Lively Discussion Over Legalizing Marijuana Held in Columbia

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COLUMBIA- Show-Me Cannabis hosted a meeting Thursday about legalizing marijuana.

State Representative, Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, criminal defense lawyer Dan Viets, who is also chairman of the Show-Me Cannabis Regulation Board, and Hank Waters, Columbia Tribune Publisher spoke at the meeting.

Prior to the meeting, Viets said it would be informal like a classic American town hall meeting to kick around ideas. There would be no voting or decisions.

Moberly resident, Daniel Trick has used medical marijuana for two and a half years and attended the meeting to get the facts about legalizing marijuana in Missouri.

Trick said he does not think it should be a crime for a person to "go home and smoke a little bit after work and wind down." He compared it to drinking alcohol.

He said he used to drink alcohol which might have caused his stroke.

"Medical marijuana kills the pain on my right side," said Trick.

Columbia resident, Nezir Memic, spoke out against legalizing marijuana.

He said he has never smoked marijuana and thinks it is wrong because it "is the first step for using heavier drugs."

"You start from something small; that's the first step and you go to second and third and that's where you get yourself in trouble," said Memic.

Viets said it is very likely he and others will try and put a proposal together hoping to regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Rep. Kelly said he plans to file a bill which could put the issue on the ballot in November 2014.

If he doesn't, Viets said he and others will launch an effort to get the issue on the November 2016 ballot.