Timeline for medical marijuana longer than some might expect

4 months 1 week 1 day ago Wednesday, November 07 2018 Nov 7, 2018 Wednesday, November 07, 2018 7:44:00 PM CST November 07, 2018 in News
By: Nnamdi Egwuonwu and Claire Bradshaw, KOMU 8 Reporters
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COLUMBIA- While Missouri voted red overall in the midterms, green also won.

The state is the 32nd to legalize medical marijuana with the passing of Amendment 2. The measure allows patients to legally use and grow their own cannabis for medical reasons.

The amendment will impose a 4 percent sales tax that will go to the Missouri Veterans Commission to benefit veterans care and services.

The measure will officially go into effect Dec. 6, according to Dan Viets, president of New Approach Missouri. But it could be as much as a year later before patients will have access to cannabis.

First, they will need to get a certification from a doctor to be able to legally possess medical marijuana. Patients need to be diagnosed with one of the seven conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Intractable migraines unresponsive to other treatment;
  • A chronic medical condition that causes severe, persistent pain or persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, and Tourette’s syndrome
  • Debilitating psychiatric disorders, including, but not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder, if diagnosed by a state licensed psychiatrist
  • Human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
  • Any terminal illness

It is up to a doctor’s discretion to recommend for anything else.

Patients and prospective growers and sellers will be waiting until June for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to get licensing applications ready.

Once that happens, Viets predicts, it won’t be until closer to the end of 2019 for the cannabis to be grown and supplied to dispensaries for sale.

“Once those cultivators are licensed, they have to have enough time to bring in a crop before the dispensaries will have any product to sell.”

Viets said there's not a strong movement in Missouri to take the next step - toward legalization of recreational marijuana.

But Aspen Sennewald, president of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws at MU said she thinks there is going to be a push for legalizing recreational use because “the nation is moving in a way that it’s less taboo to smoke marijuana.”

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