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Cannabis Reform Advocates Say Missouri Still Has a Chance for Medical Marijuana in 2014

Categories: Politics

Although advocates believe that Holsman's bill will need to be watered down to appeal to some lawmakers, no anti-marijuana groups were at the hearing to put on pressure.

"There was almost no opposition there. It just wasn't what I expected," says Nikki Furrer, a St. Louis woman who testified on behalf of her brother, an adult with brain damage who wants to use medical marijuana to lessen his seizures.

See also: "Wanna Get High?" Asks Mayor Slay in Poll About Marijuana Legalization

The only person who cautioned about medical marijuana was Brad Bates, a lobbyist for the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons. But he didn't challenge the medicinal properties of marijuana =- he only warned about potential problems for doctors who prescribe it to patients because the FDA hasn't approved the medicine.

Marijuana reform still has a small but vocal opposition, including law enforcement and anti-drug groups. But their absence at the hearing was a sign that there isn't a strong voice against medical marijuana in Missouri, according to Eapen Thampy, drug policy advisory board member for the Our America Initiative, who also testified at the hearing.

"They just don't have an answer to the mothers who need medical cannabis for their children or the people with cancer who need it for their treatment," Thampy says.

Although reform advocates are feeling optimistic about Holsman's medical marijuana bill, there are still several more steps to go. If the General Laws Committee votes in favor of the bill, it will then go for a vote on the senate floor. If that goes well, the state House will vote on whether the proposal goes on the November ballot.

See also: State Rep. Stanley Cox Says Missouri's Marijuana Laws Are Just Fine the Way They Are

And if it gets on the ballot, Missouri voters will get to make the decision on medical marijuana in the Show-Me State.

A bill to legalize hemp for industrial use is also moving along the same route and is expected by many to have a good chance of passing.

But although industrial hemp will create jobs and help the state's economy, it's the medical marijuana question that will affect Missourians the most.

For Rayl, it means giving her son a medicine that she has seen work more effectively than anything else.

"The people who are against it, I really wish they can see my son, see what he goes through," she says. "We've done everything -- every med, surgery with brain implants, special diets. We've literally done everything. I hope we can change the minds of the people who disagree with it."

Rayl is planning on returning to the capitol later this month with other advocates to knock on legislators' doors to get more support for the bill. It's something she's been doing quite a bit lately, but not because she likes to.

"People say to me, 'We can tell you want to be here,'" Rayl says. "But I really don't want to be -- I have to be. And I think any parent who cares would."

See also: Meet Jeff Mizanskey, Missouri's Only Inmate Sentenced to Death in Prison for Pot

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

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


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35 comments
Fred Peiffer
Fred Peiffer

I vote ( YES ) & Jeanne Link your an idiot. What neighborhood do you live in. I live & grew up in South St.Louis Born & Raised. And if that's the neighborhood your possibly hinting at. There's much more worst than some pot heads. So take your retarded concept you have in your unintelligent mind else where please. And ya did ur research did ya right...... 10-1 this chick believes in god and is against gay marriage. I don't smoke weed not homophobic could care less about marijuana. But it does have medical benefits. So once again vote yes and move along people.

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

Yes! And then i'd vote to make it recreationally legal, too.

Rose Dillon Clark
Rose Dillon Clark

Yes....yes.......whoever does not agree to legalize it medically, needs to research all the good it can do for cancer and seizures...the way it is given doesn't even get you high...how can one be against something that can help others?

OGilliams Irish Dump Gilliam
OGilliams Irish Dump Gilliam

I would for industrial hemp recreation and medical I see it helping my friends terminal cancer mother somewhat enjoy what time she has left. Tax it open the jails and fill it with people who deserve too be there

Bridget Aholt Blair
Bridget Aholt Blair

In a heartbeat!!! To stop my child's seizures & so my dad can get relief from his cancer treatments!!

Mark Alan
Mark Alan

How about DECRIMINALIZATION?

Meg Walsh
Meg Walsh

I work with families of children with seizure disorders, and so far two have had to uproot their lives to move to Colorado to get their child the treatment they need, and a third is getting prepared to do the same. RIDICULOUS.

June Bugg
June Bugg

Y, we been taking our medicine. The ballot is bullshyt, huh?

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