Law enforcement group backs “YES” vote on recreational marijuana amendment

The General Election is on November 8
The General Election is on November 8(kytv)
Published: Oct. 30, 2022 at 4:52 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) announced their support for voting yes on Amendment 3 on the upcoming Nov. 8 ballot.

If Amendment 3 passes, it will legalize the personal use of marijuana for people 21 and older.

“We have watched as marijuana arrests and convictions taxed the resources of our local police departments and caused real harm to neighborhoods,” said retired Lt. Diane Goldstein and current executive director of LEAP. “What people don’t see behind the scenes is that law enforcement has a duty to respond any time dispatch receives a call about these low-level marijuana offenses. They divert our attention from responding to and solving more serious crimes. These calls are a distraction and don’t serve the public interest.”

LEAP is a non-profit group of criminal justice professionals, including police, prosecutors and judges. According to their website, the group’s mission is to unite and mobilize law enforcement in criminal justice reforms that promote public safety. They focus on alternatives to arrest and incarceration, which include addressing the root causes of crime and healing police-community relationships.

If Amendment 3 passed it would amend Missouri’s constitution to allow people 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana for recreational purposes. It would also allow people with non-violent marijuana-related offenses to petition to be released from prison or parole, and have their records expunged.

According to Legal Mo 2022, a group supporting the amendment, the funds from the tax revenue from adult cannabis sales will pay for the costs associated with the expungements.

“The law will return critical resources to local police, but it will also bring new revenue streams to Missouri’s veterans,” said John Payne, Campaign Manager for legal Mo 2022. “The tax revenues will be used equally to support veterans’ services, pay for drug treatment and counseling, as well as fund public defenders.”

Leaders at LEAP point to other states that have legalized marijuana use as examples of what could happen if law enforcement doesn’t have to respond to low-level marijuana offenses.

“We have watched minds change around the country,” said Goldstein. “Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have already done this, and the results are easy to see. The first states to legalize, Washington and Colorado, are seeing improvements in the number of cases solved because police are able to dedicate their time where it matters most—apprehending criminals and helping the victims and survivors of crime.”

Information about all ballot measures, including Amendment 3, in the upcoming election, can be found on Missouri’s Secretary of State’s website.