The road to legalizing cannabis for medical use in Missouri was long, but it was worth the effort. I have been rooting for Missouri reform efforts for several years now, ever since I became friends with legendary activist Anthony Johnson. Anthony is now a beloved citizen of Oregon where I live, but his heart will always be in Missouri where he is originally from, and he has made me a huge fan of the state.
Cannabis activists in Missouri are as passionate as it gets, and it has been inspiring to watch their efforts from afar. Today Missouri voters approved Amendment 2, which was one of three medical cannabis initiatives on the ballot and was by far the best initiative out of the three (as proven by the election results!). I want to give an enormous hat tip to the New Approach Missouri campaign team for all of their hard work and to congratulate them on their victory today. Because of their efforts suffering patients in Missouri will now get relief.
The focus now turns to what the next steps are in Missouri. The official text of the initiative can be found at this link here. Below is a summary of the main provisions of the initiative:
- When will it take effect? “Amendment 2 would require the state Department of Health and Senior Services to begin accepting applications for qualifying patients within 180 days after December 6, 2018 (therefore, no later than June 4, 2019). Amendment 2 would require the department to begin accepting applications for dispensaries no later than 240 days after December 6, 2018 (therefore, no later than August 3, 2019). The department would be required to accept or reject applications for dispensaries within 150 days of receiving them.” – per Ballotpedia, bold text added for emphasis
- Registered patients will be allowed to cultivate up to 6 plants at home
- Registered caregivers will be allowed to cultivate up to 18 plants
- Registered patients will be able to purchase up to 4 ounces of cannabis every 30 days from dispensaries and possess 8 ounces at home (or more if 2 doctors approve increased possession limits for the patients)
- Medical cannabis sales will be taxed 4% when dispensaries are launched, with the tax revenue and license fees going first to funding Missouri’s medical cannabis program and the rest going to supporting Missouri military veteran services (very cool!)
- Qualifying conditions include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, intractable migraines, severe muscle spasms, debilitating psychiatric disorders, HIV, prescription medication addiction, any terminal illness, any other medical condition that a physician determines to be debilitating or chronic
It is important for cannabis advocates in Missouri to realize that the battle is not over. Winning on Election Day is not the end of the fight, it’s merely the end of a phase of the fight. The medical cannabis advocacy effort now turns towards making sure that the will of the voters is upheld.
A lot of rulemaking is about to occur in Missouri, and it’s vital that cannabis advocates show up when needed and provide comments when the opportunities pop up. Advocates need to hold lawmakers and bureaucrats accountable at all times. Congratulations Missouri, you did it! You legalized medical cannabis!!!! #CompassionWins