A bill that would legalize medical marijuana is close to being debated by one chamber of the Missouri legislature.
HB 800 is sponsored by State Representative Dave Hinson of St. Clair, who presented the bill before a House committee on Emerging Issues last month. Hinson’s bill would legalize medical cannabis and create a system for its cultivation and distribution. After two amendments were added to tighten regulations, that bill has now cleared two House committees.
On Tuesday, the bill unanimously passed in the General Laws committee chaired by State Representative Caleb Jones.
“In my opinion, I think it was a bill that the entire body of the House of Representatives should really discuss,” said Jones. “Obviously, various states throughout the entire country are doing this and implementing this … and by passing it out of our committee, I think the entire House of Representatives will have the opportunity to discuss this bill and its merits on the floor.”
The bill has been changed to specify it won’t legalize medical use of synthetic marijuana, and patients suffering from certain illnesses such as Hepatitis C have been removed from the list of those it would make eligible. The amount patients could possess per month was decreased from 2.5 ounces to 30 grams. One of the amendments requires the fingerprinting of patients and monitoring by police agencies when patients receive medical marijuana.
“Obviously, this is probably a much more conservative look of a bill for this, but it’s also something we want to make sure the people of Missouri are comfortable with before we pass anything else,” said Jones. “I think that it’s our job as representatives to make sure that all avenues of treatment for anybody who’s sick are examined and determined whether or not they should be provided here in the state of Missouri.”
Before the bill can be debated on the House floor, it must be approved by the Select Committee on Rules.