Statewide petition would legalize and tax pot

A statewide effort is underway to legalize pot.

Members of a group called Show-Me Cannabis Regulation are circulating a petition to legalize and tax marijuana through a state constitutional amendment.

Group members have already collected thousands of signatures on their petition to legalize and tax marijuana. Theyâ??re trying to collect 150,000 signatures across the state by May 6 in order to get their initiative on the November ballot. Attorney Dan Viets is organizing the petition drive in Columbia. Viets says his group wants to legalize marijuana just like alcohol.

Viets said, â??This proposal would not only stop the prosecution and incarceration of people for non-violent victimless behavior, but it would also allow people who have received a conviction, have those convictions expunged from their record so they can get a decent job, they can pay taxes and be contributing members of society.â??

The petition would allow Missouri lawmakers to tax marijuana by up to $100 per pound. Petition organizers said that could generate $41 million in annual state tax revenue.

An October Gallup poll shows a record high 50% of Americans want to legalize and tax marijuana. Thatâ??s up from 46% from the previous year.

8 years ago, Columbia voters passed a marijuana city ordinance that provides a maximum fine of $250 and no arrest for someone cited for a misdemeanor marijuana violation.

Columbia is the only city in Missouri with this type of ordinance.

We want to know what you think. Should the state legalize marijuana? Should it be taxed?

Click here to find where you can sign the petition.