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Recreational Marijuana, Criminal Justice Reform Might Land On Missouri’s 2022 Ballot

John Payne knows it’s time for Missouri to legalize recreational marijuana, but there’s something else he wants to go along with it: criminal justice reform.

Payne serves as a campaign manager for Legal Missouri 2022, a statewide coalition of activists, cannabis patients, criminal justice reform advocates and entrepreneurs. The organization hopes to put legal recreational weed on the 2022 ballot, filing a citizens’ ballot initiative on August 27. A petition will be created after it is approved by the secretary of state and will need signatures to get the measure on the ballot.

In addition to the legal use of marijuana, the ballot initiative will also include complete expungement of nonviolent marijuana offenders’ records.

“This is really one of the most profound criminal justice reforms that’s been proposed here in Missouri,” Payne says in an interview with the RFT. “What we’re talking about here is ending the prohibition on the adult use of marijuana and expunging records, in many cases automatically, so those people are no longer suffering the consequences of an arrest or conviction from five, ten, twenty years ago and are able to move on with their lives.”

Payne was part of the campaign that would’ve put recreational cannabis on the ballot in 2020, but COVID-19 had other plans and quickly disrupted the signature-gathering process. The new initiative is similar to that of 2020’s; it allows adults over 21 to use, grow and possess weed. The key difference in the two proposals is the automatic expungement. [Read More @ Riverfront Times]

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