Missouri: Voter Initiated Medical Cannabis Law Takes Effect

MISSOURI: Amendment 2, the state’s voter-initiated medical cannabis access law, took effect on Thursday, December 6th. Sixty-six percent of voters approved the measure in November, while rejecting a pair of competing initiatives.

State regulators have 180 days from the law’s enactment date to make available application forms to patients seeking to register to grow and/or possess medical cannabis.

Under the program, physicians may recommend cannabis therapy at his/her discretion. Qualified patients may obtain cannabis from licensed dispensaries or grow their own. Retail cannabis sales will be taxed at four percent. Tax revenues are earmarked to fund programs to assist state veterans.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500 or visit Missouri NORML.

 

War Veteran Non-Profit Hosts Inaugural Medical Cannabis Conference Days Before Missourians Vote on Medical Cannabis Ballot

Nation’s Cannabis Experts Address Consumers, Healthcare Providers & Emerging Trade at October 27 & 28 St. Charles-based Forum

MISSOURI: The inaugural Missouri Medical Cannabis Conference will be held Saturday & Sunday, October 27 and October 28, and will provide voters, potential patients, caretakers, varied healthcare providers and those interested in the associated business and trade of medical cannabis broad access to experts and expert resources.

The event features medical cannabis healthcare providers, researchers and patients, as well as renowned leaders in various aspects of America’s medical cannabis movement.  Conference activities include keynote speeches, panel discussions, networking sessions and multiple food-based hospitality events.  The cost of attendance begins at $75; additional higher priced attendance packages are offered, with cost based on extent of conference access, special events and amenities included.

Held in St. Charles at the Embassy Suites by Hilton, conference organizers have structured Saturday’s session to focus on patient and healthcare subjects.  Sunday’s conference addresses the medical cannabis trade landscape and emerging business opportunities.  Saturday activities begin at 9 am, Sunday sessions begin at noon.   For a complete schedule, speaker information & pricing options, visit www.mocannacon.com

Screenshot 2018-10-18 09.22.48HOSTED BY WHO & WHY

The conference is organized and hosted by Missouri based Project 4-22 Foundation, a volunteer community initiative committed to mitigating the American military veteran suicide epidemic by seeking safer treatment options while raising awareness of the staggering death rates reported by the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

Project 4-22 organized this informative and educational forum with broad appeal to various constituents — from voters to healthcare providers — in advance of Missouri’s medical cannabis vote because every day at least 22 veterans commit suicide. With diagnoses ranging from post-traumatic stress to traumatic brain injury, veterans face limited and inadequate treatment that includes addictive opiates.  In November Missouri voters will make history, passing judgement on three separate medical cannabis initiatives on the ballot.  Project 4-22 advocates the medical benefits of cannabis and its use as an effective treatment for many veteran diagnoses, and designed the conference as an opportunity for Missourians to educate themselves before voting in November’s historical election.

Study: Adjunctive Cannabis Use Improves Treatment Retention In Opioid-Dependent Subjects

MISSOURI: The intermittent use of cannabis can play a positive role in opioid-dependent subjects undergoing treatment, according to a review published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis assessed data evaluating the relationship between the use of cannabis and opioids.

They reported, “Adjunct cannabis use alongside current treatment strategies could help to improve the number of individuals engaging in OUD (opioid use disorder) treatment, as well as increase treatment retention rates.”

Specifically, authors acknowledged that the use of CBD is associated with reduced opioids cravings and relapse, and that cannabis acts synergistically with opioids to provide analgesic benefit at sub-therapeutic doses. Authors also suggested that “cannabis may be an efficacious tool” in the treatment of symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.

They concluded: “The opioid overdose epidemic is arguably the worst public health crisis in U.S. history. … A continental crisis of this magnitude warrants the immediate implementation of novel strategies that prevent opioid misuse, overdose, and death. Growing pre-clinical and clinical evidence appears to support the use of cannabis for these purposes. The evidence summarized in this article demonstrates the potential cannabis has to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms, reduce opioid consumption, ameliorate opioid cravings, prevent opioid relapse, improve OUD treatment retention, and reduce overdose deaths.”

Separate clinical data published online last week in the journal Addiction reported that daily cannabis users undergoing therapy for opioid dependence are far more likely to complete their treatment regimen than are non-users


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Full text of the study, “Emerging evidence for cannabis’ role in opioid use disorder,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. NORML’s fact-sheet, “Relationship between marijuana and opioids,” is online.

Study: Marijuana Decriminalization Leads To Decreased Arrests, No Increase In Youth Use

MISSOURI: State laws reducing minor marijuana possession offenses from criminal to civil violations (aka decriminalization) are associated with dramatic reductions in drug-related arrests, and are not linked to any uptick in youth cannabis use, according to data published by researchers affiliated with Washington University and the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Investigators examined the impact of cannabis decriminalization on arrests and youth cannabis use in five states that passed decriminalization measures between the years 2008 and 2014: Massachusetts (decriminalized in 2008), Connecticut (2011), Rhode Island (2013), Vermont (2013), and Maryland (2014). Data on cannabis use were obtained from state Youth Risk Behavior Surveys; arrest data were obtained from federal crime statistics.

Authors reported: “Decriminalization of cannabis in five states between the years 2009 and 2014 was associated with large and immediate decreases in drug-related arrests for both youth and adults. … The sharp drop in arrest rates suggests that implementation of these policies likely changed police behavior as intended.”

They further reported: “Decriminalization was not associated with increased cannabis use either in aggregate or in any of the five states analyzed separately, nor did we see any delayed effects in a lag analysis, which allowed for the possibility of a two-year (one period) delay in policy impact. In fact, the lag analysis suggested a potential protective effect of decriminalization.” In two of the five states assessed, Rhode Island and Vermont, researchers determined that the prevalence of youth cannabis use declined following the enactment of decriminalization.

Investigators concluded: “[I]mplementation of cannabis decriminalization likely leads to a large decrease in the number of arrests among youth (as well as adults) and we see no evidence of increases in youth cannabis use. On the contrary, cannabis use rates declined after decriminalization. … These findings are consistent with the interpretation that decriminalization policies likely succeed with respect to their intended effects and that their short-term unintended consequences are minimal.”

Thirteen states currently impose either partial or full decriminalization. Nine additional states and Washington, DC have subsequently amended their decriminalization laws in a manner that fully legalizes the use of marijuana by adults.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.orgFull text of the study, “Cannabis decriminalization: A study of recent policy change in five states,” is available online. Additional fact-sheets regarding the societal effects of decriminalization policies are available from NORML online.

Missouri Could Decide Medical Marijuana Issue In 2016

MISSOURI:  Missouri’s 2016 ballot could be filled with weed.

Competing proposals, bolstered by growing national support, are seeking to put medical marijuana legalization on the statewide ballot. If approved, Missouri would join 23 other states that have done so.

Proponents have an uphill battle. First they need to collect 168,000 valid signatures from at least six of the state’s nine congressional districts. Then they need to win approval from the state’s conservative-leaning voters. Only a handful of states that have legalized medical marijuana are in the Midwest (Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan). And there’s not one in the South, the region with which Missouri has been more politically aligned over the past decade.

In addition, two competing efforts could confuse voters and create an additional hurdle for gathering signatures.

Past efforts to get such a measure on the ballot have languished and failed. This time proponents say things will be different, citing internal polls showing significant statewide support for medical marijuana along with a presidential election year that will drive a larger turnout yielding the best chance of success.

Missouri Marijuana Campaign Hires Top Political Consultant

MISSOURI: A campaign committee in support of medical marijuana in Missouri has hired a prominent political consultant and started raising money for the cause, signs that a medical pot proposal might have a serious chance of making it on the 2016 ballot.

Jack Cardetti, who worked on successful campaigns for Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and Secretary of State Jason Kander, debuted in his new role as a consultant for New Approach Missouri during a game-day fundraiser for the marijuana advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis this week at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

New Approach Missouri was established in April and the committee had about $26,000 to spend on a campaign as of the end of June, campaign finance reports show. Show-Me Cannabis executive director and treasurer John Payne said his group plans to donate money and time to New Approach Missouri.

Fundraising is key.

Judge: Missouri Right-To-Farm Doesn’t Cover Marijuana

MISSOURI:  A new constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to farm doesn’t protect a woman who reportedly grew marijuana in her home, a Missouri judge ruled this week.

Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green ruled against a woman Tuesday whose public defender tried to argue that cultivating marijuana falls under the farming-rights amendment, the Jefferson City News Tribune reported.

Public defender Justin Carver argued that Green should set aside a grand jury indictment against Lisa A. Loesch. She was charged in 2012 after Jefferson City police arrested her for allegedly growing pot in her basement.

“The conduct alleged in the indictment, even if taken as true, does not give rise to an offense in that the conduct is protected by the Missouri Constitutional right-to-farm,” Carver wrote in an April motion.

Jeff Mizanskey, Sentenced To Life With No Parole On Marijuana-Related Charge, Walks Free

MISSOURI:  A man sentenced to life in prison without parole on a marijuana-related charge walked out of a Missouri prison a free man on Tuesday, after spending two decades behind bars.

The release of Jeff Mizanskey followed years of lobbying from family, lawmakers and advocates for the legalization of marijuana, who argued that the sentence was too stiff.

Mizanskey was sentenced in 1996 after police said he conspired to sell 6 pounds of marijuana to a dealer connected to Mexican drug cartels. The life with no parole sentence was allowed under a Missouri law for persistent drug offenders; Mizanskey already had two drug convictions — one for possession and sale of marijuana in 1984 and another for possession in 1991.

Gov. Jay Nixon Commutes Sentence For Man Serving Life For Marijuana Crimes

MISSOURI:  A Missouri man sentenced to life without parole for marijuana-related offenses is eligible for parole Friday after Gov. Jay Nixon commuted his sentence.

Nixon’s action means 62-year-old Jeff Mizanskey will be eligible for parole immediately. Mizanskey has served more than two decades in prison after being sentenced and convicted as a persistent drug offender under Missouri law that’s since been changed.

His son, 37-year-old Chris Mizanskey, said he was in awe at the news and planned to go see his father in the morning.

“It’s amazing,” Mizanskey said. “To be able to talk to him, to be able to sit here and have a conversation with him. To have my son sit on his lap, for him to be a part of his grandkid’s life, our lives, my whole family. I mean really words can’t even describe it.”

Does Missouri’s ‘Right To Farm’ Amendment Mean You Can Grow Marijuana In The Basement?

MISSOURI:  A Missouri woman believes her constitutional right to farm shields her against being prosecuted for allegedly growing a small crop of marijuana in her basement.

Lisa Loesch, 52, of Jefferson City, was charged in 2013 with a felony count of manufacturing and/or distributing a controlled substance. Investigators with the Jefferson City Police Department and a regional drug task force said they found nine healthy, potted marijuana plants under grow lights in her basement in October 2012.

“The room was set up with grow lights, a CO2 generator, and pots with potting soil,” police said in court records. “The plants were approximately 1 and ½ to 2 feet in height.”

Loesch’s lawyer, a public defender named Justin Carver, filed a motion April 28 asking for her case’s dismissal.