Legalizing recreational marijuana could expand Missouri workforce, advocates say

Amendment 3 will legalize recreational use if approved.
Marijuana plants
Marijuana plants(CBS Newspath)
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 11:01 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 8, 2022 at 8:41 AM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - Legalizing recreational marijuana will remove barriers into the workforce, according to advocates of legalizing recreational marijuana in Missouri.

On Thursday President Joe Biden pardoned individuals with simple marijuana possession convictions at the federal level. Biden also encourage U.S. governors to expunge records in their respective states.

According to FBI data, in 2020 law enforcement made over 10,000 arrests in Missouri for marijuana possession. In 2021, more than 9,000 arrests were made.

Next month Missouri voters will vote on Amendment 3 to decide if recreational marijuana will become legal.

“Our biggest issue is to really remove barriers,” said Tydrell Stevens, who oversees the Save Our Sons program with the Urban League. The program helps individuals find employment.

“We teach them how to get a job. How to keep a job. How to get promoted and how to remain marketable,” Stevens said.

Stevens added that marijuana users sometimes struggle finding employment because of drug tests or criminal records for marijuana possession.

“We do have individuals that do take it for medical reasons and it has hurt individuals from getting those jobs they want,” he added.

“When it comes to giving people opportunities and taking that black cloud from hanging over their heads away from them, we shouldn’t have to wait for Amendment 3,” said Adolphus Pruitt, the president of the St. Louis chapter of the NAACP. “If we get Amendment 3 done, we’re going to do the work the president did with a stroke of a pen.”

Recreational marijuana is currently legal in Illinois and 18 other states.