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Missouri Approves Medical Marijuana

November 29th 2018, photo/istock/smontgom65

 By Roger Malespin

Voters in the Midwest state of Missouri have approved Amendment 2 - a constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana - and a host of provisions within this past Tuesday, bringing the total number of states with some form of legalization to 32. Missouri has a somewhat complicated history with trying to legalize marijuana, but it’s not very surprising the votes went the way they did.

First brought up in 2014 by Governor Jay Nixon, the first medical marijuana bill was limited to allowing CBD to certain persons with severe seizures, and a year later licensed two companies to grow and distribute said CBD. This was a very limited bill but a life saving one for the few people who needed it.

 There were two measures that Jones proposed; one that completely allows marijuana for recreational use for adults 21 and over, and another, the one that was on the ballot and passed, that allows medical use. The recreational version was not voted on, likely because lawmakers wanted a safer approach to getting some form of decriminalization on the books rather than risk voters rejecting the more expansive measure and the state getting nothing.
The bill has many similarities with other state medical marijuana reforms and also some differences. Some of the provisions are as follows:

Like other states, those approved by their physicians will be issued ID cards by the state, but they will be allowed to grow their own plants regardless of where in the state they live or proximity to a dispensary.

The amount allowed for an individual to have is noticeably higher than most other states - 6 grown plants as well as up to 4 ounces of product purchased at a dispensary.

There are also looser rules for doctors to recommend patients for use. Some states allow only certain conditions after the patient does not respond well to traditional treatments, but the Missouri bill allows doctors to recommend for any condition they see fit.

An additional 4 percent sales tax on all products that will be earmarked to help all manner of veterans affairs. Veterans are among the most vulnerable groups to the opioid epidemic and concern for them is the arguably the primary motivation for cannabis reforms.

 Though the new law does not allow recreational use, it’s still a big win for everyone. In a preliminary vote earlier this year, Missouri voters overwhelmingly approved any potential recreational use law, so it’s likely that sometime in the near future further amendments will be made, possibly leading to full legalization.

 "There is near-universal support in the U.S. for providing seriously ill patients with legal access to medical cannabis," Matthew Schweich of MPP said. "Most voters, regardless of their age, geographic location, or political persuasion recognize the medical benefits of marijuana and believe it should be available to those who can benefit from it. Now that more than 30 states have enacted comprehensive medical marijuana laws, it is time for Congress to step up and address the issue at the federal level.”