MISSOURI — The Missouri House voted this week to legalize medical marijuana for some patients. If approved by the Senate, the bill would allow access to the drug for patients who are at least 18 years old with terminal illnesses, as well as some long-term conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease.
“I’m trying to provide some comfort to people who are in the last days of their life,” said Republican Rep. Jim Neely, the bill’s sponsor. “It just seems like this is the right thing to do.”
It may be the right thing to do, but the bill is also a response to several ballot initiatives that may put the question directly to voters in November. New Approach Missouri, a pro-pot advocacy group, announced that it had turned in more than 370,000 signatures Friday, the Riverfront Times reports — that’s about 200,000 more signatures than it needs to get the issue on the ballot.
The group narrowly got enough signatures two years ago, but their 2016 ballot initiative was quashed when a judge invalidated more than 10,000 of their signatures because they were collected on the wrong forms.
Two other groups are also collecting signatures for similar referendums, but the group that turns in its signatures first will have the advantage of being placed higher on the ballot.