The Marijuana Laws
By John Sharp
This amendment would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes for nine specified conditions or others deemed appropriate by a doctor and impose a 4 percent sales tax on the retail sale of marijuana.
Revenue from the tax would be used for health and care services for military veterans administered by the Missouri Veterans Commission and for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to license, certify and regulate marijuana cultivation and dispensaries. Taxes and fees authorized by the amendment are estimated to bring in about $18 million annually for veterans’ care and state operating costs.
A total of 31 other states have now approved some form of medical marijuana use, although possession, cultivation and sale of marijuana is still classified as a federal offence.
Supporters of Amendment 2 argue that marijuana use can alleviate the symptoms of certain medical conditions and ease patients’ pain. Opponents argue that more research on the health risks of medical marijuana is needed and that legalization of medical marijuana is a step toward legalization of recreational marijuana.
This amendment also would allow doctors to approve the use of marijuana for medical purposes for ten specified conditions and impose a 15 percent tax on the retail sale of
marijuana and a tax on the wholesale sale of marijuana flowers and leaves to licensed facilities.
Revenue from these taxes would be used to establish and fund a state research institute to develop cures and treatments for cancer and other currently incurable diseases or medical conditions. The taxes are estimated to generate about $66 million annually for such research.
This amendment would make Brad Bradshaw, a Springfield doctor and lawyer who is the contact person for the petition drive to put this amendment on the ballot and the leading contributor to the campaign to pass it, the research chairperson of the research institute and also would authorize him to select the members of its governing board.
Giving any individual this much power does not appear to be good public policy.
This proposal would remove prohibitions in state law on the use and possession of medical marijuana with a written certification by a doctor treating a patient with a qualifying medical condition and remove prohibitions on the growth, possession, production and sale of medical marijuana by licensed facilities.
It would impose a 2 percent tax on the retail sale of medical marijuana and use funds from the tax for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education and public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility.
There appears to be little public support for this measure since there are two constitutional amendments legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri (Amendments 2 and 3) on the ballot that if passed cannot be overturned without a statewide public vote, while this measure could be repealed or drastically amended by the Missouri General Assembly.