Initiative to offer medical marijuana program to November voters underway
Last update: March 23, 2016
New Approach Missouri is spearheading an effort to establish a comprehensive medical marijuana program through ballot initiative. The initiative would allow patients suffering from a host of illnesses – including but not limited to cancer, epilepsy, and PTSD – to access their medicine by visiting a dispensary where they could purchase up to six ounces of marijuana for a 30-day period. Patients would also be permitted to grow up to six plants at home. Further, this initiative has a provision that levies a 4% tax on retail sales that would go to the newly established Missouri Veterans’ Health Care Fund, which would benefit veterans through a host of programs including job training, tuition assistance, and mental health care.
To learn more about the initiative, check out our summary. If you would like to help New Approach Missouri collect the needed signatures to place this choice before the voters, please sign up here. It is time to offer Missouri patients some relief.
Legislative efforts in Missouri’s 2016 session
Many Missouri lawmakers have filed legislation to reform the state’s marijuana laws, including Rep. Brandon Ellington’s HJR 57, which seeks to regulate marijuana like alcohol for persons 21 years of age and older, and Rep. Craig Redmon’s HB 1973, which seeks to allow for the cultivation of industrial hemp. Please raise your voice and ask your lawmakers to enact sensible marijuana policy reforms.
However, it is significant that these bills that represent positive steps have become a regular fixture at the state capital. We hope to see further progress following the recent addition of the state’s high-CBD law, which was signed into law in 2014. You can voice your support for a comprehensive medical marijuana system by clicking here and emailing your representative and senator.
Marijuana laws in Missouri
In 2014, lawmakers enacted SB 491, which lessens penalties for those possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana, beginning in 2017. But Missouri still has a long way to go to protect its adult residents who choose to possess or use a substance shown to be objectively safer than alcohol. Possession of over 35 grams — about 1.25 ounces — is a felony subject to a prison sentence of up to seven years and a $5,000 fine.
In perhaps the most outrageous marijuana sentence in the state, Missourian Jeffrey Mizanskey was until recently serving a life sentence for nonviolent cannabis-related offenses under a severe three-strikes law. Mizanskey’s sentence was commuted by Gov. Nixon on May 22, giving him the possibility of parole — and the possibility of not dying in prison. His parole was subsequently granted and on September 1, 2015, Mizanskey was freed after serving 21 years in prison!
Many thousands of Missourians are arrested and branded criminals each year for marijuana offenses. In 2012, Missouri arrested or cited over 18,800 individuals for marijuana-related offenses, 92% of which were for possession. During the same year, 87% of reported burglaries — including home invasions — and 88% of motor vehicle thefts went unsolved by law enforcement. In addition to marijuana prohibition diverting police from more serious crime, it’s also been unevenly enforced among races. Blacks are 2.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Missouri than their white counterparts, even though blacks and whites consume marijuana at similar rates. For more information on how the war on marijuana consumers is often waged unequally, check out the ACLU’s recent report.
Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project and all of our allies. If you have a personal connection to the issue — including if you are a seriously ill patient, a loved one, a physician, or a clergy member — and would like to get more involved, please contact us by email at [email protected]. Please include your address or nine-digit zip code so we can determine who your state legislators are.
To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Missouri, please subscribe to our email alerts. If you have any questions concerning the status of marijuana policy reform in Missouri, you can contact us by email at [email protected].