This will be a new topic I cover from time to time as I expand what I know about the cannabis industry and spread my fingertips to try and support cannabis legalization nationwide. This may be a little rough at first as it’s something I’ve spent lots of time discussing, but not much writing about. It’s time to spread the conversation. Thanks for reading!
It’s 2018 and here in Missouri, according to our legislature, it might as well be 1965. New Approach Missouri say’s those days are coming to an end. In 2016, New Approach had to fight for every inch they gained, against the State itself. That narrow loss came due to the disqualification of thousands of signatures required to get the measure onto ballots. In 2018 they sound like an organization that has learned it’s lessons.
On a recent update posted to NewApproachMissouri.com, campaign manager John Payne said the group is, “using the most thorough and stringent validation system in the signature collection industry” to ensure they don’t meet the same fate at the hands of the State. In this writers opinion, the list of conditions this initiative recommends covering would be a huge step forward for Missouri patients. New Approach also would set a sales tax of only 4%. This falls in line with Arkansas, Michigan and Colorado all of which feature sales tax on medical cannabis under 4%.
Another petition circulating is also likely to reach the required signatures. This one introduced by Dr. Ben Bradshaw of Springfield, MO. It is also flawed. According to Will Schmidt with the Springfield News-Leader, Bradshaw’s bill would put taxes raised, “toward an independent medical research institute, which Bradshaw himself would oversee.” That reeks of trouble. Bradshaw’s bill also creates a new nine-member board to create rules for the industry while the New Approach bill leaves it in the hands of the Department of Health and Senior Services. The industry may benefit from having a board specifically focused on cannabis but in Missouri, creating another board expands government, which will prove unpopular. Bradshaw’s bill also includes a 15% sales tax, which is unheard of for a pure medical sales tax. Most states have chosen not to tax medical cannabis markets.
There are other bills that we could discuss in the State of Missouri, but the two I mentioned seem to have the most support currently. While Total Legalization is a great goal, and ultimately one that will be met, it won’t happen before Illinois, and maybe not before Arkansas (yes we are that far behind).
NORML, who work nationwide to reform cannabis laws, have placed their full support behind New Approach Missouri. Given that organizations track record, I believe the full support of the Missouri cannabis community should be placed behind New Approach. It isn’t perfect by any means, but as we have seen across the country, a toe in the door is better than being outside in the cold. The citizens of Illinois have benefitted greatly from medical legalization there and are telling their stories. 25,000 people have qualified under the 40 conditions Illinois allows, and even with that small sample size, lives are being changed for the better.
You can read the initiatives in full here: