The Nov. 6 election sets high expectations for local cannabis activists and sets up the possibility that pro-pot voters could approve multiple legalization measures on the same ballot.
In 2016, voters in seven states successfully passed medical marijuana ballot initiatives, but the campaign to legalize medical marijuana failed to get enough signatures. This year Missouri has secured a spot on the ballot, but they will share the space with two other medical marijuana ballot initiatives.
Nursing student, Lauren Hill, shares why she believes medical marijuana should be legalized.
“I think it’s a great idea for medical marijuana to be legalized,” Hill said. “If there is even a question about it being used for healing or pain relieving purposes, then I think that’s the answer since there is absolutely no talk of legalizing cocaine or drugs like that.”
The New Approach Missouri is a constitutional amendment that would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with certain medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, epilepsy, chronic pain, PTSD and Parkinson’s. This will impose a four percent sales tax and some of that will go towards veterans programs.
They are also the only ballot initiative that would permit patients to grow their own weed with a $100 license fee, and the plants have to be grown in a facility that is registered with the state. Hill explains why she thinks the New Approach Missouri is the best option on the ballot.
“I think it would do more good than harm. People with medical conditions are in pain, and they need something to take the pain away. I watched my grandma suffer with lung cancer, and I wish there was something that could have taken the pain away,” Hill said.
Although many different drugs have negative outcomes, like addiction and overdoses, marijuana is not one of those.
“People get addicted to opioids all the time, but doctors still prescribe them to take pain away. So, I don’t feel that medical marijuana would be any different or any worse. I haven’t seen any studies about medical marijuana causing harm or having a negative feedback. Patients can always refuse it if they don’t want it when a doctor prescribes it,” Hill said.
The second constitutional amendment to make the ballot is known as the Bradshaw Amendment. It would create a state research institute and establish a nine person research board that would work on developing cures and treatments for cancer, other incurable diseases or medical conditions. The board would also determine what diseases would benefit from medical marijuana treatment.
The Bradshaw Amendment would impose the highest tax of 15 percent. Some of that tax revenue would fund health and care services for veterans.
The third constitutional amendment to make the ballot is the Missourians For Patient Care Act. It would change Missouri statute to allow for marijuana and its constituent parts to be used for medical purposes.
The Patient Care Act would impose a two percent tax, the lowest rate of the three proposals. The revenue would fund programs for veterans, drug treatment, early childhood education and public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility.
Breanna Miller, resident assistant and criminal justice-legal studies major, explains the pros and cons of legalizing medical marijuana and the potential of college students being able to get ahold of it.
“Medical marijuana has been proven to be very beneficial, however, as a campus, we need to consider progressive actions to help implement new state legislation with our policies in order to best integrate this new potential norm,” Miller said. “It could potentially be an issue, but if we want to provide an environment in which students can be successful, we need to start thinking about potential solutions to possible problems. Faculty and students need to reach some sort of understand, as well as work together to address and produce an outcome that would benefit everyone, something that we don’t see too often.”