Missouri needs marijuana

The Show-Me State should follow Illinois' lead and legalize recreational pot

Starting this year, Illinois was the 11th state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. With the up-and-coming marijuana industry, Illinois will benefit immensely from this with additional revenue, less crime rate, and new jobs. Will Missouri be next? I think they should be. 

In Illinois, like every other state where marijuana is legal, citizens of Illinois and other states can purchase marijuana legally at dispensaries. The closest dispensary to St. Louisians is in Collinsville–only 25 miles away from South High. Illinois recreational customers and patients over 21 can consume cannabis in their home, in their backyard, back porch or private residence. Landlords and property owners can ban consumption at their discretion. When driving, cannabis must be in a sealed container, child-resistant, odor-proof container, and out of the reach of the person operating a vehicle. In addition, cannabis purchased in Illinois is supposed to be consumed only in Illinois, but you know as well as I do, that people from other states (like Missouri) are going to go Illinois to buy their pot, and bring it home. 

A portion of the revenue generated by the new taxes will be devoted to expunging the records of more than 750,000 individuals in Illinois who were arrested for minor marijuana charges. Not only will these individuals minor drug charges be expunged but it will also help the crime rate in the future. This is because having marijuana in the car, or in your house, or smoking it wherever you are is no longer illegal as long as it is within the boundaries of the law. This will also put many drug dealers who sell marijuana out of business because of the easy access customers can get at the dispensary.

This year a petition has come out in Missouri to have legalization of marijuna on the November ballot and it’s looking pretty good for supporters. The initiative anticipates producing $93 million to $155 million in tax revenue for the state by 2025, with an additional $17 million to $27 million annually for local governments. Legalizing recreational marijuana in Missouri would be a huge benefit to the state, and we can already see that from the other 11 states who’ve done it. 

Currently, medical marijuana is the only thing legal in Missouri. However, dispensaries have not opened as of yet. 192 medical marijuana dispensaries are expected to open up across the state around mid-2020. Already, 22,000 Missourians have qualified and been granted medical cannabis ID cards.

Not only is legalizing recreational marijuana a huge benefit to Illinois in revenue, but it is also making it safer to marijuana consumers who smoked before it was legalized and had to worry about the consequences.

Missouri needs to follow Illinois’ lead, and legalize cannabis not only medicinally, but recreationally as well. Legalized marijuana will improve the lives of many people in the growing industry. Hopefully Missouri will follow along.