Marijuana Legalization in Missouri: Rep. Rory Ellinger Plans Bill to Regulate Pot Like Colorado

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Missouri is one step closer to legalizing marijuana.

State Rep. Rory Ellinger, a Democrat from University City, plans to introduce legislation next session to legalize pot in the state, modeled after the successful reform effort in Colorado. It will definitely be a long shot here, but this will be the first time a lawmaker in Missouri has introduced a proposal of this nature.

"I expect there will be a lot of good people that feel marijuana is wrong, that it leads down a path of worse drugs and trouble and so on," he tells Daily RFT. "I respect their opinion, but I think that it can all be disputed."

He continues, "I don't know anyone who has ever died of a marijuana overdose."

See also:
- Marijuana Advocates Sue City of Springfield for Blocking Decriminalization Ordinance
- Marijuana Decriminalization Bill Finally Gets Hearing on Last Day of Missouri Session
- After Success With Pot Law Reform in St. Louis, Activists Look to Kansas City

Ellinger was behind the proposal this past legislative session to decriminalize marijuana, which simply meant reducing the punishments for low-level pot possession charges. Pot, under that initiative, would still be illegal. That bill advanced further than it ever has in the past with a formal hearing in the House of Representatives on the very last day of the session in May.

Ellinger says he plans to reintroduce this decriminalization proposal again and also a separate bill to legalize pot altogether.

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Rory Ellinger.

"The second bill will be more dramatic," he says. "It will have much less chance of passing."

Next session will not officially start until January 2014, and Ellinger says he is in the very early stages of planning the bill. The so-called Downsizing State Government Committee of the House of Representatives held a listening tour across the state earlier this month, and marijuana reform advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis testified in favor of legalization.

The group has been pushing the decriminalization proposals at local municipalities, but it does hope to eventually back a full-on legalization initiative.

In Colorado, voters passed the so-called Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol act on the November 2012 ballot, effectively legalizing small amounts of recreational pot (in a state that already had medical marijuana on the books). Colorado, like the state of Washington, is in the process of setting up the regulatory framework for the commercial sale of marijuana for non-medical purposes.

Ellinger says he plans to look toward Colorado as a model for his bill, though he says he hasn't had a chance yet to review it closely.

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via Wikimedia Commons

"It would make it so that marijuana in small amounts -- not large amounts -- is not against the law to have," he says.

At the very least, this would get the conversation started, he says. "All of this takes time."

The thinking behind legalizing marijuana is that it's not a dangerous drug -- and is arguably safer than alcohol in many ways -- and that the prosecution of pot offenses is a continued drain on law enforcement and court resources.

"There are thousands upon thousands of young people -- it's their introduction to the criminal justice system," Ellinger says. "Their lives are thoroughly messed up at a very early age."

He adds, "The consequences of smoking one marijuana cigarette are far greater legally than they are medically."

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via Facebook
John Payne.

He says of some of his colleagues, "I have a number of people that come up to me privately and say, 'I'm really in favor of this.'"

Assuming the legislation does not pass, advocates say they are interested in a voter-backed initiative to amend the state constitution, similar to Colorado's process. That would likely happen in the 2016 election cycle.

Either way, introduced legislation can only help move the state in the right direction, marijuana advocates say.

"A lot of what people see as politically possible is dictated by the things the legislature does," John Payne, Show-Me Cannabis executive director, tells Daily RFT. "People start to think this is something that can happen that's realistic now.... I think there's a real momentum to it."

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


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124 comments
20bears
20bears

I don't smoke nor have I ever in my life smoked weed, nor do I care if another decides to do so.  I'm a firm believer in people have the right to live their life as they choose.  I do support legalizing it.  It's no different then alcohol, and I think the laws should be similar to that of alcohol.  Your arguement of it destroying brain cells, thats no different from alcohol.  You say it leads to other drugs, that again is a choice by the user not the product.  Also alcohol and cigerettes are probably the second drug you were introduced to when you were young, second only to caffeine.  One could argue those are also gateway drugs.  I personally have never seen anyone severely hurt by someone under the influence of weed.  The problem is everyone trying to tell everyone else how to live.  I like to think of myself as a Christian, not a bible thumper, but the thing I took from the bible was Love thy neighbor, and if my neighbor wants to smoke weed, let the man!

stacye08
stacye08

Please stop making these stupid ass comments about "Junkies" and how this will cause teens to "get high" instead of "doing real jobs." For one thing, legalizing would CREATE jobs, PUMP REVENUE, and potentially get our budget back on track. As for these high teens you are calling out. Teens who don't want to work, aren't going to work, period. Not just teens, anyone for that matter! It doesn't matter if they are smoking pot or not. I can tell you some of the hardest working people out there smoke marijuana, and they get along A-OK. Do you need some examples? Benjamin Franklin, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs (although he said his best work came from his acid trips!). Marijuana users are not dangerous to society. If a person is stoned, it means they are relaxed and typically in deep thought. They are not doing the typical part of this society where we go out and keep buying drugs that are extremely harmful, but doctors give them to us anyway. "Any kind of consciousness that is not related to the production or consumption of material goods is stigmatized by society, besides when it comes to alcohol."

Have you ever heard of someone overdosing on marijuana? NOPE, because in order to do so, you have to smoke an equivalent of 20,000 joints in 20 minutes. But the individual would not die from THC overdose, they would die from deprivation of oxygen. But I dare anyone to take on this challenge. 

The whole illegalization process itself came about in the 50s. (Although during WWII it was legal so the government could make some money from hemp products.) A government study was ran on monkeys, that were forced to wear gas masks with marijuana smoke pumped through them for 15 minutes every day. After three months, the monkeys were dying from brain damage. SO the government said it "killed brain cells." Truth is, ZERO oxygen was pumped into the masks while they were being exposed to the THC, so they were being suffocated every day for fifteen minutes. And you wonder why there was brain damage? No shit, Sherlock!

And as for this "be clear-headed"... I must ask you, would you have supported the Prohibition of Alcohol in 1918? Also, please do me a favor, and stop taking anything that can alter brain function. This would mean all anti-depressants, painkillers, etc. How about stopping anything else that simply releases endorphins? (A natural chemical in the brain that causes you to be happy.) This includes sex, running, singing, dancing, eating, playing with flowers, playing with pets, etc. (We should probably destroy lavender, seeing as how it relaxes people.)

And please, as for all you Bible pushers, you should be the FIRST to know that Prohibition never worked. Or have you all forgotten the story of Adam and Eve, and The Tree of Forbidden Fruit. You tell a human not to do something, they re gonna do it. It's psychology in the Bible, people. 

 


Mad Doctors
Mad Doctors

California is waiting for the rest of the country, glad to see the Show-Me is keeping up

Ksmith Wash
Ksmith Wash

Make it happen! There are other problems in The Lou and weed is NOT one of them...

Tim Wood
Tim Wood

As much as I want it to, it's never going to happen in my life time.

Linda Wilson
Linda Wilson

I am doing to do whatever I can to help make it happen! It's way over due!

Andy Sims
Andy Sims

Seriously, who rolled that thing?

Andy Sims
Andy Sims

That doobie in the picture is a mess. It's all going to fall out the end.

Jay Wohlert
Jay Wohlert

Missouri will probably be one of the last states to legalize. Unfortunate, but there's too many ass backwards conservatives who still believe all the lies they've been fed for decades. I vote to legalize in a heartbeat. It only makes sense. No downside.

Nathan B Cromwell
Nathan B Cromwell

I am for it to help with my severe neuropathy and muscle problems

duchesskittie
duchesskittie

for those of you that are praying for all us horrible pot smokers i have one thing for you and you can grab your bibles and pray for me after you read Genesis 1:29-30 And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. as long as the plant is pure with no aditional junk in it then its not a sin because it is a seed bearing plant and name one case of someone dying of a overdose.. if you say its ok for alcohol then it is ok for weed cause its not half as dangerous.

Coinspinner
Coinspinner

Oh just legalize it already, we're all sick to death of debating plants.

Veggie Smith
Veggie Smith

What we need is prayer. I will first pray for the person who is holding that illegal marijuana cigarette next I will pray for all the marijuana junkies. In Jesus name heal all addicts from their ungodly addictions so that they may serve you better. AMEN

Jesse Riley
Jesse Riley

Yes in some situations cannabis is okay. I am a hospice nurse and I am aware that it can help some people but medical marijuana is another guise for our teens and adults that should be working a job instead of getting high.

Jesse Riley
Jesse Riley

I think it's sad that our society is crumbling to the point of a chemically impaired society and we aren't able to deal with reality.....I'm just saying.

Frank Motlik
Frank Motlik

Legalized Marijuana may be a good idea... Free up lots of prison cells and judicial resources to prosecute more serious and violent crimes. Tax revenue from the legal sales could be put to good use. It would also create jobs from farming to distribution. Of course the criminals currently distributing marijuana and the government officials chasing them would have to retire... LOL

Casey Kohler
Casey Kohler

Good for you Bobby, i love hearing success stories with cannabis.

Bobby Moore
Bobby Moore

I have Multiple Sclerosis and moved from St. Charles to L.A., became a cannabis patient and got off 14 drugs a day.

Yvonne Behrens
Yvonne Behrens

I don't use the stuff, myself, but I do believe it should be legalized. It's no worse than alcohol, really (which I also don't use). As long as it's restricted in public areas the same as cigarette smoke (as I suspect it would be, being smoke), I don't care.

Bethany Hope Bollinger
Bethany Hope Bollinger

And when I am talk about any drugs I mean pot, Marijuana,Cocane,Tobbaco , weed any of those kind of drugs should be illegal.

Bethany Hope Bollinger
Bethany Hope Bollinger

Rachel the article says its not illegal. And two I do know how from a sentence. Thank You and have a good day to you too. and it should be illegal it's wrong to do any drugs.

fultonboy63
fultonboy63

@Jay Wohlert I moved to Colorado at the right time!

Kevin_Gettings
Kevin_Gettings

@Veggie Smith So what you are telling me is that we should tax your church into oblivion and then smoke a fatty?

jd032594
jd032594

@Veggie Smith Your opinion is respected, but just because someone decides to smoke cannabis doesn't make them an addict or a junkie any more than choosing to go out to eat makes you a glutton. A junkie and a consumer are two completely different types of people. Maybe God doesn't want people to alter their consciousness through the use of cannabis, alcohol, or other substances, but it is each individuals God given right to choose whether or not do so. Laws are meant to protect our freedoms under God, not restrict them.

Kevin_Gettings
Kevin_Gettings

@Jesse Riley Moral judgement is the root of all evil.

jahhluv2001
jahhluv2001

@Jesse Riley I guess you dont realise that most people who smoke pot DO have a job. How in the hell do you think they pay for it? Your ignorance of marijuana and the issue is quite alarming. 

Kevin_Gettings
Kevin_Gettings

@Jesse Riley I would blame regressive policies by the Republican party and not a plant.  Fool.  We could have had a decade of peaceful expansion, instead we got two unjust wars and trillions of debt.

jahhluv2001
jahhluv2001

@Jesse Riley Who says we can't? The only thing you put in your body better be only to sustain your life. If not you are a hypocrite. 

Kevin_Gettings
Kevin_Gettings

@Kim Zarick Lewallen You spelled Republican wrong.

Kevin_Gettings
Kevin_Gettings

@Bethany Hope Bollinger Christianity should be illegal.  Whats up now?  I can only assume that is where you formed this backward logic...

jahhluv2001
jahhluv2001

@Bethany Hope Bollinger Pot and marijuana are the same thing genius. And there have been multiple studies in the last couple years stating that the most detrimental drug to society is alcohol, so why isnt it on your list?

jrao86
jrao86

What about alcohol it is a drug and more people die form it than smoking pot you ever here of some one getting thc poisoning you can get alcohol poisoning alcohol inpares your ability to really do anything right. You drink and drive your all over the place you smoke some weed and drive you'll drive a little slower

Kevin_Gettings
Kevin_Gettings

@Bethany Hope Bollinger Say that the next time your old man has to take a pill to get a hard on.  =)

ghaleonk
ghaleonk

@Bethany Hope Bollinger 

BRINWASHED FROM INFANCY ye are

purchman101
purchman101

It's a shame your so ill informed. MJ won't Help you. Try doing some real research. I actually feel sorry for people that can openly disregard all the true research regarding MJ. It makes you look bad.

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