As of this time next week, residents in neighboring Illinois will be able to legally purchase and consume recreational marijuana as it becomes the 11th state to legalize the once demonized drug.
In the much more conservative state of Missouri, however, out of the nearly 1,000 bills prefiled for the 2020 legislative session, only seven are related to marijuana and none of those are calling for its legalization yet.
As the session progresses and as Missouri lawmakers will see the positive or negative results of the Illinois plan to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, more bills may be filed here in the coming months as the session runs until mid-May.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker estimated $170 million in revenue from licensing fees in 2020, though that amount later was reduced to $57 million. The state projects that taxes could raise $375 million annually after the program grows over the next five years.
In Missouri, baby steps have been taken in the past two years with measures passed allowing the growing and harvesting of industrial hemp in 2018 and the use of medical marijuana in 2019.
The 2018 industrial hemp bill signed by then Gov. Eric Greitens, was sponsored by former State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Union.
Also in 2018, Missouri voters approved an initiative petition legalizing medical marijuana by a statewide margin of 65 to 35 percent, garnering 1,572,592 in favor of and 826,777 against.
In Franklin County, the measure passed with a 60 to 39 percent margin, with 25,632 votes for and 17,025 against.
Ballot language for Amendment 2 asked to amend the Missouri Constitution to:
• Allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing/certification procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;
• Impose a 4 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana; and
• Use funds from these taxes for health and care services for military veterans by the Missouri Veterans Commission and to administer the program to license/certify and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities.
The proposal was estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $18 million for state operating costs and veterans programs, and $6 million for local governments.
Annual state operating costs are estimated to be $7 million.
Here is a list of prefiled bills in the Missouri Legislature relating to marijuana thus far:
HB137 — Adds provisions relating to minority stake interests in medical marijuana businesses.
HB138 — Requires the court to expunge certain marijuana offenses.
HB1455 — Prevents the state government from sharing medical marijuana user or applicant information with the federal government and others.
HB1740 — Provides that placement of a child in an adoptive home shall not be delayed or denied on the basis that a prospective adoptive parent has a medical marijuana card or works in the medical marijuana industry.
HB1896 — Adds provisions relating to background checks in the medical marijuana industry.
HJR72 — Directs a percentage of medical marijuana tax revenue to a dedicated fund for University of Missouri School of Law Veterans Clinic.
SB764 — Prohibits certain types of marketing of medical marijuana products.
What to Know
The closest licensed recreational marijuana dispensary to Franklin County is located in Collinsville, Ill.
Although marijuana will be legal in Illinois, current laws in Missouri are still in effect and bringing the substance across the state lines will be a crime.
The city of St. Louis is not prosecuting marijuana possession under 35 grams and St. Louis County will not prosecute possession under 100 grams, according to prosecutors in those jurisdictions.
According to reports, beginning Jan. 1, 2020, adults over the age of 21 will be able to legally