COLUMBIA - Columbia City Council member Michael Trapp is working to make medical marijuana legal in Missouri.
Trapp will present a resolution to city council Monday night, asking for their support in calling the state legislature to act. The measure will not be voted on Monday, but will be used to gauge the interest of other council members.
Trapp said he sees medical marijuana as a potential solution to the on-going national opioid epidemic.
"Marijuana has some proven medical uses and those medical uses may be life saving in some instances," Trapp said. "The opioid epidemic demands us to not pat ourselves on the back for passing a prescription drug monitoring program, but to look at every public policy we can that can help improve the situation."
Trapp said he was motivated to bring the issue forward after hearing from numerous Columbia residents.
"I've heard almost universal support. I think people view this as a common sense measure," Trapp said. "We've seen this in a number of states across the country. This is no longer experimental."
Trapp worked closely with local attorney Dan Viets to draft the resolution. Viets said Missourians deserve a safer alternative to pain relief than opioids.
"States that have legalized marijuana have reported 25 percent less people dying from opioid overdose," Viets said. "No one has ever died from too much marijuana but we know people have died from opioid use."
Joy Sweeney is the director of the Missouri Council for Drug Free Youth. She said legalizing medical marijuana is dangerous because a consumer obtains the drug differently than any other medicine.
"With other medicines, a doctor controls the dosage, frequency and type," Sweeney said. "That does not happen with marijuana. You go and some bud-tender is there in place of a pharmacist who has spent years studying to prescribe drugs safely."
Sweeney said smoking marijuana is not a medicine and it's addictive as well.
"When you do something every single day and are unable to stop, you're addicted," she said.
Trapp said a public hearing on the resolution could happen before the end of the year.