The Missouri House twice this year killed attempts to legalize medical marijuana. A measure with the same aim could appear on the November ballot. It’s backed by a group called New Approach Missouri. Spokesman Jack Cardetti says enough signatures were collected, but they must still be reviewed for verification by the Missouri Secretary of State’s office.
“We thought the legislature was probably still a few years off from passing this,” said Cardetti. “Their voters and their constituents are far ahead of where the legislators are on this issue at this point. To basically tell cancer patients or epilepsy patients that we need to hold off and wait for three or four more years until the legislature passes it, we didn’t think that was fair.”
The measure would allow doctors to approve the drug for use by cancer, epilepsy, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and spinal cord injury patients. There are 24 states that have medical marijuana laws.
Cardetti says its proposal puts patients first. He says the group’s effort is not to try to legalize marijuana for recreational use, like some opponents might say.
“If people are opposed to this, they’re certainly not opposed to it on the basis of what’s best for patients and what’s best for the doctors. Ours is what puts those people back in charge of the medical decisions,” said Cardetti.
The measure includes safeguards so that patients prescribed the drug can’t sell it on the black or grey markets. Cardetti says a seed-to-sale computerized tracking system would be included and the Missouri Department of Health would have access to it.
Under the proposal, public use and driving under the influence of medical marijuana would be prohibited.
It includes a 4% tax on marijuana to help fund veteran healthcare services. The State Auditor’s office estimates that the tax could generate about $20 million annually.