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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Secretary of State’s Office announced Tuesday it had certified more than 214,000 voter signatures as valid, enough to put marijuana legalization on the ballot.

“DMVs grocery stores anywhere where we were allowed to address the public and inform them about the initiative we had people there. The amount of manpower it took to get the signatures needed for the ballot was extensive. It was pretty much the only thing we talked about it from the time we woke up until we called it a day,” Casey Efting, Greenlight Director of Retail Operations, said.

A state audit projects marijuana legalization could generate $40 million annually in tax revenue. A significant portion of that could be from sales at Kansas City-area dispensaries if Amendment 3 passes in November.

That’s because Kansas is one of a handful of states that doesn’t have any type of marijuana sales. People on the other side of the state line can’t buy medical marijuana in Missouri, but Kansans could buy recreational marijuana in Missouri. Under current Kansas law, however, it would be illegal to transport it home to Kansas.

The signature verification was immediately cheered by Missouri’s dispensaries, cultivators and manufacturers serving nearly 200,000 medical marijuana cardholders. Other states have seen recreational sales double business even quadruple it.

“As a business yeah it will increase revenue, but it’s going to increase our reach, and destigmatize it so that there’s more people that can realize they can use and have it as aspect of their life,” Aaron Turvey, BesaMe Wellness Director of Transportation, said.

The measure also has the public support of Mayor Quinton Lucas and Jackson County Executive Frank White. Both pointed to another part of the amendment which would expunge marijuana related convictions for non-violent offenders.

Legalizing marijuana is about more than just allowing recreational use or the money that can be made. It’s about undoing policies that disproportionately target black and brown communities, particularly men, who are more likely to be arrested and sentenced to significant time behind bars,” White said in a statement.

“That’s part of what I’m excited about the bill for too is expungement is baked into that. Besides just being able to come off the street, not worrying about it being illegal, having access to the medicine you will have records being expunged for past transgressions,” Turvey said.

It took about two years to get medical marijuana dispensaries open in Missouri after the measure was approved by voters in 2018. With the industry already in place, recreational sales would likely start much quicker after ironing out some legislation. Efting predicts it would take about three months if approved.

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