Three medical marijuana initiatives qualify for November ballot
Last update: September 13, 2018
After Missouri’s legislature adjourned in May, allowing a House-approved medical marijuana bill to die, three groups succeeded in gathering enough signatures to put medical marijuana initiatives on the general election ballot. Each proposal would establish a pathway for patients, with doctor approval, to legally and safely access medical marijuana from state-regulated dispensaries. Beyond this basic framework, however, there are significant differences.
- Amendment 2 is a constitutional measure backed by New Approach Missouri and endorsed by the state’s NORML chapter. The proposal would establish a four percent tax on medical marijuana, which would be used to support the program and provide services to military veterans in the state. Amendment 2 is also the only initiative that would permit home cultivation (up to six plants).
- Amendment 3, another constitutional initiative, has been supported and financed by physician-attorney Brad Bradshaw. In addition to taxes on wholesale transfers of medical marijuana, Amendment 3 would also impose a 15 percent sales tax. Most of the revenue would be dedicated to the creation of a research institution aimed at finding treatments and cures to intractable health conditions, such as cancer.
- Proposition C, a statutory amendment, has the backing of Missourians for Patient Care. With a two percent tax on medical marijuana, the initiative would fund a range of programs, including veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and public safety.
What happens if multiple initiatives receive majority support from voters? Typically, if competing initiatives conflict, the one with the most votes prevails. However, most believe that a constitutional amendment would take precedence over a statutory proposal. In other words, even if Prop C receives more votes than Amendment 2 and Amendment 3, the courts would likely determine that the constitutional initiative with the most votes would supersede, provided that it receives more than 50 percent support.
We encourage Missourians to support Amendment 2, given its relative permanence as a constitutional proposal and its more reasonable tax structure. MPP does not take a position on the other two initiatives. A poll conducted in August found that 54% of likely Missourian voters support a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana, while 35% are opposed.
To learn more about the campaigns and their proposals, read this article from Marijuana Moment.
Current marijuana laws in Missouri
Marijuana possession has been decriminalized. Legislation was approved in 2014 to decriminalize the possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis, such that possession is punishable by a fine only. The offense remains a criminal misdemeanor. The possession of greater quantities of cannabis remains punishable by jail time.
Cultivation remains illegal. Cultivating 35 grams or less is a Class E felony, which is punishable by up to four years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000. Cultivating 35 grams or more is a Class C felony, which is punishable by a sentence of three to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000.
Medical use of CBD oil for seizures is permitted. In July 2014, Governor Jay Nixon signed into law the Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill, allowing the use of CBD oil to treat persistent seizures. In 2015, the state issued licenses to two non-profits to grow cannabis for oil to be sold to patients.
Timeline of marijuana reform in Missouri
2008: In Missouri v. Cox, the state Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s rejection of a patient’s medical necessity defense because the legislature had already expressed its intent by placing marijuana in Schedule I, even though statute allowed the dispensing of Schedule I substances by certain professionals.
2014: Governor Jay Nixon signed into law the Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill, allowing the use of CBD oil to treat persistent seizures.
Lawmakers enacted SB 491, which reduced penalties for those possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana and began on January 1, 2017. A first offense is punishable as a class D misdemeanor (an infraction) and carries a fine of $250-$1,000 with no jail time.
2015: Missouri issued licenses to two non-profits to grow cannabis for oil to be sold to patients.
2017: Decriminalization became effective statewide.
Kansas City voted to reduce the penalties for simple possession of marijuana, amending local laws regarding the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana for adults age 21 and older from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your address or nine-digit zip code so we can determine who your state legislators are.
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