JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Feb. 1, 2021) Two bills introduced in the Missouri House would legalize marijuana despite federal prohibition.
Earlier this month, Rep. Peter Merideth introduced House Bill 263 (HB263). The legislation would legalize marijuana for adults over the age of 21, and would allow for the growth and transport of up to six marijuana plants, as long as they are grown in private. It would legalize commercial cultivation, the manufacture and sale of accessories, and would allow for an application process – beginning Oct.1, 2022 – for those who would become purveyors of a marijuana establishment, subject to county laws enacted by voter approval.
Rep. Wiley Price also introduced House Bill 325 (HB325), which would likewise legalize marijuana for adults over the age of 21, but the amount of possession would be increased. It would also create an “adult use board,” and would specify the uses of taxes levied on the sales of marijuana.
EFFECT ON FEDERAL PROHIBITION
The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) passed in 1970, the federal government maintains complete prohibition of marijuana. Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate cannabis within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.
Missouri voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018. The legalization of marijuana for personal use in Missouri would take the next step and remove another layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana in the state even though federal prohibition would remain in effect. This is significant because FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. When states stop enforcing marijuana laws, they sweep away most of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests
Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.
A GROWING MOVEMENT
Missouri joins a growing number of states simply ignoring federal prohibition and nullifying it in practice.
Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska were the first states to legalize recreational cannabis, and California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts joined them after ballot initiatives in favor of legalization passed in November 2016. Michigan followed suit when voters legalized cannabis for general use in 2018. Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana through a legislative act in 2018. Illinois followed suit in 2019. During the November election, Arizona, Montana, South Dakota and New Jersey legalized marijuana for recreational use.
With 36 states including Missouri allowing cannabis for medical use, and 15 legalizing for adult recreational use, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition anymore.The lesson here is pretty straightforward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats.
The push to legalize marijuana for personal use in Missouri demonstrates another important strategic reality. Once a state legalizes marijuana – even if only in a very limited way for medical purposes – it tends to eventually expand. As the state tears down some barriers, markets develop and demand grows. That creates pressure to further relax state law. These new laws represent a further erosion of unconstitutional federal marijuana prohibition.
At the time of this report, neither bill had been assigned to a committee. Once it receives a committee assignment, it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.
- Another Michigan City Decriminalizes Psilocybin Despite Federal Prohibition - April 5, 2022
- South Carolina Bill Would Expand “Right to Try” to Include All Treatments for Contagious Diseases and Allow Medical Marijuana - April 4, 2022
- Bill Introduced in the Rhode Island House Would Create State Process to End Police Qualified Immunity - April 4, 2022