Medical marijuana: A breakdown of Missouri's 3 ballot initiatives
KIRKSVILLE, Mo. —
Come Tuesday night, Missouri could become the 32nd state to legalize medical marijuana.
That is if one of three measures on the election ballot passes.
While the language may be confusing, there are distinct differences between the three initiatives.
The official ballot names for the three initiatives are: Constitutional Amendment 2, Constitutional Amendment 3 and Proposition C.
Dr. Randy Hagerty, Political Science Department Chair and a Professor of Political Science at Truman State University in Kirksville, told KTVO each measure is different in terms of its composition and its impact.
"Amendment 2 allows the user to have four ounces of medical marijuana in a 30-day period. Amendment 3 allows for three ounces in a 30-day period. Beyond that, there are some differences in terms if people want to produce medical marijuana. Amendment 2 allows those who get approval to grow up to 6 plants on their own. That is an issue not addressed in Amendment 3."
Amendment 2, sponsored by "New Approach Missouri," would have a sales tax set at four percent and is estimated to generate $24 million annually - $6 million would go to local governments and $18 million would cover state operating costs and veterans programs.
"Amendment 2 would provide for the money to help veterans in the state of Missouri. Veterans healthcare, some job training and some other provisions."
Amendment 3 is sponsored by "Find the Cures."
It is believed to be more controversial.
Amendment 3 would have a sales tax of 15 percent and is expected to generate $66 million annually.
This measure was proposed by Attorney Brad Bradshaw of Springfield, Missouri.
It would use the funds generated to create what has been named the Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute.
"This would give Mr. Bradshaw, critics charge, the sole authority in terms of how to use that money to build his research facility, to research cancer, to look at other kinds of measures. He would appoint the board that oversees that facility and the money."
Amendment 2 and Proposition C on the other hand, would be overseen by the Department of Health and Senior Services.
Proposition C is sponsored by "Missourians for Patient Care."
It would have the lowest sales tax at 2 percent.
Proposition C is estimated to generate $10 million annually and would fund veteran services, drug treatment and early childhood education.
However, unlike the other two initiatives, Proposition C is not a constitutional amendment.
"One of the measures on the ballot, Proposition C, is a proposition. That means it is like a piece of legislation passed by the legislature. So, if that is approved, a conservative legislature like we have in Missouri can go back next year, or the year after, and change the provisions. A conservative legislature next year, or the year after, can completely repeal a proposition."
Like the differences in taxation, the measures also differ when it comes to local control.
Amendment 2 says that local government cannot ban the use of medical marijuana - but can zone where the facilities are and where you can go to purchase it.
"Amendment 3, along with Proposition C, would allow localities to vote to outlaw medical marijuana. So, that would produce this weird patchwork where you can have medical marijuana in Knox County, but it's illegal in Adair County [as an example]"
Some may be wondering what happens if more than one of the amendments or all of the initiatives pass.
According to Missouri law, if voters approve both Amendment 2 and Amendment 3, the amendment with the largest affirmative vote would be the one to pass.
"There is a little more confusion in terms of what happens if one of the amendments passes, along with Proposition C. It is probably going to go to the courts, but I think the strongest argument here is that a constitutional amendment supersedes a proposition."
Should one of the measures take effect, Dr. Justin Puckett of Complete Family Medicine in Kirksville says it will be up to local physicians on how to proceed.
"Medical professionals would have to make a decision about whether or not they are going to step into that realm of prescribing medical marijuana."
Puckett adds that medical marijuana can be utilized to treat a number of conditions.
"Medical marijuana has been evaluated anecdotally, to assist with a wide variety of things. The two that primarily get mentioned are seizure disorder and chronic pain."
None of the three ballot measures would legalize recreational marijuana use in the state of Missouri.