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Anheuser-Busch Heir Calls for Medical Marijuana Legalization In Missouri

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect Adolphus Busch IV. The previous article suggested the story was about August Adolphus Busch IV.

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The heir to Anheuser-Busch brewing fortune is now calling for marijuana to be made legal in Missouri.

Last week, Adolphus Busch IV, the great-grandson of the Anheuser-Busch founder, sent out a letter supporting a push to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program in 2018.

The letter, which was written as part of the New Approach Missouri campaign, urges citizens to back the move in the form of monetary donations and, just as importantly, signatures that will allow the issue to go before the voters in next year’s election.

Although New Approach Missouri and a few other groups have been pushing to legalize marijuana in some fashion in the Show-Me state for the past several years, there have been plenty of setbacks that have kept the concept from coming to fruition.

Just last year, a Missouri judge disqualified thousands of voter signatures, preventing the medical marijuana initiative from being included on the ballot in the presidential election.

Advocates of legal marijuana, including Mr. Busch, believe the state might have a fighting chance at combating the state’s opioid epidemic by allowing medical marijuana as an alternative treatment. In fact, Busch’s letter suggests that states with medical marijuana laws on the books have experienced a 25 percent decline in overdose deaths.

However, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA) is disturbed by the idea of marijuana legalization being supported by a man who made millions through his involvement in the alcohol trade.

 “One of the largest concerns is who it’s coming from.  This is someone who benefitted from the profits of the alcohol industry,” Zellin said, adding that there is nothing “medical” about the legal marijuana proposal for which Busch is attempting to rally support.

A report from Fox News indicates that Mr. Busch has no commercial or economic interest involving marijuana that may have persuaded him top take a stand in favor of legalization.

Anheuser-Busch lost controlling interest to Belgium brewery InBev during a 2008 hostile takeover. The company was acquired for $52 billion in cash.

In 2013, Busch resigned from the National Rifle Association after the U.S. Senate failed to give consideration to a bill that would have expanded background checks.

"I fail to see how the NRA can disregard the overwhelming will of its members who see background checks as reasonable," he wrote in a letter. "The NRA appears to have evolved into the lobby for gun and ammunition manufacturers rather than gun owners."