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Legalized Marijuana in Missouri Unlikely for 2014, But There's Still Some Hope

"We have a larger presence than ever at the Capitol, and I believe there is a good chance that the legislature will vote to reduce penalties on cannabis possession this year," Payne says. "Industrial hemp and medical cannabis are also garnering more legislative interest than in years past, and we could see some progress on those fronts, but passing either will be an uphill battle."

hemp_harvest.jpg
wikimedia/Aleks
Harvesting industrial hemp is legal pretty much everywhere except the U.S.

Despite Show Me Cannabis' decision to postpone its effort to get a legalization on the ballot this year, Missourians still have a chance for reform with recent proposals from representatives Rory Ellinger and Chris Kelly, both Democrats.

Kelly has proposed a bill that would fully legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol, but even he isn't very optimistic about it.

"Passing is possible, but unlikely," he tells the Columbian Missourian.

Ellinger has proposed a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana and allow its use for medical purposes. That proposal has been assigned to Republican representative Stanley Cox's judiciary committee and needs to be voted on in order to progress through the legislative channels.

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Stan Cox's website
Rep. Cox says he supports a vote on marijuana reform, but hasn't allowed a vote to go through.

Cox made a fuss recently when he said he vehemently opposed the insertion of marijuana-reform legislation into state's massive crime bill because he preferred that marijuana has a separate vote for transparency purposes.

See also: State Rep. Stanley Cox Says Missouri's Marijuana Laws Are Just Fine the Way They Are
- Why Won't Governor Nixon Say Anything About Marijuana Reform?

"I think it's a cowardly thing to do, to include in a 1,000-page bill on a controversial issue that you're not willing to vote on up and down specifically," Cox told Daily RFT earlier this month.

We called and e-mailed Cox to ask him if he plans on holding an up and down committee vote on Ellinger's bill, but the lawmaker from Sedalia did not respond. But marijuana reformers would like to see Cox give the proposal a chance at the democratic process.

"I hope Cox heeds his own advice and allows a hearing and vote on the cannabis decriminalization proposal currently assigned to his committee," Payne says.

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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