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Working to Reform Marijuana Laws in Missouri
March 11, 2014
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Re: Missouri Tax and Regulate Bill Heard Monday Night
Last night, a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol, similar to the bill passed in Colorado, was heard by the House Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee in the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City. The hearing, which was originally scheduled to last for thirty minutes, stretched to nearly three hours.
Ten witnesses testified in support of the bill and five were opposed. Two active duty police officers testified on each side of the bill.
Much of the proponents’ testimony focused on the potential of marijuana to provide relief for medical conditions. At least three committee members expressed support for the bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Several other committee members indicated that they would support medical marijuana, but they were not ready to go further.
This morning, the sponsor of House Bill 1659, Columbia Democrat Chris Kelly, informed me that, with our permission, he intends to substitute a medical marijuana bill for the tax and regulate bill and he has reason to believe that the Committee may forward that bill to the full House.
The bill he intends to substitute would be identical to a bill recently filed in the Missouri Senate by Jason Holsman of Kansas City. That bill would establish state-licensed retail dispensaries and would allow patients to cultivate their own supply.
We are hopeful that both bills will progress through each House before the end of the session. In a recent nationally televised interview, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon indicated that he would be supportive of such a bill and it is therefore believed that he would probably sign it.
Meanwhile, activists in Missouri intend to pursue a bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol and place that measure before the voters of the state in the November, 2016 election. Missouri citizens should contact their state senator and state representative right away to urge support for House Bill 1659 and Senate Bill 951.