Show-Me Cannabis: Skip Medical Phase, Enact Legalization

7

Citizens or lawmakers enacted medical marijuana programs in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska long before voters legalized the plant for adult use. Many prominent targets for legalization in the next election cycle, such as California, Nevada, Arizona, Maine and Vermont, also allow medical marijuana.

In a move that may be seen more often in coming years, pro-pot advocates in Missouri want to skip the medical marijuana phase and go straight to legalization. (Editor’s note: Missouri passed a medical marijuana law in 2014, but it is limited to CBD and only for intractable epilepsy.)

Show-Me Cannabis, a Missouri marijuana activist group, filed the petition last week to put a legalization initiative on the 2016 ballot. To earn a place on the ballot, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has to provide his approval, then petition backers can launch a drive to collect 165,000 signatures from registered voters. The group’s director thinks they can do it and he’s not alone.

“We still have a long road ahead of us,” says Show-Me Cannabis Executive Director John Payne. “But we can feel the wind at our backs.”

Other marijuana advocacy groups, a newly-elected state representative and the editorial board of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch agree that the time is right for Missouri legalization.

Trish Bertrand serves as president for the Springfield, Mo. chapter of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). She hasn’t forgotten that legalization attempts in 2012 and 2014 failed to gather enough signatures, but she thinks 2016 will be different.

“I really think it will pass here,” Bertrand said.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board published an article on November 13 making its case for legalization. The newspaper pointed to civil rights issues as a significant factor. They reference a 2013 ACLU report showing that blacks are almost four times more likely to be arrested than whites for marijuana in Missouri. The numbers get worse when you look at St. Louis.

“The disparity in the city of St. Louis in that study was a whopping 18 to 1,” according to the editorial.

Missouri Representative-elect Shamed Dogan attended the Fall Cannabis Reform Conference on Saturday. Show-Me Cannabis organized the event in downtown St. Louis and Dogan explained his thinking on the issue.

“It is a state versus federal thing,” Dogan said. He argues that just because marijuana is prohibited by federal law doesn’t mean Missouri can’t have its own laws.

Will a full legalization proposal make it onto Missouri’s 2016 ballot? Only time will tell.

About Author

Aiden Hunt is a freelance marijuana reporter. In addition to Marijuana.com, he has had articles published in The Cannabist, The Hemp Connoisseur Magaziine and Cronic Magazine. He is currently focusing on coverage of state marijuana reform from a national perspective.

7 Comments

  1. I still don’t like the “pro-pot” label. We are not promoting marijuana. We are not advocating that people use marijuana. It’s much like Planned Parenthood used to be called by the press “pro-abortion”. They aren’t. They are pro-choice, and so are we.

  2. I certainly am looking forward to Missouri leaping over the MMJ nonsense and going straight to recreational. The reason why the medical campaigning is nonsense now is that legislators are only endorsing it if it’s wrapped up in so many restrictions and hoops that it doesn’t allow for any affordability because the last few states with MMJ bills whether they passed or not did not allow home growing such as Florida’s MMJ bill that failed. Even WA state doesn’t have a true legalization as you still have to have a MMJ approval to be able to legally grow. It’s past time to end this tippy-toe BS anyway. The reason why I want to see Missouri pass it so bad is that they border so many good ol’ boy southern bible belt states and this is going to wreak havoc on those southern states and force them into passing legalization. I feel bad for those that end up getting arrested by crossing over into Missouri from Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Oklahoma but this is what it’s going to take to force the greatest stronghold of resistant southern legislators into passing legalization when their law enforcement ends up dedicating a great majority of their time to marijuana arrests as a good chunk of the nation legalizes it.

    The southern states will be the hardest nut to crack when it comes to legalizing it. Then also, with the northeastern states like Vermont and Maine passing recreational, they will end up supplying their neighboring states and forcing their legislators into legalizing it as well. It’s going to take this to end the marijuana persecution and prosecutions. Whether the entire nation will have legalized it on the state levels by 2018 or 2020, will all depend on how many more states pass recreational in 2016. Because in 2017, the herb will flow all over the states. I expect the black market will make a last all out stand and so will law enforcement in remaining illegal states over the next 3-4 yrs. There was a recent news story about a new Republican administration coming in and possibly undoing all the progress of legalized states in 2017. I don’t see this EVER happening, not at this point. The Feds have waited far too late to stop the advancement of legalized marijuana. It’s over for them in the next few years.

    The big question is, when and how much will these new states tax it ? If they want to slap on heavy taxation, then they need not whine about a large majority of consumers buying it from the black market. If they wanted to really crush the black market, all states would legalize it and reasonably tax it so that an ounce of grade A herb would be 125 at most out the door. It will eventually be rescheduled and all these profit seeking dispensary owners are going to fold up when the weed mart chain stores come in that will be able to grow so much bulk that the price will lower but I don’t see any rescheduling happening anytime this decade but I do predict a de facto state level legalization happening everywhere by 2020 at the latest.

    • Johnny Bloomington on

      “de facto state level legalization happening everywhere by 2020 at the latest.”

      Like you said the southern states are going to be a hard “nut to crack.” I’d back it up to 2028 and like alcohol, you’ll have dry counties or maybe a dry state or two. Utah-ish

Leave A Reply