Two different coalitions have organized petition drives to legalize the use of marijuana in Missouri for “medical” purposes.
The groups are aiming to gather sufficient signatures to place the issue on the 2016 statewide general election ballot. They need to collect 168,000 signatures from six of the state’s nine congressional districts by May.
One group goes by the name New Approach Missouri. According to press reports, their proposal would authorize doctors to prescribe the use of marijuana for patients who have cancer or other “serious health conditions.”
Under the plan, the state would license a total of 75 “cultivation facilities” and “qualifying patients” would be allowed to grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes.
In an effort to win sympathy for their cause, a 4 percent tax on marijuana sales would be dedicated for health care services for veterans.
A second group is called “Missouri Cures.” Under this group’s plan, there would be no limit on how many “cultivation facilities” could be licensed, however in-home cultivation would be prohibited.
Licensed pharmacists would be given “priority” in dispensing so-called “medical marijuana.” A hefty tax of 75 percent would be levied on pot sales, with the proceeds to go to unspecified “medical research.”
The state’s leading pro-marijuana organization, Show Me Cannabis, has decided to throw its support behind the proposals. Show Me Cannabis had previously been pushing a petition effort to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Missouri.
The New Approach group has hired Jack Cardetti as its chief strategist. Cardetti is a former press spokesman for Governor Jay Nixon. The Missouri Cures group is spearheaded by Brad Bradshaw, a Springfield physician who is also a Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
23 states have now legalized so-called “medical marijuana.” Illinois has been among the latest, where the program has been the subject of continuing controversy.
Proponents of marijuana liberalization are turning to petition drives to accomplish their cause because the prospects for passage of such legislation in the Missouri General Assembly is unfavorable.
They claim that their internal polls show significant support for “medical marijuana” use, which has usually been a precursor to ultimate legalization of pot for recreational purposes.