Marijuana | St. Louis Public Radio

Marijuana

Missouri voters could have several marijuana proposals to choose from this fall.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters could have several marijuana proposals to choose from this fall, along with ballot issues that seek to increase the state’s minimum wage and change Missouri’s process for crafting legislative districts.

Backers turned in signatures for six initiative-petition proposals by Sunday’s deadline. Four of them deal with marijuana.

Two of the proposals would legalize marijuana for medical use, while two others would legalize it for recreational use as well.

The Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation that would bar, in most instances, St. Louis from expending resources to enforce marijuana laws attracted mostly positive comments from city residents at an aldermanic committee hearing Tuesday night.

But Alderwoman Megan Green’s legislation received a less favorable reception from some of her colleagues, including the chairman of the committee hearing the bill.

peter.a photography | Flickr

In a bid to boost pro-pot efforts statewide, St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Green has filed a bill to bar city police from enforcing federal or state laws against marijuana.

Green said she has at least six co-sponsors for her bill that would, in effect, allow people to use, sell and grow marijuana within the city’s borders.

peter.a_photography | Flickr

With less than six months to go, at least one proposal to legalize medicinal use of marijuana in Missouri appears to be in a strong position to get on statewide ballots next year.

New Approach Missouri says it already has collected 100,000 signatures from registered voters, and expects to have well over the necessary 165,000 by the state’s May 6 deadline for submitting initiative petitions.

Colorful photos hang on the walls at HCI Alternatives in Collinsville. The marijuana dispensary is set up like a typical doctor's office.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A small building nestled off Interstate 70 in Collinsville looks like a typical doctor’s office, until you get inside and look up close at the colorful artwork on the walls. They’re portraits of marijuana plants.

At this dispensary, about 12 miles east of the Missouri border, patients and the medical staff have lively conversations about the various medical marijuana products available, from brownies and blueberry-flavored candies to transdermal patches.

StanJourdan | Flickr

Less than two weeks after the November 2014 election, only three proposed initiative petitions for the 2016 ballot had been filed with the Missouri secretary of state’s office.

But this time, less than two weeks after the November 8 election, the 2018 floodgates are already open. As of Thursday, at least 39 proposed initiative petitions have been filed. Dave Robertson, head of the political science department at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, ties the state’s early deluge of 2018 initiatives to voter unrest, nationally as well as locally.

Dozens of cannabis clones grow under high-intensity lights at BeLeaf's growing and processing facility in Earth City, Missouri.
File photo | Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri failed to pass the state legislature last session or qualify for the ballot next week, but nine pot-related measures are up for votes in other states on Election Day.  As laws and public opinion toward the cannabis plant continue shifting nationwide, the Show Me State is taking a wait-and-see approach.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Missouri voters will likely decide later this year whether to amend the state’s Constitution so that the General Assembly can require that all voters show a government-issued photo ID before casting a ballot.

The state House is expected to take final action today on the ballot proposal, called SJR53, after the Senate passed it late Wednesday by a vote of 24-8.  House approval is expected.

Gov. Jay Nixon has no voice in the proposed constitutional amendment, other than deciding whether it goes on the August or November statewide ballot.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Backers of medical marijuana want Missourians to decide if doctors can be allowed to prescribe the drug to critically ill patients.

Two ballot initiatives that would do just that were filed on Thursday.

Marshall Griffin/ St. Louis Public Radio

Sporting new shoes, convicted felon Jeff Mizanskey has left prison – and a life sentence -- to embark on what he hopes is a new life.

A native of Sedalia, Mizanskey has become a national symbol of the movement to decriminalize pot.

peter.a photography | Flickr

(Updated June 17 with latest arrest figures from Missouri Highway Patrol)

In the next week or so, pollsters will be contacting Missouri residents to ask if they support the idea of legalizing marijuana -- and, if so, under what circumstances.

Their responses could determine whether such a proposal appears on the 2016 statewide ballot.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is pardoning five people for non-violent offenses, some of them committed decades ago.  One of those pardoned was convicted for stealing $1.46.

But most of the attention that Nixon is receiving for Friday's announcement is focused on his decision to commute the life sentence of Jeffrey Mizanskey, who has become a major figure in the movement to decriminalize marijuana.

sign for medical marijuana
Wikimedia Commons

JEFFERSON CITY — Members of Show-Me Cannabis are hoping to persuade lawmakers to support legislation legalizing some marijuana use in Missouri. 

On Tuesday, the group, and dozens from around the state, roamed the capitol advocating for six bills the Senate and House will debate later this session.

John Payne, executive director of the group, said the bills are a sign that legalization is becoming more acceptable.

State Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome state Rep. Shamed Dogan to the podcast for the first time. 

  Dogan, R-Ballwin, is a Northwoods native who worked in Washington, D.C. after graduating from Yale University. Among other things, Dogan worked for former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Mo., and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will deliver the annual State of the State address on Wednesday night. Ahead of the speech, “St. Louis on the Air” asked its listeners to weigh in on what they want to hear from the governor.

Following are some of the responses we received. They have been edited for length and clarity.

Pam E.: I want to see Medicaid expanded, legalization of marijuana and improved infrastructure.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Missouri advocates for legalizing marijuana are hoping to capitalize on momentum after several Election Day wins across the country.

The organization Show-Me Cannabis filed a petition Wednesday to amend the state's constitution to allow the recreational use, possession and regulation of marijuana for adults over 21. The group would have to get about 165,000 signatures in order for an amendment initiative to be put on the 2016 statewide ballot, according to executive director John Payne.

Payne said he is confident Show-Me Cannabis can get the needed signatures.

sign for medical marijuana
Wikimedia Commons

The opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new industry has a Metro East entrepreneur moving forward with plans for a medical marijuana operation, even though there is no guarantee of being granted a license by the state of Illinois.

Mitch Meyers is a partner with NCC LLC, which stands for Nature's Care Company. She says the company has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into a potential cultivation center and dispensary near Marissa in St. Clair County.

How Much Could Missouri Make From Legalizing Pot?

Sep 23, 2014
peter.a photography | Flickr

Illinois legalized medical marijuana in January. Missouri lawmakers tossed around a few marijuana bills in their last session. Voters in Alaska, Florida, Oregon and Washington, D.C., will cast ballots in November on marijuana initiatives.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters of a Missouri prison inmate serving life without parole for a marijuana conviction are stepping up their efforts to persuade Gov. Jay Nixon to grant clemency.

Jeff Mizanskey, 61, of Sedalia, had two prior nonviolent convictions for possessing and selling marijuana when he was convicted a third time and sentenced in 1996 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He had been arrested in 1993 in a drug sting involving five pounds of marijuana. His brother, Mike Mizanskey, says all of Jeff's appeals have been exhausted.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Should marijuana be legalized? More than 50 percent of Americans think it should, according to a 2013 Gallup poll, but the issue is far from settled.  

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