Jefferson City, MO — Sunday afternoon, a coalition of patients, veterans, law enforcement and medical professionals turned in more than 260,000 signatures to place our medical marijuana ballot initiative on the November ballot. If passed, Missouri would become the 25th state to allow state-licensed physicians to recommend medical marijuana to patients with serious and debilitating illnesses.
Missouri law requires that ballot initiative campaigns turn in roughly 167,000 valid signatures from registered voters in six of Missouri’s eight congressional districts. Although there were several different medical marijuana legislative and initiative efforts this cycle, New Approach Missouri is the only group that garnered enough support to successfully put this critical issue on the ballot.
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The proposal would provide potential treatment and relief to Missouri patients who suffer from cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, spinal-cord injuries and other serious or debilitating medical conditions. Only those patients whose physicians certify in writing that they have a legitimate and serious medical need would be allowed to purchase medical marijuana under this proposal.
The Missouri Department of Health would license and regulate those who are allowed to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana. The measure would maintain the prohibition of marijuana use in public and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana.
“Today is a culmination of hundreds of volunteers, thousands of hours, and months of hard work and dedication,” said Tom Mundell, a decorated Army veteran and New Approach Missouri board member. “It is so gratifying to know that this effort will provide relief to thousands of Missourians suffering from cancer, epilepsy and other debilitating illness, including our beloved veterans. Our message to those patients and doctors in Missouri is simple: help is on the way.”
Under the proposal, medical marijuana sales would be taxed at 4%, which is estimated to generate roughly $20 million annually for veterans’ health care services in Missouri.
Turning in the signatures on behalf of New Approach Missouri were Sheila Dundon and Tom Mundell. Sheila is a Registered Nurse who interned at the National Cancer Institute and has worked at Ellis Fischel Cancer Hospital, The American Cancer Society, Harry S Truman Memorial Veterans’ Hospital and is herself a breast cancer survivor. Tom Mundell, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, is the former head of the state VFW and president of the Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations.