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Missouri Files Initiative to Legalize Cannabis

An initiative was filed in Missouri to legalize access to cannabis for medical purposes with the approval of a physician was filed with the office of the Missouri Secretary of State in Jefferson City, Missouri. The two petitions from pro-medical marijuana group New Approach Missouri, would ask voters whether to amend the state constitution to allow physicians to recommend the drug to patients with certain illnesses, such as cancer, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as “any other chronic, debilitating or otherwise equivalent condition.”

One of the petitions was filed by Sheila Dundon, Registered Nurse and cancer survivor, on behalf of New Approach Missouri, a campaign committee supported by Show-Me Cannabis, among others. Sheila was accompanied at the office of the Secretary of State by Tom Mundell, President of the Missouri Association of Veterans’ Organizations and past Commander of State VFW, Jack Cardetti, campaign consultant for New Approach Missouri, and myself.

Patients with the proper approval who follow new state rules for using pot, such as only possessing a limited amount, would be shielded from criminal and civil penalties under state law.

While 23 states and the District of Columbia permit medical marijuana and four states have legalized recreational use of the drug, marijuana still is forbidden under federal law. This is the latest of several attempts at medical marijuana by supporters in Missouri in recent years, which opponents say could negatively affect public safety.

New Approach Missouri is touting medical marijuana as a needed option for people such as Sheila Dundon, who said she used pot to help deal with the effects of cancer treatment and “could not believe how it helped” with symptoms such as nausea and loss of appetite.

 

 

Others argue allowing medical marijuana could have negative public safety implications, such as increased drug use by minors and driving while high. National Narcotic Officers’ Associations’ Coalition Vice President Jason Grellner added that medical marijuana could be the first step toward full-blown recreational legalization.

Grellner said there is a push to form a group to oppose the initiative petition push.

Democratic Secretary of State Jason Kander must first approve the petitions, and then supporters will have to gather enough signatures for the measures to go on the November 2016 ballot.

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