By Dan Viets, Show-Me Cannabis Regulation Board Chair
Legislation which would tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco may be filed by two Missouri state legislators.
Representative Chris Kelly of Columbia stated in a public meeting on Friday, November 9 that he is seriously considering filing a marijuana legalization bill. He spoke to the Boone County Muleskinners, a progressive Democrats’ organization.
Kelly was disappointed by the failure of the tobacco tax on the November 6 ballot. The potential bonanza of cannabis taxation is likely part of the reason he is considering this action. He was asked about the passage of legalization in Colorado and Washington, and after announcing his intention to introduce a legalization measure, those present responded with a round of rousing applause.
Representative Rory Ellinger of University City, during a meeting sponsored by the Missouri Association for Social Welfare in St. Louis on Monday, November 5 said that he too is considering filing such a bill. He has since stated that he would probably join as co-sponsor if Representative Kelly decides to file.
The Missouri General Assembly would have a great deal of company if a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate cannabis is introduced this year. Legislators in Maine and Rhode Island have already announced their intention to file legalization measures in their respective states, and similar proposals are expected to be introduced in Vermont and Massachusetts.
Prefiling of legislation to be considered during the 2013 session of the Missouri General Assembly begins on Saturday, December 1. All supporters of marijuana law reform in Missouri should immediately contact their state representative to urge those politicians sign on as co-sponsors of legalization legislation. Please contact your representative immediately with a short, respectful message urging him or her to contact Representative Kelly and Representative Ellinger to offer to co-sponsor this legislation. Go to the Missouri House of Representatives’ website to find your representative’s contact information by entering your ZIP code in the box located on the right side of the page under “Legislator Look-up”.