“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of Oct. 24: Urging Caution Against an Unknown

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my apprehension about legalizing recreational marijuana in our state. I want you to know my opinion has not changed. In fact, the more I learn about Amendment 3, the more I am against it.

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to remove state prohibitions on the purchase, possession, consumption, use, delivery, manufacture and sale of marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of 21.

The amendment would also allow individuals with certain marijuana-related offenses to petition for release from prison or parole and probation, and have their records expunged, along with imposing a 6 percent tax on the retail price of recreational marijuana.

We have seen a growing number of people come out against this amendment, especially those who favor legalizing recreational marijuana. They are worried passage would cause too many uncertainties and make it difficult to react to basic program changes because it would be enshrined in the constitution. They are also worried it gives a few, large marijuana companies too much control over the market.

I am a steadfast “no” against Amendment 3. I do not believe this effort was well thought out, and too many unknowns remain, if it is passed. While I do not believe legalizing recreational marijuana is something we should do in our state, I am more opposed to putting it in the constitution, where it would take a statewide vote to make a change. The constitution is for enshrining fundamental rights in our state, not for protecting a cash grab for big marijuana companies.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.