A couple of Missouri lawmakers will be pushing once again in the 2017 legislative session to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program for patients living with severe health conditions.
It was revealed this week that Senators Jason Holsman, a Democrat from Kansas City, and Rob Schaaf, a Republican hailing from St. Joseph, have separately introduced legislation to be heard in the upcoming session aimed at creating a statewide medical marijuana program.
Although there are not many details available on Holsman’s proposal, a measure filed under Senate Bill 56, the brass tacks of this effort is that it would allow the state to “grant licenses for the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of marijuana for medical use.”
A summary of the bill shows that it would push for the creation a full-scale medical marijuana industry where patients with recommendations from a doctor could purchase cannabis products.
When it comes to Schaaf’s proposal, however, which was filed under Senate Bill 153, more information has been made available as to what this legislation hopes to accomplish when it goes before legislative forces early next year.
At its core, the bill would give patients suffering from “cancer, HIV, AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, severe migraines, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease, or certain specified symptoms or complications associated with the conditions listed above” the freedom to purchase medical marijuana under the guidance of a licensed physician.
There has been no mention of home cultivation being permitted under either proposal.
Although neither bill appears capable of creating a vibrant medical marijuana program, mostly because there has been no mention of including common conditions such chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), both could provide a much needed improvement to the ultra-restrictive medical marijuana law the state currently has on the books.
As it stands, Missouri patients with intractable epilepsy can qualify to participate in the state’s CBD-only program. It allows this specific group of patients, which is a small number, to be in possession of up to 20 ounces of cannabis extracts, as long as it contains no more than “three-tenths of one percent of THC,” according to NORML.
A report released over the summer found the state’s CBD program was only servicing around 20 patients.
Earlier this year, marijuana advocates failed to get an initiative on the ballot aimed at legalizing a truly comprehensive medical marijuana program. A group called Show-Me Cannabis, which has flip-flopped throughout the years in respect to what kind of marijuana initiative to push, simply could not compete with the legal hurdles experienced during its campaign. However, the organization recently pledged to push the issue once again in 2018.
Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens has said that while he is “opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana,” he believes there are “certain circumstances” where medical marijuana, specifically cannabis oil, should be legalized to treat children with epilepsy.
But it is still too early to tell whether Greitens would support either of these upcoming medical marijuana proposals should one of them land on his desk at some point next year.
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