poverty level; or
(ii) The rate of unemployment is fifty percent higher than the state average rate of unemployment: or
(iii) The historic rate of incarceration for marijuana-related offenses is fifty percent higher than the rate for the entire state: or
(e) Graduated from a school district that was unaccredited, or had a similar successor designation at the time of graduation, or has lived in a zip code containing an unaccredited school district or similar successor designation. for three of the past five years.
Sounds relatively politically correct, doesn’t it? Just like the “MORE” Act. The “MORE” Act is being pushed pretty heavy by national “activist” organizations. In a time when we are all becoming far more sensitive to economic and racial injustices, leveling the odds certainly seems righteous. But when you read the rest of this initiative carefully, it becomes clear that these lines are nothing more than additional “bait”, inserted to justify the document AS A WHOLE, and in so doing, downplay their real motives.
The problems of inequality are not solved by punishing yet another persecuted group (the Cannabis consumer). As other lines demonstrate, the author(s) show absolutely NO sensitivity regarding the fact that Cannabis consumers have endured persecution for nearly a hundred years. Racial prejudice, like our military’s abandonment of our veterans, is a systemic problem that stretches back over decades. Our nation must certainly make reparations, but that should fall on state and Federal Governments– our lawmakers and our military – those who actually committed the crimes. THEY should be held responsible. THEY should be charged with developing the proper solutions and paying for it, rather than saddling the innocent with THEIR “Sin” taxes.
When evaluating legislation, it’s vitally important to look at the WHOLE document. In other words, “seize the bait, and not the hook”, something I have preached for over three decades. This document definitely has the hooks! They’re hidden, but they are there. Bleeding Cannabis consumers to pay for services that should rightfully come out of the general fund is just wrong.
All new license holders will be selected at random, by lottery.”
Hmmm. A lottery. Commercial zoning that normally determines which businesses will serve the community best in which locations is not the primary concern? Not even considered? …because, and only because we’re dealing with Cannabis?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to issue licenses the way the state issues ALL business licenses? Of course, we can see by most Missouri communities, that businesses are not necessarily held to a standard that best serves its surrounding residents, but if you’re trying to set some precedent, wouldn’t you want it to be equitable for all?
Cannabis dispensaries and support businesses will soon fill virtually every street across the Midwest. Why? Because Midwest consumers want the products. It’s simple as that. Just because backward thinking lawmakers and selfish profiteers want to squeeze the industry through a funnel, doesn’t mean they can curb the desires of the Cannabis consumer.
Licenses should go to those who qualify, for regions where a Cannabis business best serves the community, not issued through a game of chance.
Strengthens Missouri medical marijuana program:
Extends amount of time that medical marijuana patient and caregiver ID cards are valid from one to three years while keeping that cost low ($25). And the current $100 fee for Missourians who choose to grow medical marijuana at home will be reduced by half, with the expiration period also extended from one to three years.
Though I question much of this initiative, there are a few good points. The problem is that they are quite deliberately weaved through lines of prohibitionist jargon and ridiculous penalties.
“…Extends amount of time that medical marijuana patient and caregiver ID cards are valid from one to three years while keeping that cost low ($25). And the current $100 fee for Missourians who choose to grow medical marijuana at home will be reduced by half, with the expiration period also extended from one to three years.”
Extending the licenses on patient cards, caregivers and cultivation licenses, from one to three years…well, if we have to deal with licenses to grow a plant that is less toxic than a potato and positively treats cancer… I guess we have to rejoice in small victories. Understand, of course, that we only have these fees because we have to pay for the administrative costs of employing and maintaining a licensing and regulating department.
“…cultivate up to six flowering marijuana plants, six nonflowering marijuana plants (over fourteen inches tall). and six clones (plants under fourteen inches tall), for the exclusive use of that qualifying patient.”
Including an additional and equal compliment of “clones” is huge.
“Possession of between the legal limit and up to twice the legal limit shall subject the possessor to department sanctions, including an administrative penalty of up to two hundred dollars and loss of their patient identification card for up to a year. Purposefully possessing amounts in excess of twice the legal limit shall be punishable by imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to two thousand dollars as an infraction under applicable law.”
The monetary penalties are ridiculously harsh, but to deny a patient their medical Cannabis card…and for up to a year? That is
Does the author(s) understand that SOME Missouri patients are treating very serious chronic and terminal illness with Cannabis? Would the author(s) deny a diabetic his or her insulin? If they could break free of their “recreational” mindset, they might just see how there greed is harming the very ones this program was designed to serve.
“Production of the respective substantially equivalent identification card or authorization issued by another state or political subdivision of another state shall also meet the requirements of this subdivision… shall allow for the purchase of medical marijuana for use by a non-resident patient from a medical marijuana dispensary facility as permitted by this section and in compliance with department regulations.”
Allowing “out of state” patients the right to purchase their Cannabis medicine here is only right.
“In the process of requesting a search or arrest warrant relating to the production, possession, transportation or storage of marijuana, a state or local law enforcement official shall verify with the department whether the targeted person is a qualifying patient or primary caregiver holding an identification card allowing for cultivation of marijuana plants under subdivision (12) of subsection 3 of this section, and shall inform the issuing authority accordingly when making the warrant request. Evidence of marijuana alone. without specific evidence indicating that the marijuana is outside of what is lawful for medical or adult use, cannot be the basis for a search of a patient or non-patient, including their home, vehicle or other property. Lawful marijuana related activities cannot be the basis for a violation of parole. probation. or any type of supervised release. State and local law enforcement shall only have access to such department information as is necessary to confirm whether the targeted person holds a registration card.”
I don’t know about you, but I have a REAL problem with this last paragraph. Having the “department” working WITH law enforcement seems terribly invasive. There just seems to be so many ways that this could be misused. If a person’s medical card or cultivation permit were to lapse, their life could be destroyed in an instant. What’s more, no doubt, law enforcement would begin using this conveniently gleaned information as the very REASON for the warrants.
There are some rather curious protections included for attorneys. Basically protects attorneys who are doing virtually ANYTHING within the Cannabis industry, guarding them from prosecution ALL OF THE WAY TO THE SUPREME COURT. A rather scary amount of leniency, wouldn’t you think?
Rather narrows one’s opinion regarding who might be the author(s) of this initiative, doesn’t it?“
“Notwithstanding any provision of Article V to the contrary. an attorney shall not be subject to disciplinary action by the Supreme Court of Missouri. the office of chief disciplinary counsel. the state bar association. any state agency: or any professional licensing body.”
Here’s an interesting one.
“6) No individual shåll serve as the primary caregiver for more than [three] six qualifying patients. No primary caregiver cultivating marijuana for more than one qualifying patient may exceed a total of twenty-four flowering plants.“
So, caregivers would be able to service six patients rather than just three, but cannot exceed a total of twenty-four flowering plants. Let’s break that down.
The way it was…
Three patients(6+6+6) + caregiver’s plants(6) = max. 24 flowering plants Each patient can have 6 flowering plants.
The way it would be with “Legal MO 2022″…
Six patients(3+3+3+3+3+3) + caregiver’s plants(6) = max. 24 flowering plants Each patient would have 3 flowering plants. The caregiver would still have 6. Wouldn’t it be more fair to increase the maximum number of flowering plants to at least 42 so that everyone would have the basic number of plants?
$100 FINE FOR SMOKING OUTSIDE A LICENSED AREA
(6) A person who smokes medical marijuana in a public place other than in an area licensed for such activity by the department or by local authorities having jurisdiction over the licensing or permitting of said activity is subject to a civil penalty not exceeding one hundred dollars.
Penalties…lots of penalties. And for what??
$1000 FINE FOR PRODUCING CONCENTRATES IN YOUR HOME
- (l) No person shall extract resins from marijuana using dangerous materials or combustible gases without a medical marijuana-infused products manufacturing facility license. Violation of this prohibition shall subject the violator to department sanctions, including an administrative penalty of one thousand dollars for a patient or primary caregiver and ten thousand dollars fora facility licensee and, if applicable, loss of their identification card, certificate, or license for up to one year.
This is a big one. For the profiteers, it’s just one more effort to secure more revenue. For the Cannabis patient, particularly for those fighting terminal disease, this is
So, we pass a program that is supposed to, first and foremost, be for those battling very serious, chronic or terminal illness, that does not respond well to conventional treatment. A medical Cannabis program meant new found hope for those who suffer most.
We have known for years that Cannabis oil could shrink cancerous tumors and stop lethal seizures. The ability to grow and prepare one’s own medicine would mean that patients could not only have access to Cannabis, but also afford their medicine and tailor it to their individual needs.
At least, that was the idea. Of course, the profiteers had other plans. Apparently, in their eyes, anything of value should come with a price. So, under the guise of “safety”, they make the production of Cannabis oil at home illegal, forcing patients – WHO MUST HAVE THIS OIL – to have to pay a $1000 fine every time they get caught, or pay dispensary prices, or pay someone to process their home grown plant material.
It doesn’t matter that we can prove that the production of Cannabis oil does not have to create any kind of safety hazard. The powers-that-be and the profiteers don’t care. Because it really doesn’t have anything to do with protecting patients. It’s just about money.
Our money, in their pockets.
So, when it comes to our most vulnerable, the authorities are going to have to look the other way, but I wouldn’t count on that. You know, one would think that our chronically and terminally ill have endured enough. It’s apparent that the author(s) don’t think so.
Allows local communities to opt-out of adult-use retail marijuana sales through a vote of the people.
Yeah… This initiative, like the “medical” bill before it, allows communities the option to “opt-out”.
Apparently, this is the author(s) attempt at being “just” to everyone… but even the prohibitionists?… By restricting the rights of the Cannabis consumer and patient? Shall we list all of the businesses that are state tolerates that cause obvious HARM to the community? Liquor stores, bars, pharmacies, etc.?
Let’s bring things back into focus, if we could. This initiative is SUPPOSED TO grant greater freedoms and protections for the Cannabis consumer… the medical patient AND the adult consumer. The main question is,
Does it do that?
In some limited ways…yes. But only with Missourians being forced to accept into their state’s Constitution a bunch of prohibitionist language and some VERY nasty penalties… all while solidifying specific benefits for those in the “industry”.
I’m all for an ever growing Cannabis industry, if its a fair, legal and equitable industry. That is what we should be building toward – not distancing ourselves from. Our system of government was originally designed with the intention of perpetual improvement. If that were implemented today, our most vulnerable would not have to fear life almost as much as death. I have been at the side of far too many who have.
NEVER support ANY law that dictates the scope of your liberties. If ANY law does not improve life, don’t allow it to rule over you.
If you’d like to see what REAL legalization looks like, checkout “Cannabis Restoration“.
“Cannabis is nontoxic. Cannabis is food. Cannabis is the single most important medicine of the 21st century.”