Petitions filed to allow medical marijuana use in Missouri
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Backers of medical marijuana are taking steps to put proposals that would allow the drug's medical use to a statewide vote in Missouri.
On behalf of the group New Approach Missouri, Sheila Dundon and Tom Mundell filed petitions Thursday to amend the state constitution to allow doctors to recommend the drug to patients with certain illnesses.
Medical conditions that would qualify include cancer, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder. But the initiatives would give physicians the option to recommend pot to patients with any other chronic, debilitating condition if they deem it necessary.
"Hundreds of thousands of Missourians suffer from cancer, epilepsy and other debilitating diseases that could be treated with medical marijuana," Dundon, who is an RN and breast cancer survivor, said. "Now is the time for Missouri to join the 23 other states that give this important medical option to physicians and their patients."
Use of marijuana in public or while driving still would be barred under the proposed amendments.
As part of the proposal, the small tax paid on medical marijuana would fund veterans' health care services in Missouri.
"This measure is an absolute win-win for Missouri veterans," Mundell, former head of the state VFW, said. "Not only will it provide veterans suffering illnesses much needed relief, but it will proivde invaluable resources for our underfunded veterans health care programs throughout Missouri."
The petitions must first be approved by the secretary of state. Supporters then need to gather enough signatures for the measures to be put on the ballot in 2016.
[Editor's note: This story has been updated to include quotes from Dudon and Mundell.]