Campaign gathers enough support to put medical marijuana on ballot

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JEFFERSON CITY - Missourians could vote to legalize medical marijuana this November after a campaign gathered enough signatures to help put it on the general election ballot.

New Approach Missouri delivered more than 250,000 signatures from Missouri voters to the Secretary of State's Office Sunday.  Missouri law requires campaigns to turn in 167,000 valid signatures from registered voters in six of Missouri’s eight congressional districts.

"What this shows is there's been an out pouring of support to help make Missouri the 25th state to allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with serious illnesses," New Approach Missouri Spokesperson Jack Cardetti said.

New Approach Missouri is the only campaign that was able to gather enough signatures to help put the issue on the ballot. The ballots were delivered to the Secretary of State's Office by a U-Haul with boxes full of signatures.

The group began collecting signatures in January.

If passed by voters, the proposal would provide potential treatment to Missouri patients who suffer from cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, Alzheimer's and other serious illnesses.

"Doctors cannot even talk about the treatment with their patients. This is another medical treatment option. It allows patients and their doctors to decide what the best treatment option is and have that conversation," Cardetti said.

The Missouri Department of Health would license and regulate those who are allowed to grow and dispense marijuana. According to New Approach Missouri's proposal, medical marijuana would be taxed 4 percent, generating an estimated $20 million annually.

The Missouri Secretary of State has until Aug. 9 to verify the petition.