Lawmakers react to House passage of medical marijuana bill

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri representatives reacted to initial passage of House bill 800, which would legalize medical marijuana for terminal cancer patients on hospice. The bill passed with a 91-59 vote Tuesday.

Rep. Lynn Morris (R-Nixa) voted in support for the bill. He said he thinks it will be good for the state.

"It will definitely help a certain class, a very narrow defined class of people that are classified as terminally ill with cancer," Morris said. "So, this could be the experiment that we use to see whether we can control this disease state and help these people and then maybe see if we can handle this situation." 

He said he feels comfortable the legislation is going to allow patients and their families to make a choice with a hospice doctor who is a specialist in life-ending situations. 

Morris said he's been in business for 40 years as a pharmacy owner and has been to many patients' homes. 

"I've seen people in the dying process, including my mom and dad under hospice services," Morris said. "And, if there is any hope and if there's any at all, possible things that could happen that would help someone in the dying process, I think I'm all for it." 

Rep. Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) voted against the bill. However, he said he supports medical marijuana. 

"The bill was watered down from the original version such that the only people who would take advantage had cancer that was terminal," Dogan said. "They would have to be in hospice care. So, it didn't apply to people with epilepsy, Crohn's disease, HIV/AIDS, a whole host of other diseases that I think can benefit from medical marijuana." 

Dogan said he would make the bill more inclusive so that more patients can take advantage of this potentially life-saving, life-altering medicine. 

"We've seen with numerous studies that medical marijuana can be very beneficial to people in terms of helping them to alleviate some of the pain and suffering they've experienced as a result of some of these terrible diseases."  

Morris said, maybe a year or two from now, the House will add MS and some other conditions to the measure.

Dogan said the bill will go through a final House vote later and get sent to the Senate. He said he hopes the Senate will re-add some amendments to cover the conditions the House excluded.