Missouri Residents are Pushing for the Recreational Use of Cannabis

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It was in November 2018 when Missouri became one of the states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana for qualified patients. This happening allows qualified and registered patients and their caregivers to purchase up to four ounces of cannabis from dispensaries each month.

Medical cannabis can be recommended by licensed physicians to patients who are diagnosed with conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease, Cancer, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Intractable Migraines, Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD, any chronic or debilitating conditions, and terminal illnesses.

There is a 4 percent retail tax for the purchases that the patients and caregivers make. The government will then allot the revenue to fund the state’s veterans’ health care costs. Aside from being able to buy from dispensaries, registered patients are allowed to cultivate cannabis for their own use.

According to the state’s law, a registered patient or their caregivers can legally grow up to six cannabis plants at home. Patients can buy seeds from dispensaries or even online. There are also more available at i49.

Federally, CBD from hemp oil is legal in the United States and so it’s pretty easy to get a hold of in Missouri. However, despite this and medical cannabis being legal in the state, many physicians in the state are still hesitant about its use.

Patients are a bit frustrated about this but they are hopeful that things will change as more studies are on the way to prove the benefits of the cannabis plants. There are still physicians out there, however, that still sees this as a better option than drugs with a lot of side effects and can be addictive.

As more studies are being conducted about the real effects of cannabis in one’s body, supporters are surely not waiting. The Missouri National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws of NORML is one of the local organizations that are pushing for its recreational or adult use as well.

Recently, the organization obtained approval for a signature campaign for their initiative. The initiative states that adults 21 and above will be allowed to possess and purchase cannabis and cannabis products from licensed retailers. This also includes the cultivation of up to three plants for their own use.

Cannabis sales will also be imposed with a 15 percent tax rate. The revenue will also go towards the health care costs of veterans, substance misuse treatments, and infrastructure projects. This can be possible as research suggests that the state can generate as much as 155 million US dollars each year from passing this law.

Another notable provision of this amendment is that local governments can choose to opt-out. This means that local governments can temporarily prohibit recreational cannabis business from operating until the next elections this year. After that, local governments can impose a ban by having voters decide.

The signature campaign is aiming to get a total of 160,199 verified signatures to be able to qualify for the measure. This will happen just a month after the secretary of state has certified the ballot title and cleared the measure for signature gathering.

The group will have to be able to gather the signatures by May 3 of this year. This can be possible as the initiative is backed by two other advocacy groups in the state. The Marijuana Policy Project and New Approach PAC are involved in this too. These are two groups that were involved in the successful legislation of medical cannabis in the state in 2018.

John Payne, Missouri NORML’s campaign manager said in a press release regarding this matter, “Eleven other states, including our neighbors in Illinois, have successfully regulated and taxed adult-use marijuana, bringing millions in new funding for state services.”

He added, “Missourians are strongly in favor of legalizing, taxing and regulating adult marijuana use and we are excited to give voters this opportunity in November.”

The group’s state coordinator and chairman of the Missourians for a New Approach Board Chair Dan Viets also spoke about this. He said, “It’s time we stop treating adults who use cannabis responsibly like criminals. We should tax and regulate marijuana like we do alcohol.”

If the signature campaign becomes successful, Missouri will then be voting on cannabis reform in November of this year along with other states that are intending to do the same. It is predicted that there will be several cannabis reform initiatives that will appear in the ballots of a few states this year.

 

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