In November of 2018, the people of Missouri voted overwhelmingly (almost two to one) to amend the state’s constitution to legalize medical marijuana, and they did so despite the opposition of most of the state’s “medical” establishment. (But not the major newspapers, for a change. The editorial boards of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Kansas City Star, the Springfield News-Leader, the Joplin Globe and the St. Louis American all supported Amendment 2 over the other proposals.)
Bravo, but why did it take an amendment to the state constitution to allow sick and dying people to use a plant that they found to help them? There was no provision in their constitution that prevented them from simply passing a demonstrably popular law.
Well, as usual, the politicians who claim to represent the people could not be counted on to loosen the leashes on even the most needy and deserving citizens. Who do they really represent?
So, some very worthy citizens had to cobble together a petition that would get enough signatures to get on the ballot as Amendment 2. Then they had to compete with two other proposals, one of which, Amendment 3, that would have imposed prohibitive taxes (15% plus) that would preserve the black market. (To whose benefit?)
Unlike Amendments 2 and 3, Proposition C had an additional requirement that would have allowed what is sometimes called “local option” allowing communities to block dispensaries in their area. That would force patients to travel to find a source of their medicines, and it would also have allowed the legislature to amend it. The people of Missouri— as elsewhere— rightly distrust their “representatives.”
Meanwhile, back in the real world, Amendment 2’s requirements for licensing production and sale of medical marijuana have been delayed by Mike Parson, the Republican Governor, for reasons that are not clear… because he seems to be trying to keep it a secret.
Michael A. Wolff, a retired Missouri Supreme Court judge and chief justice, former dean and professor emeritus of St. Louis University Law School, wrote an Oped asking, “Is Gov. Mike Parson’s administration running a drug cartel for well-connected producers and sellers of medical marijuana? Or is the administration simply regulating the new medical marijuana industry that Missouri voters authorized when they amended the state constitution?”
Wolff says, “One would think that our state’s free-market Republicans would avoid having the state run a cartel — defined as an association or group of suppliers or manufacturers that collude to limit supply so as to fix prices — and would allow all qualified businesses to compete. Instead, the state is giving the appearance of choosing between well-connected winners and unconnected losers. Those unconnected losers may be at least as qualified as the winners.”
The people voted for Amendment 2, and not the others, precisely because they do not trust the politicians to do the right thing with their freedom, and the Governor seems to have proved their point. Of course, the Governor will claim that he is just trying to figure out how many producers and retailers the state needs. That did not get off to a good start.
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A study commissioned by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and compiled by the MU Department of Economics predicted that there would be 19,000 patients approved during the first year of the program. Patient numbers exceeded that number after only six months.
The study predicted 22,543 patients would be approved by the end of 2021. Approximately 1,000 new patients are being approved every week, so it is virtually certain Missouri will have more patients by the end of 2019 than were predicted for 2021.The number of people certified for medical marijuana cards in Missouri is increasing by about 1,000 a week and totaled 31,000 as of Feb. 1, the Department of Health and Senior Services reported.
At that rate, Missouri could have 50,000 to 60,000 certified patients when dispensaries open this summer, much higher than the 19,000 estimated.
Inevitably, the rejected applicants for medical marijuana cultivation permits are suing the state, and members of the state legislature from both parties are demanding an explanation. A video of a hearing gives some insight, but it would be easy to miss one of the most important problems mentioned at the end. The spokesman for the Missouri Health and Senior Services said that if the physicians of Missouri decide that they need more cultivation facilities then the state will provide them.
How could anyone object to that? Well, the Missouri medical association is strongly opposed to medical marijuana and lobbied against all three proposals.
“I shall refer to this as ‘sham’ medical marijuana because marijuana is not a drug and its popularity is more about THC than CBD. THC (tetrahydrocannabinoid) is the high/euphoria producing component of cannabis; CBD (cannabidiol) is the medicinal properties non-high producing component.
“Big Weed” is the derisive name for the unseemly and avaricious conglomerate of cannabis growers, processors, distributors, dealers, Mexican drug cartels, users/abusers, investors, and other hanger-on’s bent on making billions on medical, and inevitably recreational, marijuana.”
Yep. And I shall refer to this as quackery.
And the Missouri Medical Association webpage on medical marijuana is a compendium of quackery.
So the state is actually deferring to them on the number of cultivation licenses??
I salute the sponsors of Amendment 2, but in the context of marijuana prohibition, these abuses seem almost inevitable.
Missouri needs to recognize that marijuana prohibition is the real sham and stop trying to appease the people who have presided over tens of millions of arrests, countless deaths, immeasurable suffering, the wreckage of the criminal justice system, and the suppression of scientific research.
By any measure marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol, but the state does not have any comparable set of elaborate regulations for it.
“Missouri has no specific state limitations on the places where alcohol may be sold “off-premises” (i.e. for consumption elsewhere). As a result, Missouri is famous in the region for grocery stores, drug stores, and even gas stations throughout the state which sell a wide variety of beer, wine, and liquor. As long as it is not located within 100 feet (30 m) of a school or church, virtually any retail business (including a vague and undefined “general merchandise store”) which obtains the proper licenses from the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and local authorities may sell any type of alcohol. State law even forbids a local option and prohibits cities and counties from banning the off-premises sale of alcohol.”
And so we are in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century for which the medical system was totally unprepared, so should we wonder why so many people have doubts about “science” even as heroic doctors and other medical professionals risk their lives. These people really are heroes, but we and they have been betrayed by organized quackery at the highest level
– Richard Cowan is a former NORML National Director and co-founder of Blue Ribbon Hemp for Seniors.