MISSOURI: Missouri is one step closer to legalizing marijuana.
Missouri State Rep. Rory Ellinger, a Democrat from University City, plans to introduce legislation next session to legalize pot in the state, modeled after the successful reform effort in Colorado. It will definitely be a long shot here, but this will be the first time a lawmaker in Missouri has introduced a proposal of this nature.
“I expect there will be a lot of good people that feel marijuana is wrong, that it leads down a path of worse drugs and trouble and so on,” he tells Daily RFT. “I respect their opinion, but I think that it can all be disputed.”
He continues, “I don’t know anyone who has ever died of a marijuana overdose.”
Ellinger was behind the proposal this past legislative session to decriminalize marijuana, which simply meant reducing the punishments for low-level pot possession charges. Pot, under that initiative, would still be illegal. That bill advanced father than it ever has in the past with a formal hearing in the House of Representatives on the very last day of the session in May.
Ellinger says he plans to reintroduce this decriminalization proposal again and also a separate bill to legalize pot altogether.
“The second bill will be more dramatic,” he says. “It will have much less chance of passing.”
Next session will not officially start until January 2014 and Ellinger says he is in the very early stages of planning the bill. The so-called Downsizing State Government Committee of the House of Representatives held a listening tour across the state earlier this month and marijuana reform advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis testified in favor of legalization.
The group has been pushing the decriminalization proposals at local municipalities, but does hope to eventually back a full-on legalization initiative.