Missourians may have a chance to vote on whether to legalize marijuana in the State, but not this election year. Executive Director of Show-Me Cannabis, John Payne says while both national and state polling show strong support for legalizing marijuana, the group felt this was not the right year for a ballot initiative because of historically low voter turnout in midterm elections:
Several bills before the Missouri Legislature would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, as well as some measures to reduce criminal penalties for marijuana possession. Payne says his organization has just wrapped up a series of town hall meetings across the state to raise awareness of the issue, which drew large crowds and differing opinions:
While some law enforcement officials fear that legalizing marijuana would have negative effects on the state, Payne points to Colorado and Washington, where he says legalizing marijuana has not led to an increase in crime or chaos.