The state House has rejected asking voters to approve a limited legalization of medical marijuana.
Tuesday the House adopted the bill 91-59, but numerous lawmakers switched sides on the Thursday vote that would have sent it to the Senate, and it failed.
Missouri Prosecutors Association President Kevin Hillman said after the vote Tuesday, local prosecutors talked to their representatives about the association’s opposition to the bill.
“Though it’s termed as ‘medical marijuana’ or ‘compassionate care’ … it’s the first step in what the process is we’ve seen in other states to fully legalize recreational marijuana and we thought that was a bad step – not something that was needed here in Missouri,” said Hillman.
The Association believes legislation is not the way to legalize use of marijuana.
“If the Food and Drug administration does approve some form of marijuana, which there are various forms in trials now, then that will be okay because that will be the legal process to do it,” Hillman told Missourinet.
Bill sponsor Dave Hinson said he was a little surprised that some lawmakers switched votes.
“I knew we were losing a few people because local prosecutors had been calling and reaching out to people,” said Hinson.
Some who voted against the bill said it was too restrictive. It started out as a broader bill but the measure voted on Thursday would have legalized marijuana use only for terminal cancer patients in hospice care.
Initiative petitions are being circulated that would ask voters to approve broader legalization of marijuana.
“I actually had some people that said, ‘You know what, it’s too restrictive. We would prefer to have the initiative petition ballot language,'” Hinson told Missourinet.
Some lawmaker urged their colleagues to vote for the measure, saying such a route to legalization would be preferable to the initiative petition language because that hasn’t been vetted by the legislature. Others opposed the bill saying legalization in other states, whether for medical or recreational, has led to more use by 12 to 15 year-olds, and cited studies showing that use caused brain damage in those youths.