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Say NO to Amendment 3's 'Stop & Cite' Mandate!

Amendment 3 creates a stop and cite mandate for marijuana users in the Missouri Constitution. Here's the precise language:

Page 35 (1) A person who smokes marijuana in a public place, other than in an area licensed for such activity by the authorities having jurisdiction over the licensing and/or permitting of said activity, is subject to a civil penalty not exceeding one hundred dollars.

Here's why this is bad.

First, many jurisidictions, like Columbia in 2004 and St. Louis in 2014 have adopted a policy of "lowest law enforcement priority" for marijuana enforcement as the basis for significant enforcement discretion. By creating a Constitutional mandate to stop and cite marijuana users, Amendment 3 overrides those local discretionary policies and forces law enforcement to target and chase marijuana users again. And it won't just be the sight of marijuana use, but the smell, that will be used to justify these stops - go to court if you want to contest that!

Second, by creating a Constitutional revenue incentive for catching marijuana users, Amendment 3 allows cities and counties to pursue taxation by citation. Now city managers will tell their police departments to go find more marijuana users to fine as part of their monthly citation quotas.

Third, we know these enforcement mandates hit poor and minority communities first and hardest. In St. Louis and Kansas City, marijuana use will become the basis for pretextual stops of Black and Brown men, undoing a decade of criminal justice reform. Missouri State Representative Wiley Price IV discussed this recently - check his comments out!

And what if you are too poor to pay the fine, or miss your court date? Bench warrant for your arrest! Now you're going to get booked, charged, and potentially liable for further criminal charges!

Now the Amendment 3 advocates say the "amendment actually allows a mechanism for local governments to allow public consumption". Well we are pretty sure MOCannTrade isn't going to send their very expensive lobbyists to every Missouri City or County to work on creating public consumption areas! Worse, when you do have city councils or county commissions consider public consumption, two groups of opponents are going to show up - prohibitionists, who want to imprison people for marijuana use, and Karens, who will say "I hate the smell and don't want it in my community!"

Finally, creating these insane Constitutional mandates will affect law enforcement training. Police will be told to identify and target marijuana users, re-entrenching the stigma that's led to innumerable Americans to suffer under generations of marijuana prohibition. This is bad for everyone!

Missouri deserves better. Vote against the corrupt Amendment 3 in November and call your State Representatives and Senators about getting their act together and passing the Cannabis Freedom Act instead!!!

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