JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – New Approach Missouri filed an initiative petition (IP) to Secretary of State Jason Kander’s office Thursday that would allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana as a form of treatment.
The IP would give patients and their health care providers the option of using marijuana to treat illnesses like cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, spinal-cord injuries or other debilitating medical conditions.
Jack Cardetti, a spokesman for the New Approach, believes Missouri’s doctors should be able to treat patients with as many methods as possible.
“This is a coalition that’s come together made up of patients, of medical professionals, veterans, law enforcement that agree we need to give patients and their doctors this medical treatment option,” he said.
One of those medical professionals is Sheila Dundon, one of the two people who personally filed the petition. Dundon has worked as a registered nurse who has worked with the National Cancer Institute, the Ellis Fischel Cancer Hospital, the American Cancer Society and she herself is a breast cancer survivor.
“Hundreds of thousands of Missourians suffer from cancer, epilepsy and other debilitating diseases that could be treated with medical marijuana,” Dundon said in a statement. “Now is the time for Missouri to join the 23 other states that give this important medical option to physicians and their patients.”
Tom Mundell, the other person who filed the petition, is the former head of Missouri’s VFW and the current president of the Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations and he looks at the legalization of medical marijuana as a win for veterans.
“This measure is an absolute win-win for Missouri veterans,” Mundell said. “Not only will it provide veterans suffering illnesses much needed relief, but it will provide invaluable resources for our underfunded veterans health care programs throughout Missouri.”
If the petition gets the required 160,000 signatures, it becomes a ballot measure. If Missourians approve the ballot measure by a majority vote in Nov. 2016, the state will become the 24th in the nation in which medical marijuana will be legal.
New Approach Missouri is the political action committee of Show-Me Cannabis, a Missouri organization that has advocated to end the prohibition on marijuana in the past, but Cardetti says New Approach’s focus will remain on the legality of medical marijuana.
“That’s not on our campaign’s radar,” he said. “The end goal of our campaign is to pass this and give patients and their doctors those medical options.”