Legalization of marijuana will not appear on November ballot
JEFFERSON CITY - Secretary of State Jason Kander released a statement Thursday in response to a Cole County Circuit Judge's decision not to put the legalization of medicinal marijuana on the election ballot come November.
While Kander acknowledged the petition fell short of the signatures needed, he urged the General Assembly in the future to put the measure on the ballot and let the voters decide.
The petition would have allowed:
- the production sale, distribution, and consumption of marijuana and hemp products by persons at least 21 years old
- permit the state to establish a tax and authorize regulations and licensing procedures for marijuana
- change criminal provisions for marijuana offenses and allow individuals who have certain marijuana-related offenses to apply to have the records relating to the offenses expunged
- allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes
Dan Viets submitted the measure, and he estimated the annual gains at $75 million in revenue. He estimated the losses at $1 million in start up costs, and $4.9 million in annual operating fees.
Sheila Dundon, Viets' wife, is a breast cancer survivor who turned to marijuana for medicinal purposes during chemotherapy in 2006. Working for many years as a nurse, she heard from her patients who said they benefited from the drug.
"When I started to smoke marijuana, immediately within minutes the black bag of horror that had been over my head was gone," Dundon said.
Opponents to legalization like Joy Sweeney of Drug Free Youth argue that because it is not FDA approved, marijuana should not be deemed "medicine."
"We don't see smoked and edible marijuana as a medicine, and until it is FDA approved there is nothing to prove our stance incorrect," Sweeney said.