By Ed Coghlan.
Voters in Missouri and Utah have approved medical cannabis propositions—as voters continue to demonstrate a willingness to consider cannabis as a medical alternative.
Voters in Utah—one of the most conservative states in the union—narrowly approved the ballot issue although a compromise apparently had been reached before the vote, so it should help efforts by legalization supporters to hold lawmakers and Gov. Gary Herbert (R) to follow through on their pledge to enact patient access in a special legislative session before the end of the year.
In Missouri, it was a constitutional amendment to allow medical cannabis, which passed by a margin of 66 percent to 34 percent.
Under the new law, qualified patients who have approval from their physicians will receive identification cards from the state that will allow them and their registered caregivers to grow up to six marijuana plants and purchase at least four ounces of cannabis from dispensaries on a monthly basis.
Doctors will be able to recommend medical cannabis for any condition they see fit; there is no specific list of qualifying disorders, so it should be available for chronic pain patients.
Additionally, the state regulators will issue licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as cultivation, testing and infused product manufacturing businesses.
“Thanks to the unflagging efforts of patients and advocates, Missourians who could benefit from medical marijuana will soon be able to use it without fear of being treated like criminals,” Matthew Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), said. “We hope lawmakers will implement the measure efficiently and effectively to ensure qualified patients can gain access to them Regardless of the result, however, legal medical marijuana in the state was a near certainty after both proponents and opponents of the ballot initiative came together last month in support of a plan to enact compromise legislation allowing patients to use cannabis.
33 states now approve the use of medical cannabis. California was the first to approve it 22 years ago.