To date, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana. Missouri is not one of them. However, new movement within the Missouri Legislature is sending strong signals that we may indeed be the next state to legalize cannabis, at least the “smokeless” kind, for medical purposes.
On May 8, the Missouri Senate approved a bill legalizing medical marijuana and sent it to the Senate Committee on Health and Pensions. If this committee approves it, the bill will go back to the Senate for final approval. The Missouri House already passed the bill last week by a 112-44 majority. Republicans led the way in both the Senate and House, citing President Trump’s “100 percent” support for medical marijuana. In the 2016 presidential election, 56 percent of the Missouri vote went to Trump.
Missouri Republicans see the legislative action as a political victory. Why? Because three ballot initiatives regarding medical marijuana legalization are currently competing with each other to see which, if any, make(s) it onto the November ballot. With most Democrats state wide supporting the legalization of medical marijuana, Republicans fear that one or more such initiatives on the ballot will drive Democratic voter turnout, which Republicans do not particularly welcome in a midterm election. If Republicans can get their bill through committee and onto Governor Greitens’ desk for signing into law before the legislative session ends later this month, no initiatives need appear on the November ballot.
In the meantime, marijuana remains illegal in Missouri. Conviction of a drug crime carries stiff penalties depending on the amount the defendant allegedly possessed and what (s)he allegedly intended to do with it. Defendants facing drug charges therefore would do well to contact a criminal defense attorney knowledgeable in Missouri’s current drug laws.
Source: Marijuana Moment, “Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill Clears Another Hurdle,” Kyle Jaeger, May 8, 2018