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Medical marijuana proponents cite growing support for legalization


Advocates point to other states to question Missouri’s lack of legalization

OSAGE BEACH, Mo. — When the Missouri Association of Counties voted last week to reject a resolution that would condemn the legalization of either recreational marijuana or medical cannabis, multiple opponents of ending the prohibition applauded their stance.

Their efforts continue after an initiative petition failed to make the November ballot by just a handful of votes, meaning that Missouri did not have any ballot language dealing with marijuana or cannabis while four states (California, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts) approved full legalization and three others (Montana, Florida, North Dakota) approved the medical use of cannabis.

Now, some are wondering why Missouri continues to fall behind the 27 other states that have legalized medical marijuana, including Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron.

“We need to do everything we can as a state to give more choices to people struggling with terminal-illnesses,” he said plainly.

Heidi Rayl, an activist whose son suffers from seizures, said that those results at the state level will begin to convince state legislators that medical cannabis use has a place in Missouri law.

“Kids with intractable epilepsy shouldn’t have to wait for the FDA to approve medical cannabis,” Rayl said. “After the results of this election, I’m more hopeful than ever that our state will move to give suffering Missourians access to medical marijuana.”

Indeed, many of those at the MAC conference who opposed the resolution, brought to the association by the Missouri Prosecutors Association, had personal stories about friends or family members who could benefit from the purported medical benefits of cannabis. Jackson County Sheriff Mike Sharp, who has become something of an advocate for cannabis reform within the Missouri Sheriff’s Association, said that he was glad MAC rejected the proposal.

“Our state needs to take action to show compassion to suffering Missourians so that police officers can focus on locking up dangerous criminals,” Sharp said.