Medical Marijuana | St. Louis Public Radio

Medical Marijuana

The Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to ask St. Louis residents to weigh in again on reducing the number of city aldermen by 2023 are on hold.

The decision made Friday to delay any action on legislation forcing another referendum acknowledges the difficulty supporters will have in getting the 20 votes needed to override a promised mayoral veto.

Dr. Mimi Vo (at left) and Rolla City Councilman Daniel Jones talked about the benefits of medical marijuana and what the application process like  for medical marijuana ID cards on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio | Courtesy of Daniel Jones

June 4 marked the first day Missouri posted application forms for patients who want medical marijuana ID cards, which is unprecedented in the state’s history. The application forms are also for would-be marijuana businesses — dispensaries, growers and others. Patients may file the applications beginning July 4, and businesses Aug. 3.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jonathan Ahl discussed what the legalization of medical marijuana means for Missouri and the process of how physicians prescribe it as dispensaries start opening up.

Jonathan Ahl | St. Louis Public Radio

As legal medical marijuana is on its way to Missouri, the city of Rolla is exploring decriminalizing possession of small amounts by recreational users.

The City Council recently voted 10-2 to direct city staff to research the concept and come back with proposals to make possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana punishable by a fine or eliminate prosecution altogether.

HCI Alternatives in Collinsville is one of 53 medical cannabis dispensaries licensed by the State of Illinois
File Photo | Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

While the state will license medical marijuana dispensary facilities, it’s up to cities to set the rules on where they can locate in their towns.

The amendment voters approved last fall to legalize medical marijuana has some provisions regulating the location of dispensaries, labs, cultivation centers and testing facilities. That includes a minimum of 1,000 feet from schools, day cares and places of worship.

peter.a photography | Flickr

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said it will distribute 338 licenses to grow and sell medical marijuana. The number is far less than the 510 hopefuls who have already paid application fees with hopes of receiving a license.

These licenses are for different aspects of the medical marijuana pipeline: 60 to cultivate marijuana, 192 to dispense and 86 to manufacture marijuana-infused products.

Even though the number of licenses to be issued is the minimum of what the law allows, a report from University of Missouri economists indicates that might be too much based on demand in other states with similar laws.

St. Louis Alderman Jack Coatar
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Alderman Jack Coatar joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann and Jason Rosenbaum in talking about what to expect in the next few months at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

Coatar represents the city’s 7th Ward, which includes neighborhoods like downtown St. Louis, Soulard, Lafayette Square and Compton Heights. He was elected to a full term on the board in 2017 after winning a 2015 special election.

Since February, patients in Illinois have been able to swap their opioid prescriptions for marijuana. And many are doing just that.

When Missouri’s medical marijuana program is fully underway, there may be more of the drug produced than consumed. That’s according to researchers at the University of Missouri, who provided the state with an economic analysis of the program Monday.

Legal medical marijuana
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri legislators gave first-round approval Wednesday to a bill that would allow medical marijuana patients to expunge pot-related offenses from their records.

It’s an outgrowth of a voter-approved decision in November legalizing marijuana for medicinal use.

As Missouri moves toward implementing the voter-approved medical marijuana program, state officials on Wednesday warned potential patients to hold off on paying for a physician certification until June.

Cannabis plants grow under orange sodium lights in a medical marijuana cultivation facility in Oakland, California. Missouri has begun accepting application fees for potential license-holders of such facilities.
Rusty Blazenhoff | Flickr

Missouri’s health department has already fielded more than 400 pre-applications from potential marijuana growers and sellers.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, which will administer the state’s medical marijuana program, won’t begin accepting formal applications for dispensaries, cultivation facilities and manufacturing plants until summer.

That hasn’t stopped potential businesses from paying more than $3 million in application fees to the state.

Legal medical marijuana
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s going to be awhile before medical marijuana will be available to Missouri patients.

The timetable imposed by Amendment 2 – which Missouri voters overwhelmingly backed in November – will likely give the state close to a year before pot in its various forms will be legally available for patients.

Dr. Patricia Hurford, a Kirkwood-based physician, is optimistic that the wait will be worth it. She also practices in Illinois, which has had a medical-marijuana program in place for several years.

A week after voters approved a measure to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office announced today that it will stop processing some marijuana possession cases.

Amendment 2, which legalizes medical marijuana with a 4 percent sales tax for veterans programs and job training, passed with 66 percent approval from Missouri voters and even more support from those in Jackson County. Two other medical marijuana proposals were on the state ballot but failed.

When American doctors enter the field of medicine, most take an oath to put the patient’s health as a top priority.

Benjamin Singer, communications director for Clean Missouri, announces victory in the contest to pass Amendment 1 to supporters at Flamingo Bowl in St. Louis.
File photo I Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters approved a sweeping overhaul of state legislative redistricting, raising the minimum wage and legalizing medical marijuana, but rejected a gas tax increase.

Of all of the initiative petitions on Tuesday’s ballot, the most contentious was Clean Missouri — on the ballot as Amendment 1. Voters approved it by a wide margin — 59-40, with close to 60 percent of the votes reported — a result propelled by a well-organized and well-funded campaign. Passage is a huge victory for Democratic activists seeking to advance their party’s state House and Senate prospects after the next census.

Legal medical marijuana
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Marie DeBor of Webster Groves is front and center in the longstanding debate in Missouri over medical marijuana.  

DeBor, who has multiple sclerosis, is hoping that the drug changes her life.

“I have tried it in legal recreational states and have had benefits,” said DeBor. “My friends with MS in other states tell me how beneficial it is to them.”

(L-R) Mike Colona, Brad Bradshaw, Jack Cardetti and Brandon Costerison debated the pros and cons of three competing ballot measures to legalize medical marijuana.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

As part of St. Louis Public Radio's "Inform Your Vote" ballot issues forum, Jack Cardetti, Brad Bradshaw, Mike Colona, and Brandon Costerison debated the pros and cons of Amendment 2Amendment 3 and Proposition C, the three competing ballot measures to legalize medical marijuana.

The conversation aired Tuesday on St. Louis on the Air, with Cardetti speaking in favor of Amendment 2, Bradshaw in favor of Amendment 3, Colona in favor of Prop C and Costerison of NCADA in opposition to all three measures.

Colorful photographs hang in the lobby at HCI Alternatives, a dispensary in Collinsville. (June 14, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies delve into the three medical marijuana initiatives.

Missourians will vote on Amendment 2, Amendment 3 and Proposition C. All three initiatives would make it legal to get marijuana for medical use. But they differ greatly in terms of how much marijuana will be taxed, how the regulatory framework would work, and where the money would go. Missouri state law says that if there are two conflicting constitutional amendments, the measure with the “largest affirmative vote” will prevail.

An analysis of states that decriminalized marijuana reported a steep drop in the number of related arrests and no increase in adolescent use.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Missourians will get three different chances this fall to legalize medical marijuana — as well as potentially raise Missouri’s minimum wage and alter the process for state legislative redistricting.

Rep. Shamed Dogan, R-Ballwin
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Shamed Dogan to the program.

Dogan is a Republican from Ballwin. He was first elected to the Missouri House in 2014 and was re-elected in 2016. He decided to run for another House term in 2018 after mulling over whether to run for St. Louis County executive.

Legal medical marijuana
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters could have several marijuana proposals to choose from this fall, along with ballot issues that seek to increase the state’s minimum wage and change Missouri’s process for crafting legislative districts.

Backers turned in signatures for six initiative-petition proposals by Sunday’s deadline. Four of them deal with marijuana.

Two of the proposals would legalize marijuana for medical use, while two others would legalize it for recreational use as well.

Pixabay

A constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana could be on the November ballot in Missouri.

On Friday, the group A New Approach submitted the signatures needed to place a measure legalizing medical marijuana before voters. The 370,000 signatures are more than twice the number required for a constitutional amendment.

Medical cannabis related products are sold at a medical cannabis outreach clinic in Shelbyville, Ilinois, on April 29, 2017
Jeff Bossert | Illinois Public Media

Legislation that would legalize marijuana for medical use in Missouri passed the state House on Tuesday.

The bill originally would have only allowed medical marijuana use for terminally ill patients, but the House added amendments last week to expand access to those with chronic and debilitating, but not necessarily fatal, illnesses.

HCI Alternatives in Collinsville is one of 53 medical cannabis dispensaries licensed by the State of Illinois
File Photo | Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

The owners of a Metro East medical marijuana dispensary are trying to ease concerns in the banking industry. HCI Alternatives won't be able to make any deposits at the end of next month if it doesn't find a new financial partner. The company's current bank is severing ties with the industry.

Across the country, states desperate to prevent opioid addiction are considering medical cannabis as a solution.

Citing the opioid crisis, lawmakers in several states are looking to initiate or expand their medical marijuana programs including KentuckyNew YorkNew Jersey and Indiana. And in Illinois, where opioids have claimed nearly 11,000 lives over the past decade, the legislature is considering a measure that would allow patients with an opioid prescription to get access to marijuana instead.


HCI Alternatives in Collinsville is one of 53 medical cannabis dispensaries licensed by the State of Illinois
File Photo | Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Regulators and dispensary operators are taking stock of medical marijuana in Illinois as the state's program hits the two-year mark. The Illinois Department of Public Health says it has approved approximately 31,500 patients for the program, compared to more than 36,000 who have completed the application process. It has also approved more than 50 dispensaries throughout the state, including HCI Alternatives in Collinsville.

Colorful photos hang on the walls at HCI Alternatives in Collinsville. The marijuana dispensary is set up like a typical doctor's office.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Jim Neely, one of a handful of doctors in the Missouri General Assembly, believes medical marijuana would help people with terminal illnesses.

That includes his daughter, who died of cancer several years ago.

Dozens of cannabis clones grow under high-intensity lights at BeLeaf's growing and processing facility in Earth City, Missouri.
File photo | Joseph Leahy | St. Louis Public Radio

Efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri failed to pass the state legislature last session or qualify for the ballot next week, but nine pot-related measures are up for votes in other states on Election Day.  As laws and public opinion toward the cannabis plant continue shifting nationwide, the Show Me State is taking a wait-and-see approach.

StanJourdan | Flickr

For now, it’s all over but the counting. The Missouri Secretary of State’s office will be busy the next few weeks determining whether five initiative-petition proposals collected enough valid signatures to get on the state’s August or November ballot.

peter.a photography | Flickr

Supporters of legalizing marijuana for medical use in Missouri now have only one option this year – the ballot box.

That comes after the state House last week defeated House Bill 2213. In its original form, the measure would have allowed for medical cannabis centers in Missouri, which would have sold medical cannabis to patients with a "debilitating medical condition."

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