Voters from Missouri will be soon be considering three different medical cannabis initiatives on the state’s November ballot.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft issued certificates of sufficiency to place a total of five initiative petitions on the fall voting period. Three of them are related to medical cannabis, and two are constitutional amendments. But because there are multiple options for cannabis, some believe that it may hinder positive results at the polls. “I am concerned that three competing medical marijuana initiatives could end up alienating voters and splitting the vote to where Missourians risk continue to wait for the compassionate relief offered by these investigational drugs,” State Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch told Marijuana Moment in a statement.
“Having three initiatives on the same ballot dealing with the same issue complicates the situation considerably,” Missouri NORML Executive Director Dan Viets also shared in a blog post. “The Missouri Constitution specifies that if conflicting initiative measures appear on the same ballot, the one which receives the most votes will prevail. It is likely that all three of these measures will have the support of a majority of the voters.”
New Approach Missouri’s (NAM) constitutional amendment initiative would allow doctors to recommend cannabis for any condition they feel would benefit. Registered patients and caregivers may grow up to six cannabis plants and purchase up to four ounces a month from a dispensary. A four percent tax and the revenue from cannabis regulations will go to veterans programs.
The Missourians for Patient Care statutory measure initiative also uses a regulated list of qualifying conditions that physicians can choose from. Patients will be allowed to possess up to two-and-a-half ounces every two weeks. There would be a two percent cannabis tax where revenues would go to veterans services and regulation would be done by the Division of Drug and Alcohol Control.
Find The Cures constitutional amendment would have a list of qualifying conditions with the option of regulators adding more in the future. Revenue from the 15 percent cannabis retail tax would go to research for developing cures and treatments for cancer and other diseases. However, the amendment promises a tax refund once the research institute is profitable.
Missouri’s NORML is supporting NAM’s initiative, concerned that Find The Cure’s initiative, funded by a single donor, takes advantage of medical cannabis regulation to fund a private medical research business. NAM’s petition collected twice as many signatures as needed to be allowed on the ballot.
“It would establish the highest tax on medical marijuana in the nation and use that tax money to establish a new medical research facility which the filer of the petition, attorney Brad Bradshaw, would personally run,” Viets wrote. “If the press exposes the blatant vested interest he has in this measure, we think the public will reject it.”