Missouri’s new marijuana law went into effect this month, making it legal for anyone older than 21 to buy, possess, deliver, use, manufacture and sell marijuana in the state. It also sets the stage for thousands of Missourians to have their criminal records expunged, a move that some say is a step in the right direction for criminal justice reform. However, elected leaders and activists are divided on the new law, with some critics arguing that it doesn’t go far enough to create an equal playing field for those looking to get licensed.
Researchers estimate marijuana sales in the United States could soar to $57 million by 2030. But it’s an industry that experts and advocates say largely excludes people of color – specifically Black people — with the vast majority of marijuana businesses in the United States being led by white people.
Amendment 3 in Missouri was passed with 53 percent of the vote in November, making Missouri the 21st state to legalize recreational marijuana. Maryland voters favored a similar amendment during the midterm elections, and Rhode Island’s General Assembly made recreational marijuana legal back in May. However, efforts to pass similar legislation failed last month in Arkansas, South Dakota and North Dakota.
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