Missouri, if you want medical cannabis legalized, the midterms are your chance to make it happen.
Voters on Nov. 6 have three separate ballot measures — two proposed amendments and a proposition — on essentially the same question: whether to allow the legal use of medical cannabis to treat conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma.
But the details of exactly how each program would work and how much money they would generate for the state are buried in the fine print. Here’s your guide:
What it would do: Amend the state constitution to allow medical marijuana and create regulation and licensing for marijuana and the facilities that grow the plant. Patients would be able to grow their own marijuana in state-registered facilities.
What’s the sales tax: 4 percent, with tax revenue going to veteran’s programs, the state’s marijuana licensing program.
Financial details: The Secretary of State’s office estimates the program would cost $7 million annually and generate $18 million per year. Local governments would receive an estimated $6 million.
Who’s behind it? New Approach Missouri, a statewide group including medical, patient and legal advocates. The organization has received numerous, mostly small donations from individuals but the sources of much of its funding is a mystery. Its largest donor is Missouri Essentials LLC, a company registered to New Approach Missouri Treasurer Paul Bocci.
What it would do: Amend the state Constitution to allow medical marijuana and create a medical marijuana research center in Missouri that would be headed, at least in the beginning, by the proposal’s sponsor, Springfield-based personal injury lawyer and physician Brad Bradshaw.
What’s the sales tax: 15 percent, with the money funding the research center. This would be the highest sales tax for medical marijuana in the country by far, more than double the current highest sales tax rate, which is 7 percent in New Jersey.
Financial details: The Secretary of State’s office estimates Missouri would spend $500,000 a year, and bring in $66 million per year.
Who’s behind it? Bradshaw has funded the campaign almost entirely with loans.
What it would do: Legalize medical marijuana by changing state laws, which means lawmakers could alter the program. Supporters tout this as a benefit because they say it would limit bureaucracy and offer legislators more versatility to implement and change the program as needed.
What’s the sales tax: 2 percent, going toward programs for veterans, drug treatment, early childhood education and public safety.
Financial details: The Secretary of State’s office says it’d cost Missouri an estimated $10 million per year, but bring in at least $10 million in of revenue; $152,000 annually for local governments.
Who’s behind it? Missourians for Patient Care does not disclose its donors. The company shares a St. Louis-area address with lobbying company Pelopidas LCC, known for its work for Republican megadonor Rex Sinquefield.
Short answer: Courts would probably make the call.
Long answer: There’s conflict over what the state laws say. Missouri’s constitution (Article 3, section 51), says that when conflicting measures are approved, the one with the most votes wins. But another statute (116.320) provides separate rules for approved statutes and amendments, leaving confusion about what might happen if both Prop C and one (or both) of the amendments passes.
Alex Smith is a health reporter for KCUR. You can reach him through email: firstname.lastname@example.org.