ST. LOUIS (KMOX/AP) – Corner stores could sell marijuana for recreational use — and pay the city sales tax — under a plan being introduced in the Board of Aldermen today.
As KMOX is first to report, Alderwoman Megan Green claims “millions of dollars” in potential revenue could be captured by shifting marijuana sales from illegal street corners to retail stores.
“You’d have to pay your taxes, you’d have to get a business license, but it would be a way basically of taking the marijuana industry from the black market to the free market,” Green said.
Green’s bill would direct city police to no longer enforce state and federal laws banning recreational marijuana sales.
“We’ve come to a point as a country, and as a city, where marijuana usage is not taboo in the way that it used to be,” Green said.
The bill filed this week would allow only for penalties for anyone using marijuana under age 21, selling to someone under 21, or possessing more than two ounces or more than 10 marijuana plants for cultivation. Consumption beyond private residential property would be limited.
The bill would make it illegal to refuse to hire or fire someone for legally using marijuana.
The Board of Aldermen in 2013 passed an ordinance reducing penalties for anyone caught with small amounts of marijuana as part of an effort to allow police, prosecutors and courts to focus on more serious crimes.
Green also claims legalizing pot would help the city’s opiod crisis, giving people an alternative for pain management.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson is weighing in on the proposal. A spokesman for the mayor released a statement saying, “The mayor has not read the bill yet but she is in favor of decriminalizing marijuana use. She added that it’s very difficult for a city to go alone on this type of issue. This is a subject that will have to be worked-on on a broader basis.”
The bill is expected to spark heated debate on the social, medical, moral, criminal and budgetary implications of legalizing marijuana use in the city.