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."
Tom Mundell, 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.
Jack Cardetti is 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