Fox 2: Understanding Prop C, the medical marijuana initiative

ST. LOUIS – One of the medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot for voters is Proposition C.

Supporters say the ordinance is long overdue and will provide people suffering from medical conditions with easy and affordable access to medical marijuana.

they say prop c provides the best situation on all fronts.

Mark Habbas, a spokesman for Missourians for Patient Care, is asking voters to pass medical marijuana laws. He says if people study the facts, they’ll see that Proposition C is the most effective way to do so.

“We set it up to provide the best patient access and we set it up to have the lowest tax because insurance doesn’t cover it,” Habbas said.

To be clear: Prop C would not legalize the recreational use of marijuana. There are no recreational initiatives on the ballot.

Under Prop C, you would need written certification by a physician who treats a patient diagnosed with a qualifying medical condition. It would allow the growth, possession, production, and sale of medical marijuana by licensed and regulated facilities.

It would also place a 2 percent tax on the retail sale—the lowest of the initiatives on the upcoming—and the money generated from the tax would go straight to state veterans’ services.

“Our initiative allows for five ounces a month, two and a half every 14 days,” Habbas said.

That’s the largest amount of the three initiatives presented on the ballot. Habbas says it also allows patients more freedom depending on their condition.

The Missouri Division of Alcohol would issue licenses for dispensaries and the Department of Health and Senior Services would issue patient access cards. Some of the conditions covered are cancer, migraines, HIV, chronic pain, and seizures.

“The felt it should be legalized here in Missouri because they don’t want to travel to Colorado and California and other states that have medical marijuana laws,” Habbas said.

Medical marijuana is estimated to generate about $10 million annually for Missouri.


STL American: Vote Yes on Amendment 2 and Proposition C, No on Amendment 3

Those who believe, as we do, that cannabis has legitimate medicinal purposes and should be legalized for medical use face three distinct initiatives to legalize and regulate medical marijuana in Missouri on the November 6 ballot. Two of the proposals, Amendment 2 and Proposition C, deserve support. Amendment 2, because it amends the Missouri Constitution, is preferable to Proposition C, which enacts a statutory change that could be undermined by the Missouri Legislature. Strategically, however, proponents of medical marijuana should approve both measures. The third initiative, Amendment 3, should be rejected.

Amendment 3 is wrong for every reason. It would impose a 15 percent medical marijuana sales tax – more than double that of the next highest such tax of 7.25 percent in California. The initiative is funded almost entirely by medical doctor and personal-injury attorney Brad Bradshaw. It establishes a nine-member Research Board – initially appointed by Bradshaw – to control all aspects of marijuana. In that this board would collect taxes, issue bonds, regulate products, and grant and revoke licenses, it would be a sort of private governmental body. Further, the proposal would ban the retail sale of marijuana, except medical marijuana with a doctor’s permission at authorized dispensaries. If the Legislature later wanted to legalize marijuana for other purposes, the constitution would not allow it. Also, if both Amendment 3 and the vastly preferable Proposition C passed, Proposition C would be trumped by this bad constitutional amendment. Vote No on Amendment 3.

Proposition C – initiated by Missourians for Patient Care, an organization that includes lobbyists and activists – would impose a two percent sales tax on medical marijuana, paying equal portions for veterans’ health, public safety, drug treatment, and early childhood education and development. While this sales tax is half that (4 percent) provided by Amendment 2, Proposition C only changes state law, not the constitution, so its implementation could be delayed or undermined by the Missouri Legislature – which is not a legislative body that we trust to do the right thing. However, we urge a Yes vote on Proposition C, since its passage would be a good thing and, if Amendment 2 also passes, as a constitutional amendment it would take precedence. Vote yes on Proposition C.

Even if passage of both Proposition C and Amendment 2 enacted both sales taxes, “the total of six percent would not tax marijuana so much as to keep the black market in business – which is what the Bradshaw Amendment 3 proposal, with its 15 percent tax, probably would do,” writes Michael A. Wolff, former Missouri Supreme Court chief justice, who advised us on this endorsement (and who defeated Bradshaw in court when he tried to get the competing proposals thrown off the ballot).

Amendment 2 – the New Approach Missouri petition organized by a group of political activists and endorsed by the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) – simply allows doctors to authorize patients to buy, and dispensaries to sell, marijuana for the treatment of a variety of conditions. It does not prohibit the Legislature from legalizing marijuana for other purposes, including recreation, as does the bad Amendment 3. The tax it imposes is reasonable – 4 percent on retail sales, with proceeds going to veterans’ health care (it would also be subject to local and state sales taxes). It would not create a new, shadowy branch of government, but rather rely on state government as we know it to manage the new tax revenues as provided by the amendment.

Also, Amendment 2 permits patients to grow a small amount of their own marijuana, which the other two proposals do not. “All medical marijuana proposals sound like government-sanctioned cartels that control the market for their products,” Wolff writes. “The New Approach Amendment 2 model, with a little grow-your-own, offers some relief from this cartel feature.” Further, as Wolff assures us, “Its provisions would be in our well-cluttered constitution and, therefore, largely out of the reach of legislative meddling.” Vote yes on Amendment 2.

SOURCE: Saint Louis American

RFT: Missouri Has 3 Medical Marijuana Measures. Here’s How to Vote Strategically

If you’re looking for the elegant simplicity of democracy, the November 6 Missouri election is not it. It is instead a rolling party bus containing one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country, ballot measures to raise the minimum wage and redraw statehouse districts, and on top of all that, three separate measures to legalize medical marijuana.

And getting a handle on this weed stuff is much more complicated than, say, McCaskill vs. Hawley. Two of the medical marijuana measures are constitutional amendments, meaning only the one with the top vote total goes into the constitution. A third measure would legalize medical cannabis by creating a new state statute, which means it could pass concurrently with a constitutional competitor and still go into effect.

And that’s before even getting to the details within each measure. Here’s a quick overview:

Amendment 2 is backed by legalization activists. Yes, they failed to get the job done in 2016, but they’re true believers who want to see medical marijuana legalized and think this is the year to do it. As such, their measure is the most clear-cut and has won the most backing from groups that care about this issue.

Amendment 3 is the pet project of a lawyer/surgeon/millionaire who claims his plan to legalize weed can fund a cure for cancer. More on him, and that, here. If you want to entrust one dude with arranging Missouri’s medical marijuana industry and the brand-new state agency it would fund — a research center tasked with curing incurable diseases — this is your amendment.

Proposition C is funded entirely by dark money. Somebody wants medical marijuana legalized, and they’ve hired Rex Sinquefield’s pet group to do it. If that’s your cup of THC-tinctured tea, this is your proposition.

See also: Missouri Has Three Marijuana Initiatives on the 2018 Ballot. Here’s the Breakdown

Want a little more detail? Have a particular component of medical marijuana (cost, access, flexibility) that matters most to you? Here’s how to vote depending on your particular concerns.

If you want patients be able to grow their own weed: Vote yes on Amendment 2. You must also vote no on Amendment 3 (since its passage could cancel out 2’s success).

This one is simple. Of the three ballot measures, Amendment 2 is the only one that allows patients to cultivate up to six plants, though they would also have to register with the state and pay a $100 annual fee.

If you want medical cannabis at its absolute cheapest: 
Vote yes on Proposition C — and only Proposition C.

Although Prop C is backed by a bunch of secret donors (and Rex Sinquefield’s lobbyist), it’s clear on one point. Its proposed sales tax, 2 percent, is the lowest of the three measures. Amendment 2 would set a 4 percent tax, and Amendment 3 tops the group at 15 percent.

And keep in mind: If one of the constitutional measures passes, its tax could very well stack on top of Prop C’s. So if low prices are your main concern, you might want to put all your eggs in this basket.

If you think cannabis sales should bolster Missouri revenue: 
Vote yes on Amendment 2.

Amendment 2’s plan to legalize medical cannabis would cost the state an estimated $7 million per year, but it would kick $18 million into Missouri’s coffers. Part of the money would fund regulation and licensing of the state’s new cannabis industry, but the proposal also creates a fund for veterans’ healthcare and workforce development. (Note: Although Amendment 3’s tax rate is higher, at 15 percent, that proposal would attempt to funnel all its revenue into the research institute controlled by the proposal’s author and funder.)

If you think constitutional amendments are BS: 
Vote yes on Proposition C and no on the others.

Missouri is a state with bicameral legislature, but it struggles to get things done, leading to a wave of constitutional amendments presented as ballot measures. Some critics warn this isn’t a real solution to the state’s legislative paralysis, and implementing these amendments can create years of legal headaches. Unlike Amendment 2 and Amendment 3, Prop C’s state statute could conceivably be tweaked by lawmakers, but the campaign’s spokesman, Travis Brown, says the flexibility that will be a boon when responding to a brand-new industry.

If you care about endorsements:
 Vote yes on Amendment 2, and no on the others.

New Approach Missouri’s plan is the one that’s lined up support from drug reform groups like the Drug Policy Alliance and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. It’s also been endorsed by the St. Louis Post-DispatchSt. Louis American and the Joplin Globe. The measure also got the nod from Springfield News-Leader columnist Steve Pokin and the Columbia Tribune‘s Hank Waters.

If you just want medical marijuana, and don’t care if the details end up being a clusterfuck: Vote yes on all three. That ensures your greatest odds that at least one will pass. It might mean high taxes. It might put Sinquefield’s lobbyist in control. It might mean a rich lawyer decides who gets pot, and when. But hey, medical marijuana!

If you are literally Dr. Brad Bradshaw: Vote yes on Amendment 3 and no on the others.

Hey, you paid for it, go right ahead and vote. 

If you’re just in this for recreational weed: 

Sorry, it’s not happening this year, unless the federal government does something truly spectacular and upends the prohibition on cannabis for the entire country. The Trump administration is apparently seeking public comment on potential marijuana reforms, but his administration is also a rat’s nest of conflicting ideologies, so there’s no way to tell.

Then again, there’s always Canada

Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at


Mark Reardon Show: Medical Marijuana Issues on November Ballot


In September we lost a friend of the Mark Reardon Show. Bob Bareford, a radar tech who was in the D-Day invasion, passed away at the age of 97. We get a closer look at the medical marijuana issues on the November ballot in Missouri with Jack Cardetti on Amendment 2, Travis Brown on Proposition C, and Dr. Brad Bradshaw on Amendment 3.


Secret donations pour in for medical marijuana push in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — An organization backing one of three competing medical marijuana initiatives in Missouri has continued to bring in large contributions despite the origins of most of the haul being kept secret.

The Missourians for Patient Care campaign committee raised $530,000 in monetary contributions between April and July, about $505,000 of which was funneled from a nonprofit corporation with the same name. The nonprofit isn’t required to reveal its donors, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The committee also accepted more than $16,000 in in-kind contributions from the nonprofit that quarter. An additional $36,800 came from in-kind donations from First Rule, a firm listing the same address as the nonprofit and campaign committee.

Card-carrying medical marijuana patients eager to learn more about Kief, shown in jar, at Los Angeles’ first-ever cannabis farmer’s market at the West Coast Collective medical marijuana dispensary, on July 4, 2014. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

Previous secret donations to the group were part of a March complaint to the Missouri Ethics Commission by Howard Cotner, a Springfield resident.

Cotner said the maneuver violated the Missouri Constitution by intentionally obscuring the source of donations. The ethics commission hasn’t issued any findings on the complaint.

“We needed to raise money so have a social welfare organization that supports the ballot committee,” said Travis Brown, one of the main backers of the campaign effort.

Brown declined to comment whether he thought the group’s activities violated the law.

The newspaper reported in February that the group believes the secrecy is necessary because donors might be hesitant to contribute to a cause not recognized by the federal government.

“We set it up that way because most people who are supporters of it don’t want to be known,” said Mark Habbas, a lobbyist on the campaign. “They just want to keep their donations private.”

The proposal would change state rules to legalize marijuana for medical use in helping to treat cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, HIV/AIDS, terminal illness and intractable migraines. Two other groups collected signatures to place medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot. The secretary of state’s office will certify signatures by mid-August and announce which groups gathered enough to make the November ballot.


Competing plans complicate medical pot legalization

Passage of one or more of the medical marijuana proposals on the Nov. 6 ballot will create a new industry in Missouri for entrepreneurs who want to grow, process, test and sell smoking and edible products.

Those interested will need to have a large cash investment to start, both for license fees and to establish their businesses. They will also have to wait to see which of the three plans for licensing and regulation is approved. If more than one passes, the size of the majorities and the way they are written will determine which one takes effect. Missouri would be the 32nd state to legalize medical marijuana.

Those regulatory differences are among the main points of controversy between the three campaigns. Over the next month, Missourians will see an escalating war of words in an unusual three-way battle in which the object will be as much to depress the “yes” votes on other proposals as it is aimed at outright defeat of competitors.

Voters will see the measures as Amendment 2, Amendment 3 and Proposition C. Explaining which one rules is like describing playoff scenarios late in a sports season.

If one amendment passes and the other fails, it will take effect regardless of whether Proposition C passes. If both amendments pass, the one with the most votes wins. Proposition C will be law only if it passes and both amendments fail.

That makes supporters of the two amendments the most antagonistic toward each other, with backers of Proposition C soft on their differences with Amendment 2 and making similar attacks on Amendment 3.

Amendment 2, an initiative from New Approach Missouri, has roots in the groups that have long advocated for relaxation of marijuana laws. Amendment 3 is being financed by Springfield doctor and attorney Brad Bradshaw through a committee called Find the Cures. Proposition C’s campaign is called Missourians for Patient Care.

Columbia attorney Dan Viets, president of the campaign’s board of directors, said Amendment 3 is designed to put Bradshaw in charge of deciding who gets a license and how the tax money raised by sales is spent.

“The important point is that anybody who wants a license is going to be at the mercy of Brad Bradshaw and his gang of four,” Viets said.

Bradshaw, in turn, charges in commercials that Amendment 2 is a cover to make black-market pot growing and sales impossible to prosecute.

“Amendment 2 is a get out of jail free card,” Bradshaw says in one commercial.

He also is firing back at Proposition C.

Amendment 2 can function as well as Proposition C and may be compatible, allowing both to take effect, said Mark Habbas, spokesman for Proposition C.

“The Bradshaw Amendment is the one that scares everybody because you have one guy who created this thing and could be the drug czar of the industry,” he said.

Business basics

Amendment 2 has the cheapest application and license fees and is the only proposal allowing outdoor growing and home-grown marijuana so consumers can bypass retail purchasing. It is also the only proposal that does not have a mechanism for local votes on whether to allow growers and dispensaries in a political subdivision.

It requires a minimum of 24 dispensaries per congressional district, or one for each county in the Fourth Congressional District, which includes Audrain, Boone, Cooper, Howard, Moniteau and Randolph counties.

“Amendment 2 is completely centered around what is best for Missouri patients,” campaign spokesman Jack Cardetti said. “That is the real difference here. We wanted to make sure cancer patients, epilepsy patients and others have access to safe, responsible marijuana.”

Amendment 3 allows the largest minimum number of growing and dispensary licenses. It requires at least two dispensary licenses for every 20,000 residents of a county and at least two in counties with fewer than 20,000 people. That would allow Boone County at least eight dispensaries, with most surrounding counties eligible for two to four dispensaries.

A local government can request more licenses and, by a ballot measure passing with a majority vote, ask that no cultivation or dispensary businesses be established. The vote is not binding on the Board of Biomedical Research and Drug Development, created by Amendment 3 as the licensing agency and dispenser of tax revenue to medical research activities.

“They could have the vote but ultimately the discretion would be with board,” Bradshaw said in an interview.

“I wouldn’t see why they wouldn’t,” Bradshaw said when asked if he expects the board to honor local bans.

Proposition C has the smallest minimum number of dispensaries and fees set between those charged for Amendment 2 licenses, the cheapest, and the costlier Amendment 3 licenses. It allows a binding local vote banning dispensaries but requires a two-thirds majority to pass.

The regulatory schemes established by each proposal offer licenses for cultivation, testing, edible and infused product manufacturing and retailing. Each gives licensing responsibility to a different agency. Amendment 2 gives the job to the Department of Health and Senior Services. Amendment 3 creates the research board. Proposition C makes the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control in the Department of Public Safety the licensing authority.

The division already supervises the distribution and sale of regulated products, Habbas said. That experience means it can move quickly to implement the law.

“You really have no idea how important the regulatory compliance measures are and the need to be under the proper authority in the state of Missouri,” Habbas said.

Who gets licenses

With potentially hundreds of licenses available, each proposal tries to set limits on ownership, both on the number of licenses and participation by investors from outside the state.

The loosest residency and outside investor rules are in Amendment 2. To receive a license, a sole proprietor would have to be a resident of Missouri for one year and a business entity would have to be at least 50 percent owned by Missouri residents of at least one year. Each cultivator could have three licenses and each dispensary could have five.

“I expect there will be a lot who will try” for licenses, Viets said. “It is really fundamentally like any other business.”

Amendment 2′s rules mean a lot of out-of-state investment will flow into Missouri and the rules are silent about limiting ownership of multiple business entities, each with the maximum number of licenses, Bradshaw said. The major backers of Proposition C are former beer executives and by using the agency they know will have an advantage, he added.

“That is a bunch of retired alcohol executives, they know the people there, and they are going to have the monopoly,” he said.

There are no guarantees with using existing state regulators to run the program, Habbas said.

“Nobody in the state of Missouri knows how the division is going to allocate licenses,” he said.

Amendment 3 has the strictest residency and ownership rules. A sole proprietor must be a resident for three years and a business entity would have to be at least 70 percent owned by state residents of three years. It allows cultivators three licenses for large establishments and five for small establishments growing with a research purpose. Dispensary owners could have five licenses but no more than 50 percent of the licenses in any county.

Because Amendment 3 puts Bradshaw in charge of selecting the first research board, he will control who gets licenses, Habbas said.

“If there is any initiative that almost monopolizes or can guarantee licenses, it is Bradshaw’s” he said.

Amendment 3 allows more cultivators and more dispensaries than either of the others, Bradshaw said. It requires at least half of the licenses to go to applicants who meet the basic regulatory requirements and the rest to go to operators who will participate in research.

“If there are no disqualifying offenses, a person will get the license,” Bradshaw said.

Under Proposition C, only operators who receive cultivation licenses will be able to operate dispensaries, up to three locations for each growing operation. It will require the largest investment to participate in the market.

The plan is to have a verifiable product, Habbas said.

“It is a vertically integrated model that puts responsibility on the grower to provide good, clean cannabis to the patient,” he said.


Inform Your Vote: Understanding Missouri’s 2018 ballot measures

Join St. Louis on the Air for a free public forum (registration encouraged, as space is limited) at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 offering community members insight into four of the big decisions Missouri voters face this fall.

Taking place inside St. Louis Public Radio’s first-floor Community Room, the event will feature in-depth discussions with proponents and opponents of several key issues on the November 2018 ballot. Host Don Marsh will moderate the conversations.

Audience members will have an opportunity at the event to submit questions for potential inclusion in the dialogue. The discussions will be recorded to later air on St. Louis on the Air in the days leading up to the midterm election.

The four topics and associated panelists are as follows:

Proposition DThe Gas Tax Increase, Olympic Prize Tax Exemption, and Traffic Reduction Fund Measure

Proponent Scott Charton

Opponent Gwen Moore

Amendment 1: The Lobbying, Campaign Finance, and Redistricting Initiative

Proponent Benjamin Singer

Opponent Jim Talent 

Proposition BThe $12 Minimum Wage Initiative

Proponent Richard von Glahn

Opponent Ray McCarty

Amendment 2Amendment 3 and Proposition CEach would legalize medical marijuana

Proponent of Amendment 2 Jack Cardetti

Proponent of Amendment 3 Brad Bradshaw

Proponent of Proposition C Mike Colona

Opponent of the three measures Brandon Costerison

Event Information

What: Inform Your Vote: Understanding Missouri’s 2018 Ballot Issues

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Where: St. Louis Public Radio (3651 Olive St., St. Louis MO 63108)

Registration encouraged, as space is limited, at

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.


Missouri Has Three Legalization Measures. Two Are Very Odd

Imagine you’re a Missouri voter who pays scant attention to the news and tends to wing it when you show up to cast your ballot. Now imagine that on Nov. 6, upon sauntering up to the voting machine, you are pleasantly surprised to find that you’re being asked to vote on the legalization of medical marijuana.
“Regardless of whether any or all of these is passed, it’s a great day for Missouri voters because they have a choice.”
Travis Brown, Proposition C spokesperson
Specifically, Amendment 2 asks you whether you are in favor of altering the state constitution to allow doctors to selectively prescribe cannabis, the sales of which would be taxed at 4%. Easy choice, right?


Moving down through the ballot, you find another initiative: Amendment 3.

That one also asks for your vote on a constitutional amendment for medical marijuana. Amendment 3 would tax cannabis at a rate of 15%.

Now you’re thinking, Do I vote for just one, or both?

And that’s when things really get confusing, because continuing on, you find yet another ballot initiative, Proposition C, which would create a state law allowing doctors to prescribe cannabis. That proposal, known as the Missourians for Patient Care Act, calls for a 2% tax.

What gives?

The Tyranny of Choice

Let’s start with the obvious: Choice is good. The fact that cannabis has reached the ballot at all, much less three times, in a stridently red state like Missouri: also good. As Travis Brown, a spokesman for the third initiative, rather magnanimously puts it, “Regardless of whether any or all of these is passed, it’s a great day for Missouri voters because they have a choice.”

That said, social scientists have identified what they call “the tyranny of choice” as a growing source of angst in our society. Although it’s clearly preferable to have some choice rather than none, more choice isn’t necessarily better. For one thing, you feel anxious about making the wrong decision.

In this case, the abundance of options is unlike anything folks in the national advocacy movement have seen before. Other states have put two competing medical cannabis initiatives before the voters—most recently Arkansas in 2016—but there have never been three.

“It’s certainly unconventional,” says Matt Schweich, deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). “And it makes it a little more challenging in terms of getting medical marijuana passed.”

Dan Viets of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) chuckles at the surreal nature of it. “I don’t believe it’s ever happened before on any issue,” he says. “It’s certainly a strange thing.”

We’re here, then, to clarify what’s going on.

Amendment 2

Let’s start with the first initiative on the ballot. Amendment 2 is the brainchild of New Approach Missouri, a coalition of patients, doctors, and veterans who are pitching a straight-down-the-middle concept: Doctors would be able to prescribe cannabis for one of 10 medical conditions, including cancer, PTSD, chronic pain, and Parkinson’s.

Amendment 2: Just like other legal medical marijuana states.

“We have one simple goal, and that’s to make Missouri the 31st state with medical marijuana,” says Jack Cardetti, spokesman for New Approach Missouri. The same organization came within 23 signatures of introducing a similar ballot initiative in 2016, and has had a couple of years to study other states’ successes and struggles with cannabis legislation.

Several provisions speak to New Approach Missouri’s quest to make its approach palatable to a heartland sensibility. Some of the tax revenues would be funneled into veteran’s programs. Patients would be able to grow their own plants, but only in a state-registered facility that would extract a $100 license fee. Many of the provisions mirror similar efforts in Colorado and other states that have successfully adopted medical cannabis laws.

Amendment 3

All of this looks even more straightforward in comparison to Amendment 3, which was hatched by a Springfield attorney and physician named Brad Bradshaw.

Amendment 3: The Brad Bradshaw amendment.

His proposal, nicknamed the Bradshaw Amendment, would funnel the haul from its eye-popping 15% tax into the creation of a research institute that would aim to “develop cures for cancer and other incurable diseases or medical conditions.”

Bradshaw wrote the amendment. Bradshaw picked up the million-plus-dollar tab to put the measure on the ballot and advertise it. And Bradshaw stands to be the prime beneficiary if it passes, by appointing himself the head of the facility that would rake in revenues of around $66 million, according to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office.

If that strikes you as a touch bombastic, you’re not off the mark: In one of his video advertisements, Bradshaw appears in an operating room in scrubs, equating his proposed research facility to the projects that put a man on the moon and built the atomic bomb.

Amendment 3, in other words, is the marijuana-policy equivalent of a vanity plate.

“It’s a surreal contrast,” Cardetti says. “Amendment 2 is [advocates] looking out for the patients of Missouri, and Amendment 3 is Brad Bradshaw looking out for himself.”

Viets also pointed out that the 15 percent medical cannabis tax—which would be the highest of its kind in the nation—will be a deal-breaker for a lot of potential patients. “It kind of defeats the whole purpose of legalization,” he says. “People are just going to go back to buying it from the black market.”

Bradshaw, in turn, argues that Amendment 2 will be torpedoed because Missourians don’t want people to be able to grow their own cannabis. “It’s destined for failure,” he tells Leafly. And he accuses the New Approach Missouri team of being deceitful—that its 4% tax will effectively be higher than his 15% after adding in local sales taxes and other levies. (The Secretary of State’s office estimates that Amendment 2 would bring in $24 million, about two-thirds less than what Amendment 3 would generate.)

“They’re upset that I’m exposing them,” Bradshaw says. “I’ve actually gotten death threats.”

Bradshaw contends that he won’t benefit personally, and points out wording on the ballot petition that his temporary position as coordinator of the research facility would be unpaid. “This will be the best medical marijuana law in the United States,” he says.

Proposition C

Proposition C, meanwhile, would create a new law rather than an ironclad amendment to the state constitution. That means it could be tweaked and changed later by state legislators.

Prop C: Travis Brown’s mystery law. Who’s behind it? Nobody but Brown seems to know.

Travis Brown, a lobbyist whose PR firm spearheaded the petition drive for Prop C, aka the Patient Care Act, says that’s partly the point. His measure “is more flexible,” he says. “We felt that the probability that everything will be implemented perfectly—which has not happened in other states—will be pretty low, and the probability that you might need to tweak the thing in three to five years might be pretty high.”

Brown says his organization has focused on adopting lessons learned elsewhere to “attract an investor class that will actually commit to the Midwest.”

Which is where things get interesting with Prop C. Brown has declined to reveal the identities of board of directors and other financial backers behind the Patient Care Act, which has generated a stir in Missouri media. Proposition C is being operated as a 501(c)4, a nonprofit organization whose primary purpose is social welfare, and as such is not required to reveal who’s writing the checks.

Brown again declined to name names to Leafly. Asked whether he gets the sense that voters are OK with not knowing who’s bankrolling the plan, Brown said, “I get the sense they will do anything to vote for medical cannabis and have access to it.” He added that Missourians are “more interested in full legalization than I would’ve thought two years ago.”

What Are National Groups Doing?

As the mainstream choice, Amendment 2 has earned the backing of national advocacy organizations, including the Marijuana Policy Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, and NORML. “It draws on best practices from other states,” says Schweich of the MPP. “And it doesn’t make the tax rate so high so that patients can’t afford to take part.”

Cardetti says the New Approach Missouri folks are comfortable that voters—already primed in Missouri for one of the nation’s most fiercely contested Senate races—understand the choices. Ballot placement also matters. As the top choice on the ballot, Amendment 2 will be in a strong position. With its early push and grassroots organization, New Approach was able to turn in its petitions first and thus earn the top spot on the ballot, which Cardetti believes will pay dividends on Election Day.

What if All of Them Pass?

If voters give a thumbs-up to all three initiatives? It’s both straightforward and not.

By state law, the constitutional amendment that draws the larger number of “yes” votes wins. In that way, the contest is ultimately between New Approach and Bradshaw. That winner, because of its standing as a constitutional amendment, would also trump the statutory Missourians for Patient Care Act.

Brown contends there’s value in voting for Proposition C as a “safety valve, in the event that there’s an unexpected outcome from the constitutional amendments that are fighting”—in other words, if Bradshaw wins.

But Viets of NORML says the problem with Prop C is that any law can be undone by the legislature. “They will repeal—they’ll just gut it,” he says. “They do not care what voters think.”

The takeaway is that if you live in Missouri and care about medical cannabis, show up to vote—and don’t wing it.


Missouri voters set to decide state regulations on medical marijuana, White House announces new federal regulations may be on horizon

President Donald Trump has recently made statements that he will likely support a bill proposed by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, which leaves the decision to legalize marijuana up to the states, instead of having the decision made on a federal level.
On the upcoming November 6 ballot in Missouri, there are three initiatives up for vote that approach the use of medical marijuana, Amendment 2 and 3, and Proposition C.

The use of medical marijuana is always up for debate, from Average Joe to policymakers, it can be hard to know where to land on the issue. According to Harvard Medical School, medical marijuana has many benefits to patients and the general public, including pain relief for diseases such as multiple sclerosis, which can also decrease the use of opioids, and reduce tremors from diseases like Parkinson’s. The laws on marijuana possession are stricter in Missouri than other states. Possession of anything less than 35 grams results in a Class A misdemeanor (up to one year prison time), sale in less than 5 grams is a Class C felony (up to 7 years prison time), and trafficking of any amount of marijuana can get you up to 10 years prison time.

Amendment 2 allows in-home growing of medical marijuana to create a statewide system of growth. It allows up to six plants per household, and claims that it still pushes a public safety mission, as it “maintains the current prohibition on public use and driving under the influence.”

Before patients have the ability to grow six plants, they must get permission from their physicians and acquire an Identification Card. The card expires after 12 months and has an annual fee of $100.00. The ability to home grow will allow easier access for those patients who need their prescription consistently.

“We are focused only on the patients and what is easiest access for them,” Jack Cardetti, the general consultant for New Approach, said. New Approach’s website states that they are, “the campaign to allow patients with debilitating medical conditions to use medical marijuana under the supervision of their doctors.”

Amendment 2 would leave all responsibility of prescription use to state-licensed physicians, and claims it does not want to include any politicians or bureaucrats on the amendment. The amendment will have a four percent tax rate, and claims that they will, “use funds from these taxes for health and care services for military veterans by the Missouri Veterans Commission.”

New Approach also “allows the Department of Health and Senior Services to institute a seed-to-sale tracking system to ensure that the product and money do not reach the illicit market.” They do not want their amendment to move into recreational use, and “want to focus on medical use only.”

They have stated opposition against Amendment Three proposed by Brad Bradshaw, a licensed physician, surgeon, and lawyer.

“Amendment 3 is all about getting more power for Bradshaw, and ignores the care for patients,” Cardetti said. “He is imposing a 15 percent tax rate, which is currently the highest retail tax rate in the country: from all 30 states that have legal retail sale of medical marijuana.”

According to Washington State laws, however, marijuana for medical and recreational use is legal, and currently holds a 37 percent tax rate on people who sell marijuana. If you are registered patient selling and consuming marijuana, you are exempt from eight percent of that retail sales tax, but that still holds you at a 29 percent retail tax rate.

“The four percent tax rate that Amendment 2 is proposing is not a transparent tax, which means they could add on all kinds of taxes. It could be about 20-30 percent when it’s all finished,” Bradshaw said.

Bradshaw asked that voters look at states like Colorado who currently have home-grown laws, but are looking to scale them back substantially. Initially, Colorado had home-grow laws that allowed people to grow any amount marijuana in their homes. Since August, however, they’ve set in place ordinance that limits home-growth to 12 plants per household.

“Home-grown laws might bring in criminal elements,” Bradshaw said. “It’s never going to pass. It’s dead on arrival.”

Bradshaw said that he wants to make something that is, “probable to pass,” and that he is, “just trying to do the right thing,” and do what he considers is best for the patients.

Bradshaw’s higher tax rate will help fund a board to research the benefits and cures that medical marijuana can give patients. “It will be illegal to make money off of the research we are going to be doing,” notes Bradshaw.

Although Bradshaw will lead the board in the beginning, the lawyer’s initial involvement will be unpaid; he said he will be only trying to appoint people that have the best interest in medical research and the patients.

“I find it disgusting that people in this country would rather monopolize the use of medical marijuana, when we could be finding cures for cancer,” Bradshaw said.

On this ballot there will also be Proposition C, which was initiated by the Missouri for Patient Care foundation, and is also going to propose a legalization of medical marijuana.

The Missouri for Patient Care foundation is mainly backed by Pelopidas LLC, whose CEO is Travis Brown. Pelopidas LLC has been linked to Rex Sinquefield, active in Missouri politics and one of the founders of the Show-Me Institute.

Proposition C would look into legalizing medical marijuana, focusing on care for patients. Each patient could have 2.5 oz. of the cannabis flower or a 14-day supply, but would have a possession limit of a 60-day supply, whatever that may be per patient.

This proposition would also have a two percent tax on the retail sale of medical marijuana, and would “use the funds from this tax for veteran services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and for public safety in cities with a medical marijuana facility.”

Proposition C would “task the state Senior Services and Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control and Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services with overseeing and regulating the state’s medical marijuana program.”

The responsibility would not be put on the physicians, unlike both Amendment 2 and Amendment 3. It is similar to Amendment 3, however, in the sense that home-grow will also be completely prohibited, which means that Amendment 2 will be the only initiative that allows their patients to cultivate their medication at home.

If all of these measures pass, the one with the overall highest votes will continue forward.