Whether pot should be legalized for medicinal purposes was discussed by a House committee Monday.
Republican lawmaker Dave Hinson presented his bill that would set up the production, prescription, and sale of medical marijuana to patients with debilitating diseases.
“This bill is very regulated, because none of us want the Colorado experience,” said Hinson.
For more than two hours, the committee heard testimony from numerous supporters of the bill. One of those supporters was talk show host Montel Williams.
“Medical marijuana is not going to work for everybody, but there are those of us that it does work for,” says Willimas. “How dare you deny someone the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, cause without it, I don’t have that.”
Williams, who suffers from MS, is filming a documentary about Missouri’s legislative marijuana debate. Williams has traveled around the country lobbying for medical marijuana. Ten other states are considering legalizing medical marijuana and 23 states already have a medicinal marijuana law in place.
Williams says he does not stand with those who want to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
“I’m only concerned about people who need to have relief with medication,” says Williams. “The bill that you have before is one of the most comprehensive bills that has been written.”
An item of the bill that was debated much of the night was whether or not patients should be allowed to grow their own plants. The bill currently states that a patient cannot grow their own plants. Some argued that it would be too expensive or difficult for those living in rural areas to travel to a care center, but Williams believes it’s best to allow the care centers to grow the plants.
“I don’t know of too many people that grow their own individual medicine,” says Williams. “We can teach people that there is a difference in the weed that’s grown in some of these states.”
Veterans of Foreign Wars state commander Thomas Mundell gave an emotional testimony in support of the bill. Mundell told members of the committee about his own experience with Post-Traumatic Stress and how marijuana has nearly eliminated all of this medications since adding it to his therapy.
“It really relaxed me,” said Mundell. “I was on 71 pills a day, I was taking 41 in the morning and 30 and night, and I take 3 now.”
Mundell has traveled to both Colorado and Washington visiting Veterans Affairs Hospitals to study the effects medical marijuana has on patients. Mundell says based on conversations with fellow veterans and VA doctors, he’s convinced that medical marijuana should be legalized.
Two witnesses testified against Hinson’s bill. Missouri Narcotics Officers Association spokesman Jason Grellner says lawmakers should support more research for pharmaceuticals that do not present the problems of standardization.
“This is not a prescription,” said Grellner. “A doctor in the United States of American cannot prescribe a schedule one drug.”
Grellner argued medical marijuana would be regularly abused by casual users.
Last year Missouri legalized the use of CBD oil, a cannabis extract used to treat certain types of epilepsy. Hinson’s bill seemed to have committee support, but that committee did not take a vote on the bill.