US (MO): House takes up cannabis legalization in push to sink ballot question

Cannabis activists lined up Tuesday to urge Missouri lawmakers to move quickly to fully legalize cannabis and derail a competing ballot initiative backed by existing medical cannabis businesses.

The Cannabis Freedom Act, sponsored by Rep. Ron Hicks, R-Defiance, combines numerous cannabis-related bills into one but at its core legalizes possession and use of the drug for individuals 21 and older.

Supporters said Missouri lawmakers should blunt momentum for Legal Missouri 2022, a campaign currently collecting signatures for the Nov. 8 ballot. That plan would give current medical cannabis businesses the first shot at full adult-use sales and keep in place the state’s ability to limit licenses.

Hicks, during a hearing of the House Public Safety Committee, cast his bill as the last best shot for lawmakers to weigh in on the topic before voters do so through a proposed change to the state constitution. Medical cannabis was approved in 2018 when Missouri voters approved a constitutional change.

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