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Missouri to Consider Medical Marijuana in 2017

Will Governor-elect Eric Greitens give his support?

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Missouri lawmakers will fight to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the 2017 legislative session.

Senators Jason Holsman (D) and Rob Schaaf (R) recently dragged a couple of pieces of legislation up to the steps of the State Capitol aimed at creating a statewide medical marijuana program.

Holsman’s proposal, Senate Bill 56, would allow the state to “grant licenses for the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of marijuana for medical use.” Although the entire scope of this legislation has yet to be revealed, particularly the extent of its proposed qualified conditions, a summary shows that it would create a far-reaching medical marijuana industry.

As for Schaaf’s proposal, Senate Bill 153, more information regarding qualified conditions has been made available.

The bill would give patients with “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 ability to access cannabis medicine as long as they have been given the green light by a state licensed physician.

Unfortunately, neither proposal makes any mention of allowing patients to engage in home cultivation, nor does it seem to include common conditions such as chronic pain and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which have become staples in the majority of successful medical marijuana programs operating across the United States.

However, both bills provide the state with an opportunity to establish something better than the state’s current CBD-only law. Right now, only patients suffering with intractable epilepsy can use cannabis extracts – oil containing no more than .03 percent THC. While better than nothing, this ultra-restrictive program is reportedly servicing fewer than 50 patients in the entire state.

The question is: does either bill have a fighting chance at becoming law if well received in the State Legislature? Probably not.

Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens said earlier this year during his campaign that he was mostly opposed to marijuana legalization, except in “certain circumstances” where cannabis oil can help children with epilepsy.

Fortunately, Show-Me Cannabis, the organization that has been pushing to legalize the leaf in Missouri for the past few years, will reportedly launch a campaign to legalize a comprehensive medical marijuana program in 2018.

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