Mo. voters to decide fate of medical marijuana

Saturday, September 8, 2018

When voters go to the polls come November, the spotlight will clearly fall on the race for the United States Senate between incumbent Claire McCaskill and Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Getting limited fanfare is a ballot issue —or perhaps three ballot issues — to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri.

Although it’s somewhat confusing, as of today there are three separate ballot initiatives that would make medical marijuana available to some patients with specific ailments.

All three measures have the same basic premise but each would allocate the tax funds from the measure for different purposes.

There is a court case submitted, however, that questions some details of two of the measures. It’s a technical question but still unresolved.

If all three measures ultimately are on the ballot, the one gaining the most support would prevail.

Two of the three ballot issues would be constitutional amendments.

Amendments two gives doctors the power to determine which patients would qualify to use medical marijuana.

Among the qualifying medical conditions eligible for medical marijuana would be PTSD, seizures, cancer and epilepsy and any other chronic, debilitating or other medical conditions approved by a physician.

It would tax the medical marijuana at 4 percent.

Amendment three is more restrictive and includes fewer illnesses available for medical marijuana. And it would tax the marijuana at 15 percent.

Finally comes Proposition C which is simply a change in Missouri statutes. It would provide the lowest tax rate of 2 percent and would be allowed only in very specific illnesses.

If approved, Missouri would join at least 30 current states that allow some form of medical marijuana.

Despite the current court challenge, it appears likely that all three measures will go before voters in November.

As election day comes closer, I will examine these issues in greater detail and share my humble opinion on their importance to Missourians.

But I’ll say this now.

If not this year, at some point, Missouri will join the other states in recognizing the value of medical marijuana for some patients.

There’s far too much evidence in the medical community that supports the benefits of medical marijuana in some limited instances.

Missouri is truly a conservative state and late to accept issues such as this. But times are changing and despite some serious concerns, the day will come when society accepts the medical benefits of marijuana.

We may come late to the party, but eventually we’ll join the rest of the nation on this issue.

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