It is amazing how quickly the world can change.
If you had asked me last Monday the odds of the Missouri legislature passing any bill dealing with marijuana, I would have told you it was likely impossible and a definite long shot. But after the hearing on H.B. 1659 last Monday evening, I think we actually have a fighting chance to make medical cannabis a priority in Missouri this year!
Legislators from both parties have continued the conversation by approaching our lobbyist, Lynne Schlosser, and asking how they can help. Many patients need medical marijuana — especially parents like Brandy Johnson and Heidi Rayl, whose children suffer from nearly constant seizures that could be treated with cannabis. Legislators have not just come around on the issue; they saw the necessity first hand during the hearing and now want to take action to help patients.
This is an exceptional opportunity. Make no mistake, however, there are still many obstacles in our way, and we will not be successful without support from you!
The legislature is on their spring recess for the next week, but when the session resumes, a committee substitute will likely be introduced for H.B. 1659 that is a purely medical bill instead of a full legalization one. From the comments made by members of the committee during the hearing and after, we believe we may have a chance to pass a properly crafted bill out of committee. That is the first step in the process, and a big one.
Once passed by the committee, the bill would have the opportunity to go to the floor for debate by the full House of Representatives. I believe a medical marijuana bill could pass both houses on a straight up or down vote, but legislators are always concerned about voting on anything they think is remotely controversial in an election year
Now is the time to keep the public discussion going and to continue educating Missourians on this very important issue. We plan to accomplish this through town hall meetings, media, and connecting credible and sympathetic people who need medical cannabis with their legislators. We can do that, but we need your help!
That is why I am announcing Show-Me Cannabis’ Spring into Action Money Bomb this Thursday, March 20, the first day of spring. Our goal is to raise $10,000 to support legislative reforms this session. In addition to medical cannabis, we have a good chance to advance and possibly pass industrial hemp legislation and a reduction in penalties for first time possession of cannabis charges.
Still, even if all these reforms pass this session, we must continue the fight until cannabis is legal for all adults, so I hope that many of you will pledge continued support by making a recurring contribution. We will count those contributions at five times the rate of a one-time contribution, making a $20 recurring contribution equivalent to a one-time contribution of $100.
Join the money bomb event page on Facebook to follow our progress, and then, on Thursday, go here to make your contribution! (We will count any contributions made between now and Thursday, so if you want to give us a jump start, go ahead and contribute now!)
There are no guarantees for success, but this is a great opportunity to pass substantial statewide cannabis law reforms, and it’s the best we’ve ever had. Even if none of these bills pass this session, the discussion they generate in the legislature and the general public will put us in an even better position next session and build support for full legalization in 2016.
An amazing opportunity has been presented to us. Please seize the opportunity to move this issue forward!