The Missouri House is again being asked to give its blessing to medical marijuana.

Lieutenant Jason Grellner (left) and Representative Dave Hinson

Lieutenant Jason Grellner (left) and Representative Dave Hinson

This year’s version of legislation to allow the medical use of marijuana in Missouri would give the final say to voters.

Bill sponsor Representative Dave Hinson (R-St. Clair) says if his bill becomes law it will be easier to address problems that come up, than if initiative petitions that would put medical marijuana in the constitution, are approved, because it is much harder to make changes to the constitution.

“Just like the puppy mill bill, Prop C, that’s happened with the energy bill, congressional redistricting, [the legislature was] able to come in and change and override those things,” said Hinson. “Constitutional amendment, we’re just stuck with it.”

The bill is opposed by many law enforcement groups. Jason Grellner with the Missouri and National Narcotics Officers Associations says this would be the wrong way to approve a drug.

“They need time, research, and understanding so that we can learn about its toxicity. We do that through the F.D.A. We have not legislated or allowed the people to vote on any other medicine in the history of the United States. Why would we start now?” Grellner asked during committee testimony. “Why would we start? Because we’re hearing antidotes and we want to feel compassion and we want to feel for these people because in their situations maybe it worked. Maybe it didn’t. Maybe it was something else.”

Representative Ron Hicks (R-St. Peters) says there is already plenty of evidence regarding whether people die from marijuana overdoses compared to other drugs.

“There’s hundreds of thousands of people smoking the crap out of it right now. I don’t think we need the F.D.A. They’re not dying on the street corners like they are with meth and everything else, and heroin,” said Hicks.

Last year’s version of this bill passed out of the same committee but was never debated further.  TV host Montel Williams testified for that bill.