JEFFERSON CITY • A Springfield man is asking state election regulators to investigate potential fundraising problems associated with an initiative to legalize medical marijuana.
At issue is an arrangement between the Missourians for Patient Care ballot initiative and a separate, similarly named corporation that has been funneling contributions to the campaign.
In a letter to the Missouri Ethics Commission on behalf of Springfield resident Howard Cotner, attorney Matt Vianello of the Clayton-based Jacobson Press law firm said the arrangement is allowing organizers of the campaign to keep the names of donors secret.
“Ultimately, the question that is raised is that this seems to be clearly designed to hide the donors. I think that runs afoul of the Missouri Constitution,” Vianello said.
The effort is being backed by former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, and former state Rep. Mike Colona, D-St. Louis. It would change state statutes to make marijuana legal for medical use in helping to treat cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, intractable migraines, HIV/AIDS, terminal illness and other ailments.
If approved, the change would impose a 2 percent retail tax on medical marijuana, channeling revenue to early childhood education, veterans care, public safety and drug treatment.
Colona, an attorney who is listed as treasurer for both the