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Missouri is on its way to approving medical cannabis

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Missouri is on its way to approving medical cannabis

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Thor Benson / Cannabis News Box Contributor

It looks like Missouri may be one of the next states to legalize medical cannabis. A group called New Approach Missouri handed in a petition with over 370,000 signatures on it to the state government to get medical cannabis legalization on the ballot in November. Only 170,000 signatures are required to get on the ballot. That means it’s almost sure this initiative will be appearing on the state’s ballot this year.

“We turned in [the petition] ahead of the deadline, and we turned in more than twice the amount of signatures needed,” Jack Cardetti, a spokesperson for New Approach Missouri, told Cannabis News Box. “We are confident we will not only be on the ballot but will be the first medical marijuana campaign voters see when they go to the ballot box in November.”

Cardetti said there hasn’t been much opposition to the prospect of medical cannabis being legalized in Missouri lately, and he actually thinks there may be multiple medical cannabis initiatives on the ballot this year. He also said Missouri residents understand the medical cannabis issue pretty well already, so his group won’t have to do a lot of work educating the public.

“The Missouri electorate has embraced this issue,” Cardetti said. “It polls well, it’s a bipartisan issue and it’s supported in both rural and urban areas.”

Cardetti thinks Missouri residents have seen how well medical cannabis has worked in other states and are finally ready to legalize it. His group is not currently planning to push for legalization of the social use of cannabis. “Medical marijuana is our end goal here,” he said.

One nice thing about the initiative New Approach has submitted is that it would benefit veterans. The Missouri Veterans Commission helps veterans get healthcare, but Cardetti said it needs further funding. In order to help get it the funding it needs, his group’s initiative puts a 4 percent tax on cannabis sales and send those revenues to the commission. Veterans with PTSD will also qualify for medical cannabis if the initiative is passed.

One of the reasons Cardetti said he thinks medical cannabis needs to be legalized in his state, besides the fact it could help many people, is that he’s seen families actually move away from Missouri to states that do have medical cannabis so they can treat their ailments there. He said that is wrong, and he wants people to be able to stay in Missouri and use medical cannabis.

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Missouri is on its way to approving medical cannabis