Voting remains one of the principle acts of being a citizen of the democracy. And on November 6th, citizens of the “Show Me” state can show up to the polls. There, Missourians can choose to vote for the right to medical marijuana. This ballot appears already complicated by Senate elections and measures to raise the minimum wage. But it does deserve a pause for explanation when it comes to legalizing medical marijuana. On the ballot, two of the measures are amendments to the Missouri state constitution. Only the one which receives the top total vote will be put into the state document. But the third measure would create a new state statute, and in doing so, legalize medical cannabis. This third option could pass even if one of the constitutional amendments also sees itself voted into law. If this happens, the law will see a final decision in court.
Should Missourians who support medical marijuana show up to vote, this state will make the 31st on the list of those who have legalized marijuana. But in order to ensure that this landmark ballot makes sense to all who need to weigh in, here follows the three measures on the ballot, explained.
When a voter from Missouri enters the polling place, it will be important to understand that they have the option between voting in two amendments when it comes to medical marijuana. Only one will end up making the constitution. So, the voter must think over the differences between these two routes and decide the best decision for their state. If both are voted in yes, only the one with the highest total vote will go through.
In Amendment 2, the first detail makes medical marijuana legal. It taxes the drug sales at 4 percent. The revenue made from this will go towards health care services for veterans. A patient will also have the ability to home-grow marijuana.
Leading the charge on this particular amendment, New Approach Missouri wants to take back the power of medical decisions for patients from politicians and government leaders. With this amendment, they hope to make into law their right to medical marijuana, which often serves as a breakthrough for debilitating conditions.
Like Amendment 2, Amendment 3 offers the voter legal medicinal marijuana. But unlike the other, this amendment will tax marijuana sales at a much higher rate of 15 percent. Find the Cures led the campaign for this amendment. And with this extra revenue, they want to create a research center for marijuana in Missouri. This facility would be overseen by attorney Brad Bradshaw, who also serves as the amendment’s author.
Find the Cures promises that the money generated from these sales will stand to benefit the fight against incurable and intractable chronic diseases. But their argument for this amendment doesn’t stop there. They say that a vote to legalize medical marijuana will not only help the medical community, it will serve to give jobs back to the community.
So while a voter must choose between Amendments 2 and 3, they can also vote for Proposition C. Proposition C would create a state statute in Missouri which would also legalize medical marijuana. Taxed at 2 percent, marijuana’s revenue would benefit veterans, drug treatment, education and public safety. Run by Missourians for Patient Care, this campaign aims to make medical marijuana written into state law with the chance for change at a later date.
This statute would work differently than the amendments. To get the ball rolling on pulling together this law, it was a little simpler than the amendments. It required around 60,000 fewer signatures than other petitions to be put on the ballot. But most importantly, a vote for Prop C allows for local and state improvements in the form of amendments later.
Written into the constitution, neither Amendment 2 or Amendment 3 can be altered in the future.
For years, Rock the Vote has encouraged voters everywhere to the polls. This year, especially in Missouri, the voters should show up to vote on their own. Because this year, good health and medical marijuana have a place on the ballot. And the options, while confusing, all serve one purpose: to legalize it. But how each measure plans to use the revenue may change voters’ options. Also, if a voter seeks to amend these laws in the future, the amendments are not the option. Instead, Prop C offers the ability to change the document as the state changes and sees the effects of the law.
Voting yes for any of these measures makes a positive move towards legalizing medical marijuana on a national level. And while Missouri contemplates legal medical marijuana, other states face a vote to see possible recreational marijuana. It may now be tense before the vote. But for Missouri, and other states in the US, change is coming.
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