Will Missouri Become the Next State to Legalize Medical Marijuana

On November 6th, Missouri voters will decide whether or not the use of medical marijuana to treat approved conditions becomes legal. There are three marijuana initiatives on the ballot – Constitutional Amendment Two, Constitutional Amendment Three and Proposition “C”. A vote for “yes” on any of the three ballot initiatives would legalize medical marijuana. Each initiative has differences and over the coming days we’ll break down each of them. We start with Proposed Constitutional Amendment Two.

Amendment Two proposes to:

  • legalize marijuana for medical purposes;
  • tax marijuana sales at four percent; and
  • spend tax revenue on healthcare services for veterans.

If the amendment is passed, any changes would require a simple majority vote by the legislature after which the changes would be referred to the voting ballot for the public to decide. The ballot would legalize medical marijuana for nine qualifying conditions plus others with doctor’s approval. The current approved conditions are:

  • cancer,
  • epilepsy,
  • glaucoma,
  • intractable migraines unresponsive to other treatments,
  • a chronic medical conditions that causes severe, persistent pain or persistent muscle spasms, including multiple sclerosis, seizures, Parkinson’s disease and Tourette’s syndrome,
  • debilitating psychiatric disorders such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, if diagnosed by a state licensed psychiatrist,
  • HIV or AIDS,
  • any terminal illness,
  • a chronic medical condition normally treated via prescription medication that a physician determines could be treated with medical marijuana, or any other chronic, debilitating or other medical condition such as ALS, Crohns disease, autism, hepatitis C, and others that a physician determines could be treated with medical marijuana.

Amendment Two places a four percent sales tax on medical cannabis and is expected to generate $24 million annually for the state and local government with costs estimated to reach approximately $7 million. The tax revenue generated would be utilized to assist veterans with healthcare, job training, housing and other services.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services would be tasked with regulating the new industry. The proposed amendment would not allow local governments to ban dispensaries or growing/manufacturing facilities from operating in their towns, but does allow local governments to regulate the location of dispensaries or grow/manufacturing facilities within their towns, as well as the time and manner of their operations. Finally, the total number of dispensaries was not to be less than 24 in each congressional district.

The Department of Health would be allowed to set a limit on the amount of medical marijuana that an individual purchases within a thirty day period, as long as that limit was greater than or equal to four ounces of dried marijuana. The Department would also be allowed to limit the amount of medical marijuana an individual possessed, as long as that limit was not less than a sixty day supply of dried marijuana.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and the Marijuana Policy Project both endorsed Amendment Two as being the most patient-centric of the proposals. If all three proposed bills receive a majority vote, only one will be enacted. Missouri state law holds that a constitutional amendment takes precedence over a proposition (i.e. Amendment Two or Three would take precedence over Prop. “C”), but if both amendment two and three are approved by voters the amendment with the majority of votes would be enacted.

This is the first of our reviews of the proposed medical marijuana changes pending in Missouri during the upcoming November 6th election. Each of the proposals has their pros and cons. Please check our blog for updates and remain informed as to your choices in the upcoming election and going forward.

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