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Effort underway to legalize medical marijuana use in Missouri

Backers of medical marijuana want Missourians to decide if doctors can be allowed to prescribe the drug to critically ill patients.

Two ballot initiatives that would do just that were filed on Thursday.

Sheila Dundon of Columbia is a registered nurse and a breast cancer survivor.  She says past cancer patients advised her to try marijuana to help curb the effects of chemotherapy.

"I could not believe how it helped with my nausea, it helped with my appetite, and it helped clear my head from all the chemicals that the doctors were shoving in there," Dundon said.  "I'm not talking about the chemo; I'm talking about the psychiatric drugs that they gave me because I was depressed."

Credit peter.a photography | Flickr

TomMundell, past president of the Missouri VFW, says medical marijuana has helped thousands of combat veterans in states where it's legal.

"The time has come to offer this compassionate alternative to the narcotics and the heavy medications," Mundell said.  "We've gone through 50 years of prohibition and psychological brain numbing, trying to get us to be against something that may very well actually be a holy grail to natural medicine."

The two nearly identical ballot initiatives can be viewed here and here.  They were both filed by New Approach Missouri, a campaign committee connected to Show-Me Cannabis.

New Approach Missouri has $26,100 on hand, according to its July quarterly report on file with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

JackCardettiis a former communications director and campaign worker for Governor Jay Nixon, who's now working with New Approach Missouri.

"We would ask Missourians to look through the actual initiative petition," Cardetti said.  "It spells out pretty clearly in there what debilitating and serious medical conditions would qualify for this.  It's cancer, it's epilepsy, (and) it's other debilitating, persistent illnesses."

The proposals have to be approved for public comment before signature gathering would begin.  If either of them makes it onto next year's ballot and if it passes, doctors would be able to write prescriptions for marijuana starting in December 2016.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:   @MarshallGReport

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Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a native of Mississippi and proud alumnus of Ole Miss (welcome to the SEC, Mizzou!). He has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off an old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Liberty Belle, and their cat, Honey.
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