Saying The War on Drugs has Failed Communities and Stretched Police Departments a national organization comprised of police, prosecutors, judges and other law enforcement professionals has announced support of Missouri’s Amendment 3 on November’s ballot which would, if passed, legalize recreational possession and use of marijuana.

The Law Enforcement Action Partnership or LEAP says in a statement marijuana arrests and convictions have taxed the resources of  local police departments and caused real harm to neighborhoods.

Retired Police Lt. Diane Goldstein who serves as LEAP’s executive director the response to low-level marijuana offenses divert attention from responding to and solving more serious crimes., adding that such cases are a distraction and don’t serve the public interest.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have approved similar legalization measures.

 

Read their release below:

 

The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) announces their strong support for a “YES” vote on Amendment 3 to legalize adult-use marijuana. They say it is time for failed marijuana laws to change and urge Missourians to vote “YES” on November 8.

“We have watched as marijuana arrests and convictions taxed the resources of our local police departments and caused real harm to neighborhoods,” said Lt. Diane Goldstein (Ret.), current executive director of LEAP. “What people don’t see behind the scenes is that law enforcement has a duty to respond any time dispatch receives a call about these low-level marijuana offenses. They divert our attention from responding to and solving more serious crimes. These calls are a distraction and don’t serve the public interest.”

LEAP is a nonprofit group of police, prosecutors, judges, and other criminal justice professionals who have firsthand experience in making communities safer by focusing law enforcement resources on the greatest threats to public safety. This includes promoting alternatives to arrest and incarceration, addressing the root causes of crime, and working toward healing police-community relations.

“We have watched minds change around the country,” said Goldstein. “Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have already done this, and the results are easy to see. The first states to legalize, Washington and Colorado, are seeing improvements in the number of cases solved because police are able to dedicate their time where it matters most—apprehending criminals and helping the victims and survivors of crime.”

The legislation would wipe clean the records of non-violent offenders automatically, at no cost. The expungement measures are the most far-reaching to date in nationwide cannabis legalization measures and the only law of its type directed by a vote of the people. Funds from cannabis tax revenues will pay for the expungement.

“The law will return critical resources to local police, but it will also bring new revenue streams to Missouri’s veterans,” said John Payne, Campaign Manager, Legal MO 22. “The tax revenues will be used equally to support veterans’ services, pay for drug treatment and counseling, as well as fund public defenders.”

Projections show that a 6 percent retail sales tax on marijuana products sold would generate an estimated $40.8 million in annual revenue, although likely much higher, in Missouri and $13.8 million in additional local government revenues. Missouri would be the 20th state to legalize adult-use marijuana.

Amendment 3 has been endorsed by a broad range of supporters including: the AFL-CIO, LEAP, St. Louis City and County Chapters of NAACP, Freedom, Inc and CCO to name a few.

For more information, please visit www.LegalMO22.com.

Additional Highlights of Amendment 3:

• Levies state taxes of 6 percent on retail sales of marijuana
New revenue funds regulatory program and costs to process automatic expungements, with the surplus split equally among veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment, and Missouri’s underfunded public defender system.

• Allows local governments to assess sales taxes of up to 3 percent

•  Allows local communities to opt out of adult-use retail marijuana sales through a vote of the people

•  Strengthens Missouri’s medical marijuana program
The petition extends the amount of time that medical marijuana patient and caregiver ID cards are valid – from one to three years while keeping the cost low ($25). And the current $100 fee for Missourians who choose to grow medical marijuana at home will be reduced by half, with the expiration period also extended from one to three years.

• Provides employment discrimination protection for medical patients, preventing them from being denied employment, being disciplined or being fired for off-the-job medical marijuana use

• Adds nurse practitioners to the healthcare professionals who can issue medical cannabis recommendations to patients