Ashcroft Issues Certificates of Sufficiency to Place Five Initiative Petitions on Nov. 6 Ballot

JEFFERSON CITY –– Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft has issued a Certificate of Sufficiency for five of six initiative petitions, signifying that each has met the minimum number of signatures required to appear on the general election ballot on Nov. 6.  Any legal challenge to the certification must be filed by August 11.

The Secretary of State’s Office issued a Certificate of Insufficiency for Petition 2018-223, a constitutional amendment related to marijuana, on May 31, 2018. Final certification of the Nov. 6 general election ballot must be issued no later than Aug. 28, 2018.

The five initiative petitions receiving a Certificate of Sufficiency are as follows: 

Petition 2018-041: Constitutional Amendment to Article XIV, Relating to Legalizing Marijuana for Medical Purposes 

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

• allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;

• impose a 15 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana, and a tax on the wholesale sale of marijuana flowers and leaves per dry-weight ounce to licensed facilities; and

• use funds from these taxes to establish and fund a state research institute to conduct research with the purpose of developing cures and treatments for cancer and other incurable diseases or medical conditions?

This proposal is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $66 million. State governmental entities estimate initial implementation costs of $186,000 and increased annual operating costs of $500,000.

Petition 2018-048: Constitutional Amendment to Article III, Relating to the General Assembly

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

• change process and criteria for redrawing state legislative districts during reapportionment;

• change limits on campaign contributions that candidates for state legislature can accept from individuals or entities;

• establish a limit on gifts that state legislators, and their employees, can accept from paid lobbyists;

• prohibit state legislators, and their employees, from serving as paid lobbyists for a period of time;

• prohibit political fundraising by candidates for or members of the state legislature on State property; and

• require legislative records and proceedings to be open to the public?

State governmental entities estimate annual operating costs may increase by $189,000. Local governmental entities expect no fiscal impact.

Petition 2018-051: Constitutional Amendment to Article XVI, Relating to Legalizing Marijuana for Medical Purposes

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

• allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing/certification procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;

• impose a 4 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana; and

• use funds from these taxes for health and care services for military veterans by the Missouri Veterans Commission and to administer the program to license/certify and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities?

This proposal is estimated to generate annual taxes and fees of $18 million for state operating costs and veterans programs, and $6 million for local governments. Annual state operating costs are estimated to be $7 million. 

Petition 2018-204: Statutory Amendment to Chapter 290, Relating to Minimum Wage

Do you want to amend Missouri law to:

• increase the state minimum wage to $8.60 per hour with 85 cents per hour increase each year until 2023, when the state minimum wage would be $12.00 per hour;

• exempt government employers from the above increase; and

• increase the penalty for paying employees less than the minimum wage?

State and local governments estimate no direct costs or savings from the proposal, but operating costs could increase by an unknown annual amount that could be significant. State and local government tax revenue could change by an unknown annual amount ranging from a $2.9 million decrease to a $214 million increase depending on business decisions.

Petition 2018-271: Statutory Amendment to Chapters 192, 195, 263 & 311, Relating to the Legalization and Taxation of Medical Marijuana

 Do you want to amend Missouri law to:

• remove state prohibitions on personal use and possession of medical cannabis (marijuana) with a written certification by a physician who treats a patient diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition;

• remove state prohibitions on growth, possession, production, and sale of medical marijuana by licensed and regulated facilities, and a facility’s licensed owners and employees;

• impose a 2% tax on the retail sale of medical marijuana; and

• use funds from this tax for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and for public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility?

State government entities estimate initial and one-time costs of $2.6 million, annual costs of $10 million, and annual revenues of at least $10 million. Local government entities estimate no annual costs and are expected to have at least $152,000 in annual revenues.

Initiative Petition Process Overview

The initiative petition process gives Missouri citizens the opportunity to directly participate in our democracy. The secretary of state’s office is charged with overseeing this process and certifying proposed ballot measures. A full description of the initiative petition process is available in “Make Your Voice Heard,” a booklet published by the Secretary of State.

Following is a brief overview of the process:

• The petitioner submits proposed language for an initiative petition to the secretary of state’s office. The attorney general examines the petition and provides approval. The auditor provides a fiscal note and fiscal note summary. The secretary of state’s office certifies the official ballot title for the proposal, which consists of a summary statement and fiscal note summary, and approves the petition for circulation.

• The petitioner circulates the petition and collects signatures. The signatures are submitted to the secretary of state’s office. The deadline for signature submission was 5 p.m. on May 6, 2018.

• The secretary of state’s office distributes copies of the signature pages to each of Missouri’s 116 local election authorities to verify that the individuals were eligible to sign the petition in their respective jurisdictions. Local election authorities submit their final results to the secretary of state.

• The secretary of state’s office determines whether the petition contains a sufficient number of valid signatures. If so, the secretary of state’s office issues a certificate of sufficiency, stating that the petition shall be placed on the ballot for the general election. If not, the secretary issues a certificate of insufficiency.

• Any legal challenge to a certificate must be filed within 10 days of issuance of the certificate.

• The secretary of state will issue a final certification of the November general election ballot no later than Aug. 28, 2018.