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House committee gives early approval to medical marijuana

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A House Committee on Emerging Issues approved a bill that would legalize and regulate medical marijuana in the state of Missouri by a 10-1 vote today.

Rep. Dave Hinson, a Republican, is sponsoring the legislation to make Missouri the 24th state with legal medical marijuana. Hinson has frequently touted his bill as “the most restrictive medical marijuana bill in the nation” and the Republican-controlled appeared to agree, approving the measure on a bipartisan vote.

Before the vote, the committee approved two amendments. One, offered by Chairman Rep. Elijah Haahr, a Springfield Republican, was a lengthy amendment to address the concerns raised by some committee members. Haahr’s amendment lowered the maximum amount of cannabis a patient can receive in a 30-day period from 72 grams to 30, changed the definition of “cannabis” to match last year’s CBD oil bill, among other less significant changes.

A second amendment offered by Rep. Jack Bondon, a Republican, would limit by law which illnesses a doctor may legally treat with medical marijuana. The bill’s language contains a list of eligible ailments. Bondon’s amendment would prohibit changing that list without legislative action, a move he says is designed to prevent the creation of “pot docs.”

“This bill is the intersection of medicine and law,” Bondon said. “And what we have to do is ask, how do we strike a balance?”

Bondon’s amendment was ultimately approved before the vote on the full bill. Rep. Gary Cross was the lone vote against, saying briefly before the vote that medical marijuana “wasn’t the answer” and that medical science had “failed.”

Hinson’s medical marijuana bill will now go before the House Select Committee on General Laws, chaired by Rep. Caleb Jones, R-California, who was instrumental in moving last year’s CBD oil bill through the House. Sources have told The Missouri Times they anticipate the bill won’t spend much time before Jones’ before ultimately advancing to the House floor.