The Missouri state legislature will consider a proposed state constitutional amendment that would allow the voters to decide on the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes.
House Joint Resolution 15 (HJR15) was pre-filed on Dec. 5 by State Rep. Brandon Ellington (D-Kansas City). It will be introduced officially in early 2015. If it is passed through the state house and then the state senate, it bypasses the governor's desk and goes to a vote of the people on a ballot measure in Nov. 2016.
HJR15 reads, in part:
In the interest of the efficient use of law enforcement resources, enhancing revenue for public purposes, and individual freedom, the people of the state of Missouri find and declare that the use of marijuana should be legal for persons twenty-one years of age or older and taxed in a manner similar to alcohol.
Furthermore, HJR15 allows for Missouri residents to grow up to six plants, possess up to one ounce of marijuana, transfer up to one ounce of marijuana, distribute paraphernalia such as smoking devices, and consume marijuana in a private residence without being prosecuted or subjected to seizure of money and property under civil asset forfeiture laws.
Rep. Ellington introduced a similar measure during the 2014 legislative session that would have put it to the voters to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for people aged 21 or older. That resolution, HJR86, was not successful but two more states deciding to legalize marijuana this year has put the momentum squarely on the side of the cannabis freedom activists.
This year, Oregon, Alaska and Washington D.C. tossed aside ridiculous federal mandates and decided to legalize marijuana in spite of decades-long prohibition to the contrary. They ignored all of the propaganda, and decided to take policy-making into their own hands. The rising tide in favor of legalization can no longer be denied. The results in Colorado are especially harmful to the arguments of the prohibitionists.
According to a June 2014 report from the Drug Policy Alliance, the legalization experiment in Colorado has resulted in less criminal behavior, more tax revenue for essential government services, the reduction of strain in our overcrowded prison system and an economic uptick. The ridiculous talking ‘Reefer Madness’ talking points that have been repeated ad infinitum for so many years by the drug warriors are finally being disproven, once and for all.
The great thing about these types of reforms is that they are completely Constitutional, and there is nothing the feds can do about it.
Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. But the opinions of black-robed judicial oracles don’t magically transform the meaning of the Constitution. It delegates no power to regulate plants grown and used within the borders of a state. And the so-called war on drugs rests on the same legal authority as all of the other modern-day undeclared wars.
Never-the-less, 23 states had already put the well-being of their citizens above faux federal supremacy, nullified the unconstitutional prohibition and legalized marijuana to varying degrees anyway.
The message? When enough people say NO to unconstitutional federal “laws” – and enough states back them up, there’s not much the feds can do about it.
The Constitution delegates no power to the federal government to prohibit marijuana in the states. This power remains with the state governments and the people. Doubt this? Then ask yourself why it required a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol. There is no fundamental difference.
This Missouri proposal has it right. Let the people decide if they want legalized marijuana. And if they do, the heck with the feds.
The momentum is on our side, but Missouri cannot legalize marijuana without your help. Rep. Ellington needs support for his bill to achieve victory.
If you live in Missouri, call your state representatives and politely urge them to co-sponsor HJR15 put marijuana legalization to the voters. Call your state senators as well, and urge them to introduce similar legislation in their chamber. You can find their contact information HERE.
If you do not live in Missouri, you can still work to fight cannabis prohibition in your state. Call your state legislators and urge them to introduce a bill that fights cannabis prohibition such as our P.E.A.C.E. Act. You can find their contact information HERE.