ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) — A new survey commissioned by a pro-Marijuana group claims a majority of Missourians favor legalization.

The poll, conducted by DHM Research, surveyed 500 likely 2014 Missouri voters. Participants were asked if they would support a ballot measure nearly identical to the one that Show-Me Cannabis Regulation attempted to place on the ballot in 2012.

50 percent of respondents supported such a measure, 45 percent opposed it, and five percent were undecided. After the initial test, participants heard more details about the proposal and were presented with an equal number of statements of support and opposition. This process increased support for the proposal to 54 percent. (See poll)

“This poll confirms that support for legalizing and regulating cannabis like alcohol continues to grow, and that is just as true in Missouri as it has been in Colorado,” said John Payne, executive director of Show-Me Cannabis Regulation. “As people learn more about the issue, they are more likely to see that prohibition has failed and that we need a new approach. With two states showing the world that a legal, sensibly regulated market in cannabis works, I expect that this trend will not only continue but accelerate.”

Dan Viets with the group Show-Me Cannabis says he wants people who use marijuana responsibly to not be treated like a criminal.

“They would be taxed, they would become an asset to the state rather than a liability, and we would stop ruining people’s lives with it,” said Viets.

The group plans a ballot initiative as early as next year.

Missouri lawmakers are currently considering several cannabis reform laws. House Bill 512 would reduce penalties for possession; House Bill 511 would allow for expungement of misdemeanor cannabis convictions; and House Bill 688 would allow voters to legalize medical use with a doctor’s approval.

Senate Bill 358 would allow Missouri farmers to again grow hemp, a very low potency form of cannabis. The hemp bill is set for a hearing in the Senate on Tuesday.

Opponents have warned marijuana is a gateway drug that poses unknown health risks and blunts ambition.

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