Medical Cannabis Likely Coming to America’s Heartland
While full adult-use cannabis legalization laws garner most of the headlines and medical measures are seen as mundane no-brainers, medicinal cannabis is a literal lifesaver to many patients and it also sets the stage for further reforms in the coming years. While marijuana has gone mainstream, with about 2/3 of voters supporting legalization, America’s Heartland, with conservative voting blocs and very few initiative laws, has been slow to adopt functional medical programs.
Arkansas recently broke through, but the medical measure that ultimately prevailed doesn’t allow for home cultivation and neither does Illinois’ program. Missouri is hoping to break the mold and show that a state that voted for Donald Trump can pass a progressive cannabis law that allows home gardens, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:
Dan Viets, a Columbia lawyer who has worked on marijuana reform for 40 years, said the Legislature failed to act as more and more states made medical marijuana accessible. Missouri would be the 32nd state to allow medical marijuana if voters approve any of three questions on the subject on Nov. 6.
“I took a perverse joy — a pleasure in speaking the truth to legislative committees over the decades,” Viets said. “But it’s a good deal more fun when you actually have a chance of winning. And it’s not in the General Assembly. It’s at the ballot box. And we will win. We will prevail.”
In Missouri, a coalition of marijuana activists have largely coalesced around Amendment 2, which if approved would enshrine the right to medicinal marijuana in the state constitution.
If Amendment 2 takes effect, Jack Cardetti, spokesman for the group backing the campaign, said to expect retail sales of medical marijuana in January 2020.
For full disclosure, I helped Dan Viets and other Missouri activists write early drafts of a medical cannabis measure that eventually evolved into Amendment 2 and Dan was an early mentor of mine when I was an undergrad and law student at the University of Missouri. I urge Show-me State voters to vote “YES” on Amendment 2 and “NO” on Amendment 3. Amendment 3 doesn’t allow for home cultivation or true competition for licenses and has a higher tax of 15% compared to Amendment 2’s 4%. I have no formal position with New Approach Missouri’s Amendment 2 campaign and would have no problem supporting a better measure on the ballot.
Missouri passing a medical cannabis law at the ballot box will have a beneficial impact for states across the nation. Not only will more conservative states be influenced by the Show-me State, but we’ll soon add more Missouri members of Congress to the growing list of officials supporting legalization at the federal level. Additionally, we know that medical measures can often lead to full legalization laws, so Missouri will be on the short list of conservative states that end prohibition for all adults within its borders. To effectively legalize across the country, cannabis still needs to move further into the mainstream and winning in America’s Heartland will add more full to our growing momentum.
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Amendment 2, Dan Viets, Jack Cardetti, New Approach Missouri