Trudy Busch Valentine Statement on the Ballot Initiative to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

This November, I will be voting yes to legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana in Missouri. This ballot initiative would potentially make us the 20th state in the nation to do so. Allow me to tell you why I’m supporting it.

For one, I am encouraged to know that if this passes, some of the new revenue will be directed toward veteran’s healthcare on top of additional resources for mental health treatment and drug and alcohol addiction services. I can’t tell you how close to my heart this issue is, having lost my son to an opioid overdose just two years ago.

It’s one of the reasons why I’m in this race. We have to get serious about solving our country’s devastating opioid epidemic, and investing more resources to expand treatment options so people can get clean and recover. This will be one of my highest priorities in the Senate.

Secondly, this ballot measure, if approved, will automatically expunge many non-violent marijuana-related offenses. This will go a long way toward addressing deep racial disparities in our criminal justice system. We know in Missouri that Black people are arrested for marijuana possession at a higher rate than white people, even though they’re using at similar rates.

And finally, it just makes economic sense for our communities. If approved, Missouri would have the ability to regulate the sale of recreational marijuana to adults 21 and up, which estimates show could fund tens of millions of dollars in new revenue for state and local governments. We could improve a lot of lives with resources like that.

I know this issue is going to be debated a lot between now and election day. I would encourage parents to engage their kids in meaningful conversations on this topic and think of this as a teachable moment about responsibility and substance use and misuse.