How Missouri Lawmakers are Working to End the War on Drugs
While other crises took precedence in terms of media attention, 2021 will go down in history as the year Missouri lawmakers -- Republican and Democrat -- began to take serious action to end the War on Drugs. Dozens of bills have been filed to address everything from further marijuana reform, drug decriminalization, sentencing reform, and reducing collateral consequences of drug convictions. Here is a summary of these proposals:
The major current controversy over marijuana is access to licensing. Roughly 85% of medical marijuana license applicants were denied access to the market thanks to license caps enacted as part of Amendment XIV to the Missouri Constitution, a subject we have covered in detail.
Missouri State Representative Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) has filed House Joint Resolution 30 to legalize marijuana and remove unnecessary regulation and license caps from Missouri's existing medical marijuana program (our coverage). Additionally, Missouri State Representative Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) has filed House Bill 702, removing license caps from Missouri's medical marijuana program, and House Bill 263 to legalize marijuana.
Missouri State Representative Mark Ellebracht (D-Liberty) has filed House Bill 198 to criminalize the disclosure of medical marijuana patients' information to unauthorized parties. A similar proposal has also been filed by Missouri State Representative Nick Schroer (R-St. Charles), House Bill 501 (our coverage). The intent of these two bills is to prevent information from being shared with the federal government that would cause a medical marijuana cardholder from being flagged by the federal government for violating federal law prohibiting users of prohibited drugs from possessing firearms.
Missouri State Representative Rasheen Aldridge (D-St. Louis) has filed House Bill 408, to expunge marijuana offenses. Missouri State Representative Ron Hicks (R-Dardenne Prairie) has filed House Bill 546, which allows certain marijuana-related offenses and violations to be expunged if the offenses or violations occurred in Missouri prior to the issuance of a patient identification card. And Missouri State Senator Barbara Washington (D-Kansas City) has filed Senate Bill 190 to expunge marijuana offenses.
Missouri State Representative Ron Hicks (R-Dardenne Prairie) has filed House Bill 485, which adds provisions relating to the placement of a minor in a home in which a person has a medical marijuana card or works in the medical marijuana industry.
Missouri State Representative Ron Hicks (R-Dardenne Prairie) has filed House Bill 486, requiring the Department of Health and Senior Services to establish a statewide medical marijuana lodging establishment licensing system.
Missouri State Representative Phil Cristofanelli has filed House Bill 877, authorizing an income tax deduction for certain taxpayers engaged in the medical marijuana industry in this state. Missouri State Senator Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) has filed Senate Bill 436 as a companion bill.
Missouri State Representative Bruce DeGroot has filed House Bill 1017 to clarify that financial institutions are allowed to provide financial services to licensed marijuana facilities.
Missouri State Senator Barbara Washington (D-Kansas City) has filed Senate Bill 357 to protect medical marijuana program participants in family court matters.
Psychedelic Medicine Access
Missouri State Representative Michael Davis (R-Kansas City) has filed House Bill 1176, expanding Missouri's Right to Try law to include investigational psychedelic medicines (our coverage).
Drug Decriminalization & Legalization
As a first step to drug decriminalization, 3 similar bills have been filed to defelonize simple possession of drugs besides marijuana. Missouri State Representative Michael Davis (R-Kansas City) has filed House Bill 704, Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis) has filed House Bill 791, and Rep. Rasheen Aldridge (D-St. Louis) has filed House Bill 988.
Missouri State Representative Phil Christofanelli (R-St. Peters) has filed House Bill 350, protecting the kratom industry and consumers (our coverage).
Collateral Consequences & Sentencing Reform
Missouri State Representative Cheri Toalson-Reisch (R-Hallsville) has filed House Bill 316, providing that felon shall not be prohibited selling alcohol or lottery tickets (2018 coverage from Kansas City Star). Rep. Cheri Toalson-Reisch has also filed House Bill 504, specifying that certain offenders found guilty trafficking drugs in the second degree shall be eligible for parole after serving ten years (Riverfront Times, St. Louis Public Radio).
Missouri State Representative Michael Davis (R-Kansas City) has filed House Bill 706, removing the prohibition against convicted felons running for public office after 10 years (our coverage). Rep. Davis has also filed House Bill 895, which changes the offense of unlawful possession of a firearm by allowing persons who have completed their sentence for a nonviolent felony to possess firearms (our coverage).
Missouri State Representative Marlon Anderson (D-St. Louis) has filed House Bill 772, allowing a person convicted of a drug-related felony to become eligible for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits upon meeting certain conditions.