This Tuesday, Missouri voters will be asked to decide on three ballot measures related to medical marijuana.
An informal survey of area residents conducted Friday found support among local voters.
Despite its status as a Schedule One drug, which makes it illegal to sell, possess or cultivate under federal law, marijuana has been legalized for medical use in 31 states.
The Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine extensively reviewed research on marijuana and concluded cannabis-based products may help ease nausea, muscle spasms and chronic pain. More research into potential uses, including in mental health, is in the works.
According to a 2018 survey by Pew Research Center, 62 percent of Americans support the full legalization of marijuana — up from 12 percent in 1969. Another 2018 survey by Harris Poll found even higher support for medical marijuana, with about 85 percent of American adults supporting its legalization.
On Friday, the Fulton Sun approached a number of random people on the sidewalks of Fulton to get their takes on the issue.
“If it helps people, it’s good. My brother is on the cannabis oil. It helps with the nausea his cancer meds cause. (I support full legalization) because people are going to get it if they want it anyway.”
“If it helps somebody, sure. I read about (evidence for marijuana’s usefulness) online. I think it needs to be fully legalized — there’s a lot of people in jail who probably don’t need to be, on the taxpayer’s dollar. Hardened criminals are different. I’ve seen how CBD oil can help people. We had a friend in New Jersey who was hooked on pain pills. My wife suggested he try the oil and it worked for him.”
“If they could do it so it could be purely medical, they should. I don’t support full legalization. I’ve heard that Colorado’s having trouble with babies being born with marijuana in their systems. Also, it’s a federal law, so I’m not sure how the states can overrule that.”
“I think it should be legal. We’re talking about a plant that people like to smoke that’s no different than this cigarette, and it’s probably not worse for you than drinking. We’re causing trouble for families by putting people in jail. They’re ending up in jail and getting fined. The war on drugs didn’t do much good.”
“I’m from Texas, and in Texas, marijuana is a Schedule One drug. We have a lot of people going to jail over it. People are losing fathers. You can see the negative effects in impoverished communities — they’re losing role models. A lot of people use it to cope with anxiety and depression — it seems foolish to punish for coping methods, especially ones that are clinically proven to help. Legalizing marijuana could produce a lot of economic growth through taxes.”
“I think medical marijuana should be legalized, coming from a younger generation. I don’t have medical issues, but some of my family members do. (Marijuana) helps with side effects, and it would be awesome if researchers discovered it could cure something. Tax it and take advantage of the money from the taxes. Colorado, Washington: they’re taking that money and putting it toward education, veteran healthcare and other underfunded areas. I favor the ballot measure that goes toward veteran care. My grandpa’s a veteran, and veterans give their lives and health for the country.”
Two of Tuesday’s ballot measures are constitutional amendments; the third is a proposition. Below are brief summaries — each ballot measure also includes additional details.
If passed, Constitutional Amendment 2 would allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes under state laws. This amendment creates regulations and licensing fees and procedures for medical marijuana facilities. It also imposes a 4-percent tax on medical marijuana sales.
Funds would be used by the Missouri Veterans Commission for health and care services for military veterans, and by the Department of Health and Senior Services to administer the program to license/certify and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities. This amendment would also allow qualifying patients or their primary caregiver to cultivate up to six marijuana plants for the patients’ use.
A “yes” vote on Constitutional Amendment 3 is a vote to legalize use of marijuana for medical purposes under state laws. It also makes Springfield lawyer Brad Bradshaw the research chair of an institute funded by fees and taxes on medical marijuana, in charge of a research board handpicked by Bradshaw. This amendment imposes a 15-percent tax on marijuana sales and a tax on the sale of marijuana flowers an leaves.
The funds generated by the license fees and taxes will be used by the research institute for licensing and regulating marijuana and marijuana facilities, land acquisition and development, and conducting research with the purpose of developing cures and treatments for cancer and other currently incurable diseases.
The passage of Proposition C would amend Missouri statutes to allow the use of medical marijuana. Like the others, it would create regulations and licensing fees and procedures for medical marijuana facilities. It would impose a 2-percent tax on marijuana sales.
The funds from the license fees will go to the Division of Liquor Control to administer the program to license/certify and regulate marijuana and marijuana facilities. The funds from the taxes will be used for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education and public safety in communities with a medical marijuana facility.