Mo. Cannabis Conference Kicks Off at Mizzou

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COLUMBIA - The spring 2014 Missouri Cannabis Conference kicked off Saturday morning at the MU Arts and Science Building's Allen Auditorium. The conference featured different speakers and panels discussing the use and legalization of marijuana.

President of the MU Chapter of the National Organization for Reform and Marijuana Laws, or NORML, Benton Barington said,"The goal of the conference is to increase discussion about amending the current marijuana ordinance in Columbia." Barington said the amendment would include the decriminalization of cultivation within the city. 

Alice O'Leary-Randall, the wife of the first legal medical marijuana patient in America, was a featured speaker at the conference. O'Leary-Randall said she watched her husband, who suffered from glaucoma, experience the benefits of medical marijuana use for years. O'Leary-Randall said she attended the conference to support Missouri efforts to enact medical marijuana bills. 

O'Leary-Randall said, "The therapeutic effects of marijuana are not rocket science. The federal government is very fond of saying we need more research, we need more research but for many people cannabis is the only medication that is providing them relief."

O'Leary-Randall told KOMU 8 her husband, Robert Randall, smoked 10 marijuana cigarettes a day to keep his intra ocular pressure, or fluid pressure inside the eye, down to safe and normal levels. She said no other prescribed medication was able to do the same.

O'Leary-Randall said her hope is for Missouri legislators to continue to listen to the people and get them the medication they need in a legal and safe way. 

Mason Tvert was another speaker featured at the conference. Tvert was a co-chair of the campaign which legalized marijuana in Colorado. In November 2012, Colorado voters passed A-64, an amendment to the Colorado Constitution which legalized adult possession, cultivation and taxed and regulated retail sales of cannabis like alcohol. 

The conference also featured three different panels including one of medical marijuana patients, another focused on law enforcement and property forfeitures issues and a final covered the ongoing effort to free Jeff Mizanskey, who is currently serving life without parole for marijuana law violations.

The conference was hosted by the MU Chapters of NORML and Students for Sensible Drug Policy, or SSDP. It is co-sponsored by Missouri NORML and Show-Me Cannabis Regulation.