Medical marijuana may be coming to Missouri, as voters in the Show Me State appear to have contributed enough signatures to put an initiative to legalize medical pot on the November 2016 ballot, KMBZ (Kansas City) is reporting.
Putting pot before the voters in Missouri is not officially a done deal, but assuming that all of the i’s are properly dotted, all of the t’s are properly crossed, and there are no improprieties, the Missouri Secretary of State will certify the 250,000-or-so signatures. Once that happens, the question of whether or not medical marijuana will be legal in Missouri will be up to the voters.
Jack Cardetti, a consultant for the New Approach Missouri, the group that pushed for the ballot initiative, tells The Missouri Times that the group needed 167,000 signatures to get the initiative on the ballot. They got just under 250,000.
“We [turned in] signatures on Sunday to place this important issue before voters in November. his issue has a ton of support throughout Missouri. It’s popular in part because it starts to put people and their doctors in charge of the decision making process.”
Missouri lawmakers, without the input of voters, have already wrestled with legalizing medical marijuana: just last month, the Missouri House of Representatives killed a bill that would have legalized medical marijuana in Missouri. The extremely restrictive bill would have allowed medical marijuana for end-of-life cancer patients already in hospice and nothing else. Cardetti believes the bill failed because it was so restrictive.
“Our approach potentially benefits more patients. It allows those living with illnesses to be able to go to their doctor and their doctor determine a viable treatment option.”
— Elliot Ferguson (@Elliotatthewhig) April 27, 2016
Specifically, the initiative, which you can read here, allows doctors in Missouri to prescribe medical marijuana for treatment of cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, migraines, Parkinson’s disease, any disease causing debilitating pain, any mental illness whose regular treatment could cause dependence, and any terminal illness.
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Further, the initiative creates a statewide system allowing for industrial cultivation of marijuana; allows medical pot users to possess a limited number of plants to grow their own pot; authorizes the state’s Department of Health and Senior Services to institute a seed-to-sale tracking system to keep pot out of the hands of drug dealers; and gives the state a deadline to implement the program so patients can get their medicine quickly (as compared to neighboring state Illinois, which took two years to get its own medical marijuana system up and running, according to Illinois Times).
And as an added benefit to Missouri’s veterans, the initiative puts a four percent retail tax on medical pot, with the money to go to a special fund set aside for veterans.
Whether or not Missouri’s voters will pass the medical marijuana initiative remains to be seen. However, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp believes that legalizing medical pot would free up law enforcement in Missouri to go after more serious crimes.
“People are overmedicated on pharmaceutical drugs. We’re just having to deal with that on a daily basis and we need to make sure that the funding’s in place to come back to assist us to fight those drugs.”
Do you believe Missouri will be the next state to legalize medical marijuana?
[Image courtesy of Sutterstock/william casey]