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NORML: Amendment 2 is Best for Missouri Patients

Voters this November have the opportunity to make Missouri the 32nd state to allow for the physician-recommended use of marijuana, and based on the latest polling data, we will likely do so.

The Missouri Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) urges voters to vote YES on Amendment 2 in the November 6th general election.

Three medical marijuana measures (two constitutional amendments and one statutory measure) will appear on the ballot on Election Day. With three measures pertaining to medical cannabis on the ballot, the important question before voters is no longer if the Show-Me State should legalize medical cannabis access, but how Missouri will do so.

Not all of these measures are created equal, and it will be up to voters to decide which one of these three is ultimately in the best interest of Missouri’s patients.

On Election Day, NORML urges voters to stand with New Approach Missouri and to vote “Yes” for Amendment 2. Quite simply, Amendment 2 — unlike its competitors — puts the interests of patients first.

Amendment 2 will let doctors — not legislators or bureaucrats — decide if marijuana is the appropriate option for their patients. Every day, we entrust physicians to use their discretion to assist their patients to make the right decisions. Amendment 2 upholds the sanctity of the patient-doctor relationship and leaves these important medical treatment decisions up to those who know best: Missouri’s practicing physicians.

Importantly, Amendment 2 would also allow certain qualified patients to cultivate small quantities of cannabis at home. This provision is a crucial component for any medical program that puts patients’ interests first. Allowing home cultivation assures that qualified patients will have access to their medicine even if no state-licensed dispensary is available nearby, and permits lower-income patients broader access to cannabis at a price they can better afford.

While a competing effort, Amendment 3, proposes the highest tax rate in the nation for medical cannabis products sold at retail (15%), Amendment 2 would set one of the lowest and the revenue raised by the retail sale of medical cannabis in Amendment 2 will go directly to the Missourian Veterans’ Health and Care Fund and to help provide veterans with necessary health services.

While much has been written about the obvious flaws of Amendment 3, these criticisms are worth repeating. While Amendment 2 is supported by a diverse coalition of patient advocates, Amendment 3 was funded entirely by one person, who drafted his amendment for his own personal benefit. It also puts this same funder largely in charge of overseeing the state’s medical marijuana program. This is hardly in the best interest of Missouri patients.

Amendment 2, on the other hand, places the program’s oversight in the hands of the Missouri Department of Health. It also creates a robust statewide system for production and distribution, of medical cannabis, with strict deadlines in place to ensure that qualified patients do not have to unduly wait for dispensaries to become operational.

Finally, and most importantly, Amendment 2 is a constitutional amendment, which makes it more resilient to legislative tampering and intervention. By contrast, lawmakers can choose to amend Proposition C largely at their discretion, regardless of what voters decide.

If you read each of these proposals closely, one clear choice emerges: Amendment 2, because it creates a broad and patient-centric program that is designed to be implemented in a timely manner and withstand any legislative challenges along the way. The other two can’t say the same. Not all ballot measures are created equal and that is why we encourage all voters to support the superior one this Election Day. Vote YES on Amendment 2.