JEFFERSON CITY — As Missouri ramps up toward the sale of medical marijuana, a new petition drive was launched Thursday aimed at making recreational marijuana legal, too.

A group called Missourians for a New Approach is gathering signatures to put the issue of adult-use marijuana on the November 2020 ballot. The group said the effort is being supported by the same backers who helped pass the medical marijuana constitutional amendment in 2018.

Campaign manager John Payne said in a statement that 11 other states, including neighboring Illinois, now allow recreational use of marijuana.

The ballot proposal would allow only those 21 and older to possess marijuana. Sales would be taxed at a 15 percent rate, with funds split between veterans' services, roads and bridges, and drug addiction treatment. Local communities could opt out with voter approval.

The proposal would require the state to license at least as many cultivators, retailers and infused-product manufacturers as are licensed for medical marijuana.

The measure also would expunge criminal records for some marijuana-related offenses.

“I think Missourians are confident in the way the state has managed and regulated the medical marijuana program to this point and want to move sooner rather than later, following in the footsteps of many other states, to legalize the adult use of marijuana,” Payne said in the news release.

To get on the ballot, the proposal must get 160,199 verified signatures that must be turned into the Missouri Secretary of State's office by May 3.