Missouri Attorneys Using “Right to Farm” Amendment To Defend Marijuana Growers
Farming is a very big part of life in Missouri I’m told. One of the co-owners of this blog, Travis, is from Missouri. Jay Smoker, one of the other co-owners of this blog, has traveled to Missouri a handful of times. Both of them have told me about about Missouri’s farmland and big agricultural industry. Protecting that industry has been important in Missouri for a long time. So important that there is a thing called the ‘Right to Farm’ amendment on the books. The amendment states, “the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.”
But does that amendment apply to marijuana farming? Attorneys defending people who are being charged with felony marijuana cultivation think so. Per the Columbia Missourian:
“The language of ‘Right to Farm’ is so very broad that it’s startling,” Carver said. “I just started thinking about it, and it just dawned on me that if you read this language, it sounds like growing marijuana is permitted.”
The amendment was put on the ballot by the Republican-controlled state legislature. It was approved by voters statewide in August by 2,375 votes out of almost 1 million ballots cast, and survived a recount.
Carver filed a motion last week in Cole County Circuit Court arguing, in part, that even though growing pot is illegal under Missouri law, those statutes are unconstitutional because they violate Amendment 1.
Cole County Prosecutor Mark Richardson did not return calls seeking comment. Circuit Judge Daniel Green presides over the case.
Columbia-based attorney Dan Viets filed a similar motion in February on behalf of two of his clients.
“Any state statute that prohibits cultivation of marijuana was automatically rendered invalid by the passage of Right to Farm,” Viets said.
It’s unclear how this will play out, but I feel that if the true intent of the amendment is to protect farming, and the way the language is written, it should protect all farming, including marijuana cultivation. I will be rooting for the attorneys in these cases, and I’m hopeful for a favorable outcome. Seeing Missouri legalize marijuana cultivation is something that I hope to see sooner than later, as marijuana prohibition in Missouri has harmed way too many lives, including the lives of some of my very good friends. Go get ’em Missouri!