Missouri debates legalizing marijuana


Source: legalizationofmarijuana.com

Following the national trend, Missouri might be the next state to vote on the legalization of marijuana in the 2014 polls.

With marijuana as an offense to the criminal justice system, possession of any amount is punishable by law in most states. Missouri has the strictest laws in America regarding the use and possession; offenders have even served time in prison.

Show-Me Cannabis Missouri’s association of individuals who firmly believe that cannabis prohibition is a failed policy. The organization is focused on legalizing the substance and treating it in the same manner as alcohol and cigarettes so that it’s not accessible on an illegal market.

“Marijuana seems to be in the same category as cigarettes and alcohol, so it would make sense that it would get treated similarly,” principal Jeremy Mitchell said.

The organization is also fighting to utilize marijuana to help Missouri’s economy by creating jobs and economic opportunities. The government, local and state, would acquire new sources of tax revenue from legalizing marijuana sales.

“I think that it would help our economy, and it would probably help medical fields too,” officer Scott Scoggins said.

Citizens who oppose the organization’s quest to legalize marijuana argue that legalization will lead to much bigger problems, and that it’s just law enforcement growing lazy.

“Legalization occurs for three reasons and none of those reasons have to do with anything that is healthy for you. It has to do with states wanting more money. It has to do with law enforcement saying that they give up and need to save the money they have for bigger issues. The third piece of it has to do with medical legalization, but THC is the part which has no medical benefit. That’s just what gets people high, and that’s what people want,” health teacher Tim Corteville said.

Marijuana is also known as a gateway drug, and people also fear that legalization will introduce people to harder drugs.

“Marijuana is the drug that starts other drugs. When people get high and it doesn’t satisfy them anymore, they might go to something harder. The last thing someone wants to get hooked on is something harder like heroin, and I’ve spoken to heroin addicts who say they started with marijuana,” Scoggins said.

To enable the regulation of marijuana sales for the benefit of the state, the organization is currently seeking roughly 320,000 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the 2014 ballot. If the organization succeeds and is able to regulate marijuana, no one under the age of 21 would be able to legally purchase the substance.

“The whole thing about having to be 21 to use it legally is a waste of time.  How did that work with alcohol and tobacco? Kids can still get their hands on anything,” Corteville said.