Missourians voted to legalize recreational marijuana on November 8, 2022. What does this mean for businesses and residents of the Cave State?
Map Courtesy: National Conference of State Legislature (NCSL)
Legalization creates a free market, allowing businesses interested in selling adult non-medical use cannabis products to obtain licenses.
However, for many, marijuana laws are still unclear. So, in this post, as seasoned drug charge lawyers, we’re going to talk about:
• What’s behind the push for recreational marijuana laws?
• How these marijuana laws will affect residents
• How these cannabis laws will affect businesses
What’s behind the push for recreational marijuana laws?
Cannabis is the most prevalently used drug.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asserts that marijuana is the country’s most prevalent federally illegal drug.
• 89.5% of American adults report using marijuana for recreational purposes, while,
• 10.5% report using cannabis for medical reasons and,
• 36.1% report using the drug for both medical and recreational reasons.
8.2 million people were arrested for marijuana-related crimes between 2001 and 2010. What’s amazing is that 88% of these arrests were for simply being in possession of the drug.
The cannabis industry is big business.
It would be wrong to assume that the only push for legalizing recreational marijuana comes from civilian sectors.
Marijuana is big business.
In 2021, the U.S. marijuana market was valued at $10.8 billion – expected to grow at a CAGR of 14.9% between 2022 and 2030. Conservative estimates anticipate the market to reach $40 billion by 2030.
Others are more bullish, with some of the country’s leading researchers projecting sales to reach $57 billion by 2030 – $72 billion if the remaining 18 states open their markets.
As of December 2021, states which have legalized cannabis have collectively amassed $10.4 billion in tax revenue from the sale of marijuana products. Here’s a state-by-state breakdown if you’re keen to see more numbers.
With all this background, let’s get into the legal side.
How these new marijuana laws will affect residents.
This initiative constitutional amendment makes it lawful for Missouri residents 21 years and older to possess up to three ounces of cannabis at any given time.
If you’ve ever been convicted of nonviolent cannabis-related misdemeanors under Initiative 2022-59, you have legal recourse to have your records sealed or destroyed.
But there is a limit. If your marijuana case involved driving a car under the influence of cannabis or distribution to a minor, then you will not be eligible for expungement.
Marijuana-related enterprises are expected to provide the state with additional cash flow through tax revenues. At 6%, this state tax has already been earmarked to
● Cover the costs of automatic expungements,
● Assist with veterans’ healthcare costs,
● Support drug addiction treatments,
● Boost Missouri’s public defender system
How these new cannabis laws will affect businesses.
We can’t talk about business without addressing the tax issues. State officials predict $13.8 million in additional local government revenues.
To guarantee equal access to dispensaries selling medical cannabis and retailers selling recreational marijuana, new businesses will be distributed as follows:
● Six dispensaries in each of the eight congregational districts and,
● Eighteen recreational cannabis retailers per district.
If you already possess a license and are currently operating a medical-only facility, you can now offer recreational and medical use marijuana to your clients.
What about those not wanting to operate a dispensary or retail unit? Initiative 2022-59 means operators will be able to not only cultivate cannabis but also go into the manufacture and distribution of hemp-derived products. They can become brokers of concentrates, edibles, topicals, tinctures, and vape cartridges.
As you can see, the issues surrounding the legalization of cannabis in Missouri are numerous. From using cannabis in the workplace to the implications of being involved in an accident in which you, or others, are injured, a seasoned criminal defense attorney can help you navigate the system should you find yourself facing charges related to cannabis.
For personalized legal guidance, call our office at 417-882-9300 or submit this form to schedule a meeting with an attorney.