Hundreds of Truman State University students say they've devised a way to fill Missouri's budget gap: legalize and tax marijuana.
The initiative is called the "Show-Me Cannabis" campaign. It seeks to legalize the use of marijuana for those 21 and older. Local volunteers said more than 500 people have signed the petition in Kirksville, many of them Truman students.
The campaign will need to collect 150,000 signatures from registered voters by May in order for it to be on the ballot. One volunteer said once he tells people that the money collected from a marijuana tax could be used to fund schools and universities like Truman State, they're more than likely to sign it.
"We find that a lot of people who are initially skeptical can be persuaded by our arguments in about a minute or two. as soon as people hear the facts, they realize that the options are either fund drug cartels or fund schools, libraries, and hospitals," said Aaron Malin, one of the Show-Me Campaign" volunteers. "They tend to choose the latter option and to get on board. We really have to stress that the campaign is not trying to promote use as good but rather promote smart policies that will do what is best for the state. We believe that if people are going to use it anyway, we might as well tax it and take advantage as opposed to letting that money fund drug cartels."
If the initiative gets on the ballot, and passes with a majority vote, it would be legal for people 21 and older across Missouri to use and grow marijuana in the privacy of their homes. Public usage would be prohibited, and the legislature would be able to impose a tax. Malin said the sale of marijuana would be regulated like alcohol and distributors would have to get a license from the state.