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Missouri Marijuana Activists Seek Reforms From 2015 Legislative Session

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Missouri marijuana activist group Show-Me Cannabis is planning to push lawmakers to reform marijuana laws in the 2015 legislative session.

The group is specifically interested in creating a medical marijuana program and lifting the ban on hemp production for farmers.

Show-Me Cannabis Executive Director John Payne believes that the Republican supermajority in both chambers will be more likely to support hemp production, but a medical program shouldn't be counted out yet.

"We've seen a 25 percent reduction in opioid overdose rates in states that have medical cannabis laws," Payne said. "Some people might not like the idea that you can get cannabis just because you have pain, but if the alternative is OxyContin, it's hard to see how cannabis is the more dangerous alternative."

If the legislature ends up reforming marijuana laws, it won't be the first time. Two bills that lowered punishment for first-time possession and allowed limited medical use were overwhelmingly passed last session.

Show-Me Cannabis is also trying to get a legalization ballot initiative ready for the 2016 election. It would allow recreational marijuana use for anyone over the age of 21. 

Cody Newill is part of KCUR's audience development team. Follow him on Twitter @CodyNewill or email him at cody@kcur.org.
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