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Breaking down the numbers for Amendment 3 in Southwest Missouri

JASPER COUNTY, Mo. — “Amendment 3” was one of the big issues that attracted more voters to the polls.

It passed with more than a million people voting in favor of legal, recreational marijuana.

The issue was a hot-button topic in Southwest Missouri as well, but what was trending “yes” statewide wasn’t necessarily the case here.

“Were driven to the polls because of Amendment 3, we had a large group of people that were for it. And then we also had a large group of people that were against Amendment 3. And if you look at the voter turnout for that, in Jasper County 14,173 people voted in favor of it. And 20,365 voted against it,” Charlie Davis, Jasper Co. Clerk.

The majority of voters in all other Southwest Missouri counties also voted against it.

The exception, Greene county.

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Missouri AG Eric Schmitt wins Senate seat over Trudy Busch Valentine

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is the state’s next U.S. Senator, earning a victory over Trudy Busch Valentine in the 2022 general midterm election. The Associated Press called the race just after 9:00 pm.

This U.S. Senate seat was held by longtime Senator Roy Blunt, who announced he would not be running for reelection in early 2021.

“Missourians made the right choice in sending Eric Schmitt to the U.S. Senate. I congratulate the Schmitt family, campaign staff, and supporters on a well-deserved victory,” tweets Sen Roy Blunt.

“Congratulations to Missouri’s next U.S. Senator Eric Schmitt and State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick on their well-earned election victories. Guided by common sense, conservative principles, and family values, we know both men will be exceptional leaders that serve our state with the dignity and respect that Missourians deserve and demand,” tweets Gov. Parson.

Schmitt won the Republican primary in August over former Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, U.S. Representatives Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, and others.

During Schmitt’s time as attorney general, he made headlines for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schmitt sued multiple school districts in Missouri over mask mandates, accusing districts of overstepping their authority and asking parents to report schools enforcing the mandates.

Busch Valentine ran for U.S. Senate by campaigning in favor of safe and legal abortions and standing with the LGBTQ+ community.

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Cori Bush wins reelection bid for Missouri Congressional District 1

ST. LOUIS – Cori Bush will serve a second term as a Missouri Congresswoman. The Associated Press has projected Bush the winner of the election for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District.

Bush will retain her seat after a challenge from Republican candidate Andrew Jones.

When first elected to her role in 2018, Bush was the first African-American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives from Missouri. Bush has taken a lead role in fighting to extend the CARES Act eviction moratorium last year and has served on several judiciary committees during her tenure.

District 1 covers all of St. Louis City and several cities in north and central St. Louis County. The congressional district seat, which was last occupied by a Republican in 1949, is one of five in Missouri for which voters elected candidates.  Three of those districts represent parts of eastern Missouri or the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Click here for the latest election results.

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Amendment 3: Missouri voters approve marijuana legalization

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Missourians have voted Tuesday in favor of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

The Associated Press called the race at 1:40 a.m. Wednesday with Missouri Amendment 3 garnering about 53% of voter support at that time.

Missouri’s legislators failed to pass recreational marijuana at least twice in the past, leading advocates to go to voters for approval instead. The group Legal Missouri 2022 led a petition drive to get the constitutional amendment on the ballot.

At a campaign party Tuesday night in St. Louis, Legal Missouri 2022 leaders called Amendment 3 a win and addressed supporters.

“How does it feel to make history?” campaign manager John Payne asked the crowded room.

Missouri is now the 20th state, as well as Washington D.C., to legalize marijuana in the United States. The move coming 10 years after Colorado was the first to do so. Four other states are also voting on marijuana legalization on Election Day.

The new amendment changes the state constitution to allow those 21 and older to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana and have up to six flowering plants, six clones and six seedlings.

Missourians could legally buy recreational marijuana as soon as February 2023, according to the Department of Health and Senior Services.

Recreational marijuana products would have a 6% sales tax, estimated to bring in $40 million for the state. The funds would be split amongst veterans services, the Missouri State Public Defender program and for grants related to drug addiction prevention and treatment.

Medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation facilities and manufacturing licensees will be given the first chance to apply for a comprehensive license to sell both medical and recreational marijuana. After that, a lottery system will be used for an additional 144 micro-licenses.

The amendment will also erase past marijuana-related convictions for nonviolent offenders and those whose conviction didn’t include selling to minors or driving while high.

In October, Democratic President Joe Biden announced he was pardoning thousands of people for federal marijuana possession convictions.

Justice Gatson, a spokesperson with Legal Missouri 2022, said sentencing for some minor marijuana offenses doesn’t often fit the crime.

But opponents of Amendment 3 have argued many of the states that have legalized marijuana are still dealing with the issues they expected to fix by making the change. Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd pointed to marijuana-related traffic fatalities, crimes and children in possession of the drug.

There are also voters who support legalizing marijuana, but don’t believe Amendment 3 was the right answer. They are unhappy about the possession limits and other restrictions included in the amendment.

Missouri’s decision on recreational use comes just four years after voters approved the medical use of marijuana in 2018.

Across the state line in Kansas, however, neither medical nor recreational marijuana use is legal. State lawmakers have failed to approve a medical marijuana bill multiple times. It is one of only three states that has not implemented any kind of public-use marijuana program.

In less than two years since Missouri’s stores opened, medical marijuana dispensaries have reported about $500 million in sales. Tax revenue on medical marijuana sales benefits veterans’ healthcare services, resulting in almost $27 million.

Missouri’s medical marijuana director Lyndall Fraker said there are about 204,000 patients and 3,000 caregivers that have medical marijuana licenses in Missouri.

The recreational marijuana amendment also includes revisions to the medical marijuana program.

“The patient renewal period goes from one year to three years,” Fraker said. “Now they are paying $25 for one year, it will be $25 for three years, so they will only have to have their doctor’s certification done every three years.”

The revisions also would allow nurse practitioners to certify a patient’s medical marijuana card instead of just a physician.

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Candidates for highest offices in Kansas stop in Pittsburg

PITTSBURG, Kans. — The Republican candidates for Kansas Governor and Lieutenant Governor made several stops across the Sunflower state today (11/7). Their final campaign stop this evening: Pittsburg. Republicans Derek Schmidt and Katie Sawyer made four campaign stops across Eastern Kansas today, with just hours to go until the polls open for Tuesday’s midterm election. The final campaign stop for the Kansas governor’s race was at the Crawford County Republican Party Office in Pittsburg.

During the last two weeks, both Schmidt and Sawyer have spent nearly twelve hours each day, co-campaigning throughout many towns and communities in the state. Tomorrow (11/8 — election day), the two candidates will make one final push to get voters to the polls before they close at 7:00 p.m..

“In the last two weeks leading up to this election, Derek and I have both been on the road extensively through the state, and collectively we have been in more than 95 communities in Kansas,” said Katie Sawyer, Republican candidate for Kansas Lieutenant Governor.

Republican candidate for Kansas Lieutenant Governor, Katie Sawyer speaks with potential voters at the Crawford County Republican Party Office in Pittsburg, Kansas.

“I think the vast majority of people already know which way they’re going to vote, the issue is will they in fact show up to vote, and so we have to make sure that happens for the folks on our side of the equation,” said Derek Schmidt, Republican candidate for Kansas Governor.

Republican candidate for Kansas Governor, Derek Schmidt talks to supporters at the Crawford County Republican Party Office in Pittsburg, Kansas.

| Southeast Kansas Nonprofits Celebrate Grant Funding >

Kansas gubernatorial Republican candidates, Derek Schmidt and Katie Sawyer face off tomorrow against Democrat challengers, Laura Kelly and David Toland, who are the current Governor and Lieutenant Governor of Kansas.

After the polls close, you’ll find election results HERE on Fourstateshomepage.com, “Your Local Election Headquarters.” You’ll also find election results on KSN Local News at 10:00 p.m. and KODE Action 12 News at 10:00 p.m.

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Missouri NAACP says passing Amendment 3 will not diversify marijuana

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri NAACP is asking voters to vote “No” on Amendment 3 saying legalizing marijuana will not the industry more diverse.

According to Legal Missouri 22, the campaign that put the question on the ballot, if Amendment 3 is approved there would be 144 new small marijuana businesses awarded to historically disadvantaged populations, but the NAACP said that’s not guaranteed.

“That diversity that the campaign is really looking at is Black and Brown people working in the gardens that grow the marijuana,” Missouri NAACP President Nimrod Chapel Jr.

Later this week, we will know if Missouri voters plan to legalize recreational marijuana. The Show-Me State would join 19 others in allowing cannabis to be used for recreational purposes.

“It would generate hundreds of millions of dollars, if not over a billion dollars, on an annual basis for the state’s economy, create good-paying jobs,” Legal Missouri 2022 campaign manager John Payne said.

  • The question on the ballot added by Legal Missouri 22 reads, “Do you want to amend the Missouri Constitution to:
  • Remove state prohibitions on purchasing, possession, consuming, using, delivering, manufacturing, and selling marijuana for personal use for adults over the age of 21
  • Require a registration card for personal cultivation with prescribed limits
  • Allow persons with certain marijuana-related non-violent offenses to petition for release from incarceration or parole and probation and have records expunged
  • Establish a lottery selection process to award licenses and certificates
  • Issue equally distributed licenses to each congressional district
  • Impose a six percent tax on the retail price of marijuana to benefit various programs
  • “It’s also going to allow those people who have records for non-violent marijuana offenses with the exemption to sales to minors and driving under the influence, to expunge those records and to have those records expunged automatically,” Payne said.

If passed by voters, medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation, and manufacturing licensees would first be given the chance to apply for a comprehensive license to sell both medical and recreational marijuana. Then, after the comprehensive licenses are disbursed, a lottery system would be used for an additional 144 micro-licenses that would have restrictions on who they can sell their product too. Under the micro-license, the cultivation facilities will be able to grow up to 250 plants.

“Instead, they are going to charge tens of thousands of dollars in the application process, they are going to have give it away to rich and powerful people and we’re going to be excluded from a billion-dollar industry again,” Chapel said. “To say that we’re going to make sure that these micro-licenses go to minorities, I think that is trash.”

In the 40-page amendment document, it says if it’s approved by voters, a “chief equity officer’ would establish a program dedicated to communities that have been impacted by marijuana prohibition on the licensing process and offer resources to those interested in a license.

The statewide organization’s position on the amendment is different from chapters of the NAACP in St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. All three have endorsed Amendment 3. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has also announced he is in favor of the referendum. On the other side of the state, St. Louis City Mayor Tishaura Jones is asking voters to vote “No” on the question. She tweeted last week, “Legalization doesn’t equal decriminalization. We deserve better. Vote No on Amendment 3.”

Payne said the Missouri General Assembly has had the opportunity to do this for years but hasn’t.

“When the legislature fails to act, this is why the initiative petition exists, that’s the whole purpose of it, so it has come to a point where the voters do need to take it into their own hands,” Payne said. “If the voters don’t act on it, then I don’t expect anyone is going to in the near future.”

Friday afternoon, the Missouri NAACP sent a cease-and-desist letter to Legal Missouri 22 for using its name for promotional items.

“Specifically, Legal Missouri 2022 is prohibited from using the name of the Missouri State Conference of the NAACP or any of its member units including the following units: St. Louis County branch; the Columbia branch; and St. Louis Branch as it relates to any and all NAACP units in the state in any of its advertisements or in any other capacity, without the express consent of the NAACP,” the letter states.

Last month, the campaign also received a cease-and-desist letter from the Missouri State Highway Patrol regarding pair of commercials.

“It’s not just unfair, it’s wrong,” Chapel said. “We know what Amendment 3 is going to do. It’s going to keep generations behind. It’s going to keep entire communities from ever participating in a billion-dollar industry that’s not only in Missouri but nationwide.”

The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) doesn’t have a stance on whether Amendment 3 on the November ballot passes or fails but would be required to put the program into effect. But if the measure is approved by voters, how soon could Missourians buy recreational marijuana, and how is the state preparing to roll out the program?

It was four years ago that voters approved medical marijuana, sending tax revenue to veterans’ healthcare services. Since then, the state has brought in nearly $495 million, sending $27 million to veterans’ health services.

DHSS said there are about 204,000 patients and 3,000 caregivers that have licenses in Missouri.

Under the medical marijuana program, patients are taxed at 4% while the initiative petition says recreational marijuana products would have a 6% sales tax, estimated to bring in $40 million for the state.

According to the amendment, 2% of the 6% sales tax will go to the “Veterans, Health and Community Reinvestment Fund,” then one third of the remaining balance will be transferred to the Missouri Veterans Commission, another third goes to the Missouri State Public Defender program, and the remaining portion goes to DHSS to provide grants to increase education and resources for drug addiction treatment and overdose prevention. Local municipalities are also allowed to tax recreational marijuana up to 3%.

The referendum would allow those 21 and older to possess up to three ounces of marijuana and have up to six flowering plants, six clones, and six seedlings. It also would expunge non-violent offenses.

Legal Missouri 22 said the vast majority of people who have a non-violent offense are getting simple possession citations or arrests for possession of less than 35 grams. Allowing Missourians 21 and older to possess up to three ounces at a time would be the second-highest possession limit in the country.

If approved by voters, DHSS expects recreational pot to be available for purchase sometime in February.

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Here's when polls open on Election Day

Voters across the country will head to the polls on Tuesday to vote in the upcoming midterm elections following a dramatic few months and record early turnout. 

Here is when the polls open in each state and Washington, D.C. All times are local time.

Alabama 

7 a.m. 

Alaska 

7 a.m. 

Arizona 

6 a.m. 

Arkansas 

7:30 a.m. 

California 

7 a.m.  

Colorado 

7 a.m.  

Connecticut 

6 a.m. 

Delaware 

7 a.m.  

Florida 

7 a.m.  

Georgia 

7 a.m.  

Hawaii 

7 a.m.  

Idaho 

8 a.m.  

Illinois 

6 a.m.  

Indiana 

6 a.m. 

Iowa 

7 a.m. 

Kansas 

7 a.m.  

Kentucky 

6 a.m. 

Louisiana 

6 a.m.  

Maine 

6 a.m.  

Maryland 

7 a.m.  

Massachusetts 

7 a.m. 

Michigan 

7 a.m. 

Minnesota 

7 a.m. 

Mississippi 

7 a.m. 

Missouri 

6 a.m.  

Montana 

7 a.m.  

Nebraska 

8 a.m. 

Nevada 

7 a.m.] 

New Hampshire 

Varies 

New Jersey 

6 a.m. 

New Mexico 

7 a.m.  

New York 

6 a.m.  

North Carolina 

6:30 a.m. 

North Dakota 

Varies 

Ohio 

6:30 a.m.  

Oklahoma 

7 a.m.  

Oregon 

Varies  

Pennsylvania 

7 a.m.  

Rhode Island 

7 a.m.  

South Carolina 

7 a.m.  

South Dakota 

7 a.m.  

Tennessee 

Varies 

Texas 

7 a.m.  

Utah 

7 a.m.  

Vermont 

Varies  

Virginia 

6 a.m.  

Washington 

Varies  

West Virginia 

6:30 a.m.  

Wisconsin 

7 a.m.  

Wyoming 

7 a.m.  

District of Columbia

7 a.m.

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Here's when polls close in every state on Election Day

Here are times when polls close on Election Day in every state and Washington, D.C. All times are listed in local time.

Alabama

7 p.m.

Alaska

8 p.m.

Arizona

7 p.m.

Arkansas

7:30 p.m.

California

8 p.m.

Colorado

7 p.m.

Connecticut

8 p.m.

Delaware

8 p.m.

Florida

7 p.m.

Georgia

7 p.m.

Hawaii

7 p.m.

Idaho

8 p.m.

Illinois

7 p.m.

Indiana

6 p.m.

Iowa

8 p.m.

Kansas

7 p.m.

Kentucky

6 p.m.

Louisiana

8 p.m.

Maine

8 p.m.

Maryland

8 p.m.

Massachusetts

8 p.m.

Michigan

8 p.m.

Minnesota

8 p.m.

Mississippi

7 p.m.

Missouri

7 p.m.

Montana

8 p.m.

Nebraska

8 p.m.

Nevada

7 p.m.

New Hampshire

Varies

New Jersey

8 p.m.

New Mexico

7 p.m.

New York

9 p.m.

North Carolina

7:30 p.m.

North Dakota

Varies

Ohio

7:30 p.m.

Oklahoma

7 p.m.

Oregon

8 p.m.

Pennsylvania

8 p.m.

Rhode Island

8 p.m.

South Carolina

7 p.m. 

South Dakota

7 p.m.

Tennessee

Varies

Texas

7 p.m.

Utah

8 p.m.

Vermont

7 p.m.

Virginia

7 p.m.

Washington

8 p.m.

West Virginia

7:30 p.m.

Wisconsin

8 p.m. 

Wyoming

7 p.m.

District of Columbia

8 p.m.

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Encouraging citizens to vote with a "Democrat Day of Action"

JOPLIN, Mo. — A group of Southwest Missouri Democrats took the initiative to go out into the community to encourage people to get out and vote.

Local Democrats are participating in the second statewide “Democratic Day of Action”.

Volunteers, candidates, political groups, and unions gathered at the Laborer’s Union Hall in Joplin and then went out in the community to knock on doors, encouraging people to get out and vote.

Their goal this weekend before the upcoming election is to knock on 1,500 doors in the area.

“Today and tomorrow what we’re reminding them is here’s it’s time to vote. Do you know where to vote? If you need to know your polling place, we can tell you where your polling places are, what time the polls are open, and what you need to take with your photo ID. How to comply with the new voter restriction laws in Missouri. We can provide that information also talking to people about why is your vote important because elections are often decided by very small majorities,” said John Hicks, Chairman of SWMO Democrats.

“Voting is super important for young people in this upcoming election because we are deciding our future and we’re deciding the people that are going to represent us in the US government. And this upcoming election is especially important for young women and women’s rights and minority rights. So get out there and vote,” said Elizabeth Seely, Executive Assistant of SWMO Democrats.

Early voting is already underway in Missouri.

Election day is Tuesday with polling places opening at 6 a.m. and closing at 7 p.m.

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Newton County Republicans' Annual "Free Bean Feed"

NEOSHO, Mo. — With the November general election just days away now, candidates are making their last campaign stops.

This evening, the “Newton County Republican Central Committee” held its annual “Free Bean Feed.”

More than 300 people came out for dinner and to listen to several Republican candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.

The committee also discussed each ballot issue, but the priority tonight was voter encouragement.

“We have what’s called a 72-hour plan. So, the last 72 hours before election day, we try and turn people out to vote and remind them it’s election day and have their friends and neighbors go vote. And what’s new this year is there’s no excuse for absentee voting. So, people can vote on Monday up to 5:00 at the Clerk’s Office and not have to have an excuse,” said Nick Meyers, Chairman, of Newton County Republican Central Committee.

The group is recruiting volunteers for even more voter outreach as we get closer to Tuesday.