Medical Marijuana in prescription bottle

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Missouri Voters Say Yes to Medical Marijuana

Missouri becomes the 31st state to approve medical marijuana.

November 06, 2018 - 10:46 pm
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By JIM SALTER
Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Missouri voters on Tuesday approved a measure that would give them access to medical marijuana, joining a long list of states that allow the once-forbidden drug to be used for medicinal purposes. 

Three separate and unrelated issues were on the ballot providing for medical marijuana in Missouri, thanks to three successful petition drives. But just one passed: Amendment 2. 

The medical marijuana ballot measures were among several issues confronting Missouri voters, who also approved gradually raising the state's minimum wage from the current $7.85 an hour to $12 an hour. Voters also rejected a measure that would have raised the current 17-cent-per-gallon gas tax 10 cents per gallon to fund road and bridge improvements. But they approved one creating a new position of nonpartisan demographer to draw state House and Senate boundaries based on the 2020 Census. 

The approved medical marijuana measure allows patients with cancer, HIV, epilepsy and other conditions access to the drug. Missouri becomes the 31st state to approve medical marijuana, although Utah also had a measure on the ballot Tuesday. 

Missouri legislative researchers have estimated that more than $100 million worth of medical marijuana could be sold annually. 

Experts had predicted a court battle if more than one of the measures passed. 

Constitutional Amendment 2, from a coalition of patients, doctors and veterans called New Approach Missouri, emphasized the value of medical marijuana for veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder is among the qualifying, and a 4 percent sales tax goes to a newly-created fund for health and care services for veterans. 

New Approach Missouri spokesman Jack Cardetti said that in passing Amendment 2, voters ``showed that increasing health care treatment options for patients and supporting veterans are bipartisan Missouri values.'' 

The competing constitutional change proposal that failed, Amendment 3, was financed almost exclusively by Brad Bradshaw, a Springfield personal injury attorney and medical doctor. Its funding mechanism called for a 15 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana as well as a wholesale tax on the sale of marijuana flowers and leaves. Those funds would be used to create a new state institute to research ``presently incurable diseases.'' 

Opponents were critical of a provision giving Bradshaw broad powers over the new research institute, including choosing its board members. 

Proposition C, which also failed, would have imposed a 2 percent tax on medical marijuana sales to be used for veteran services, drug treatment, early childhood education and public safety in cities with medical marijuana facilities. It was supported by Missourians for Patient Care, a political action committee that did not disclose its financial supporters.