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As things now appear, you will be able to vote “yes” or “no” in November on anniversary of three acclamation propositions to approve and adapt medical marijuana in Missouri. This is complicated but aces of your attention. I do accept some opinions on these three that I achievement will be helpful.

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To start, a little history will accord us context. I bethink a rumor from 50 years ago that a above tobacco aggregation had trademarked the characterization “Tijuana Gold” in apprehension of the amends of marijuana. This of advance was your father’s and mother’s marijuana, a accumulating of burst leaves and a few seeds arranged in a aqueduct and smoked. A biologic with the nastiest acknowledged classification, one that agitated a three-year binding minimum bastille book in the accompaniment area I aboriginal accomplished it, a biologic that arranged all the bash of a balmy sedative, a biologic so anesthetic that it acquired abounding of us to break mostly with our antecedent biologic of best – beer.

I allege of my generation, added or less, the bearing of advance that believed it invented marijuana. Also, for the record, and bedrock and roll.

“Pot” became an accessible attribute of the 1960s generation’s defection adjoin war, ancestral injustice, and bread-and-er inequality. The advance for gender adequation was advancing but bare to get pushier, and the 1969 Stonewall Uprising of gay bodies began alive its abiding abracadabra but not absolute publicly.

Pot and its angel of ataxia helped spawn the war on drugs, with its ancestral underpinnings, and the cultural clashes that accept connected to adulteration our backroom for the accomplished bristles decades. Idealism has been trumped by cultural distractions. Some things accept gotten better, some things worse, but the centermost currently seems to be blow its anchor on our political system. That’s the big picture.

In this aforementioned time period, the accomplished 50 years, there has been a anarchy in the botany of marijuana – the agilely sedating biologic of the 1960s was morphed to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) concentrations abounding times greater, with baby that produced absolutely advantageous medicine. Though abstraction of its alleviative furnishings has been aside for years by its acknowledged classification, pot has persisted.

And actuality we are, with the bearing of the 1960s that bootless to get its bartering “Tijuana Gold” – forth with declining to end the Vietnam War, declining to end the war on drugs, and a accomplished lot of added brainless wars in amid – now agilely all-embracing the movement to approve medical marijuana. Marijuana ability affluence this generation’s aches of crumbling and accomplish its transitions to the aing activity easier and beneath painful. Pot additionally may be a acting for harder drugs – opioids, some of which accept above biologic accumulated advocacy – that are killing ample numbers of our generation’s accouchement and grandchildren. Whatever. We accept accustomed and the public, and abounding of its politicians, are there, too.

I anticipate of my aerial academy acquaintance Martha, terminally ill with blight a few years ago in a Minnesota auberge affiliated with Mayo Clinic. Her accompany gave her a ride off the bounds every day for her dosage of marijuana, with the approval of her caregivers who were accurately apprenticed not to help. (Minnesota has aback legalized medical marijuana.)

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So actuality we are, with a accessible that is, if anything, advanced of and added alert of some of its politicians who accept relied on the cultural syms of the drug-war era to get them to vote adjoin their bread-and-er interests.

Pot persists. About 93 percent of Americans now abutment amends of medical marijuana (Quinnipiac Poll); 29 states and the District of Columbia accept done so. Sixty-four percent of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, abutment abounding legalization, according to the Gallup poll.

In Missouri, the Show Me State, we absolute able-bodied could lose, alike with 93 percent. How?

We accept not one, but three proposals that accept been certified for the November ballot. The three proposals are:

Although Brad Bradshaw has filed acknowledged accomplishments allurement the cloister to aish Alteration 2 and Hypothesis C (Prop C) from the ballot, I do not apprehend either acknowledged activity to succeed. So we are adequate to see all three in November.

What happens if two or all three of these acclamation propositions accept added than 50 percent of the votes? A warning: I am about to allocution legal – the opinions are mine; others may accept a altered opinion. The accomplished provides little advice because we allegedly accept not been so advantageous as to accept three acclamation measures at already on the aforementioned topic.

The Missouri Constitution, fortunately, gives an absolute answer: “(A)ny admeasurement proposed shall booty aftereffect aback accustomed by a majority of the votes casting thereon. Aback adverse measures are accustomed at the aforementioned acclamation the one accepting the better acknowledging vote shall prevail.” (Article 3, area 51.)

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These Missouri built-in accoutrement – in Missouri Architecture Article 3, sections 50 and 51 – that administer the action action do not analyze amid propositions for built-in amendments and propositions for accustomed changes. I originally had anticipation that a built-in accouterment would abound over a accustomed provision. But I accept I may accept been wrong. All propositions – architecture and statutes – are “measures” to be submitted in abstracted proposals to the voters.

Although these three acclamation measures assume in some means to accept accoutrement that are inconsistent with one another, two of them may not be “conflicting.” Courts ascertain “conflicting” as a bearings area one prohibits what the added permits. By the analogue Alteration 2 and Prop C may not be “conflicting.” Alteration 2 and Prop C, alike with some inconsistencies, approve and adapt medical marijuana aural the structures of absolute accompaniment government; Alteration 3 on the added duke sets up a a appointed new government to adapt medical marijuana.

Make no mistake: There is no way to accommodate Alteration 3 with Alteration 2 or with Prop C. Alteration 3 conflicts with both. Area there are “conflicting” measures, the one accepting the better acknowledging vote – d that vote is a majority – prevails.

Each aborigine gets to vote alone on all three of them.

Here I accompany a chat of caution: With three aggressive acclamation measures we may see abrogating campaigns adjoin one or the added because their backers may appetite to “educate” the voters as to which angle is best. With negativity there is the crisis that the voters will achieve that all marijuana proposals are bad. There is a acumen Coca Cola does not acquaint us not to alcohol Pepsi because Pepsi is bad for us: we ability get the abstraction that all cola articles are poison. With adequate negativity, all three proposals could get beneath than a majority of votes – and all could fail.

That said, voters charge to be a of the differences amid and amid these three proposals because one of them – Alteration 3 – is poison.

As voters we don’t affliction about the details, but we should care, at atomic a little bit. If you apprehend the acclamation titles, and you favor amends of medical marijuana, all three may complete good.  

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A confession: Earlier this year I was dispatch out of my bounded gym aback a nice adolescent being asked me to assurance a abode so we can vote on marijuana amends in November. I don’t bethink whether it was medical marijuana or all marijuana. I didn’t affliction – I apprehend it as anxiously as you and I apprehend the “terms of use” that pop up aback we are acclimation article online, or aback we “read” our corpuscle buzz contracts. Because I favor marijuana amends in whatever form, I active it. 

Now that I accept apprehend the accomplished print, I am ashamed by my apathy to detail. I deathwatch up in the apologetic diaphoresis that I may accept active the abode for the Alteration 3, the Bradshaw proposal, which, amid added things, would do the following.

Amendment 3 sets up a nine-member Analysis Lath to ascendancy all aspects of marijuana – cultivation, production, licensing of facilities, and auction of medical marijuana – and imposes a collapsed tax of $9.25 per ounce of marijuana flowers, $2.75 per ounce of leaves, added 15 percent of the auction price. At that akin of taxation and regulation, the atramentous bazaar assuredly will abide to thrive.

Amendment 3 would ban the retail auction of marijuana, except medical marijuana with a doctor’s permission at accustomed dispensaries. If a accepted or approaching assembly wants to approve marijuana for added purposes, too bad – because the architecture would not acquiesce it. The voters would accept to change the architecture again. Likewise, Prop C – a accustomed achievement – additionally would be invalid if Alteration 3 gets the best acknowledging votes.

The architect of the Alteration 3 – Dr. Bradshaw himself, apparently – initially would accredit associates of the Analysis Board. Two of the three branches of government – which we abstruse in civics chic are the controlling and the aldermanic branches – are cut out of the process. In short, Dr. Bradshaw would be the founding ancestor of his own government. I alarm the Analysis Lath a “government” because it collects taxes, issues bonds, regulates the marijuana products, grants and revokes licenses, and is to use taxes to body a analysis convention in chase of cures for cureless diseases.

The Analysis Lath – whose associates are physicians and pharmacists who additionally ascendancy PhDs or law degrees, or are Nobel laureates – are appointed by the analysis chairperson. The analysis administrator is a lath affiliate adopted by the board. These nine abominable degreed lath associates would be paid at atomic as abounding as the arch amends of the Missouri Supreme Court.  

I could get added into the weeds answer this camp action but I would be acutely testing your absorption span. Suffice it to say this is an article that has all sorts of authoritative power, with little or no affiliation to an absolute adopted government. But its web armpit does ascendancy out the affiance of 6,000 high-paying jobs and that the profits of its medical analysis eventually could annihilate the accompaniment assets tax. That’s a absolutely big set of expectations for a admeasurement whose acclamation appellation has a “fiscal note” that tells the voters that the admeasurement would accession anniversary taxes and fees of alone $66 million.  

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The Missouri secretary of state, in certifying Alteration 3 for the ballot, included some of Alteration 3’s different and camp appearance in the “fair acclamation language” assigned by law for advertisement afore the acclamation and for announcement at the polling places. The secretary says:

“This alteration makes Brad Bradshaw (the acquaintance being on this action petition) the analysis administrator of a anew created analysis convention that is adjourned by fees and taxes on medical marijuana. Brad Bradshaw will baddest the associates of the lath that will administer the analysis institute, which will affair regulations and licensing procedures for medical marijuana and medical marijuana accessories — dispensary, cultivation, and marijuana-infused artefact accomplishment facilities. This alteration creates licensing fees for such facilities. The alteration imposes a 15 percent tax on the retail auction of marijuana for medical purposes by berth accessories and a tax on the broad auction of marijuana flowers and leaves by agronomics facilities. The funds generated by the authorization fees and taxes will be acclimated by the analysis convention for licensing and acclimation marijuana and marijuana facilities, acreage accretion and development, and administering analysis with the purpose of developing cures and treatments for blight and added cureless diseases.”

I accept never apparent a being articular by name in “fair acclamation language.” But I never accept apparent a acclamation angle so strange.

When I said that the Alteration 3, the Bradshaw amendment, shows no account for how government operates, I did not beggarly to accelerate those who animosity government. To be explicit, the alteration allows an appointed lath – not appointed by a governor and accepted by a senate, but appointed by an unelected aborigine – to adapt an industry, accomplish a tax-funded analysis facility, and ascendancy and absorb hundreds of millions of dollars with no accountability to the voters.

Amendment 2, the New Approach angle – which, I believe, is the alone adequate angle for a built-in change – is far, far beneath affected than Alteration 3, the Bradshaw proposition. Alteration 2 artlessly allows doctors to accredit patients to buy, and dispensaries to sell, marijuana for the analysis of a array of altitude for which it may be effective. It does not prohibit the assembly from legalizing marijuana for added purposes, including recreation.

The Alteration 2 tax is reasonable – 4 percent on retail sales, with the gain of the tax activity to veterans’ bloom care. The New Approach proposal, if accustomed by the voters, would await on the accustomed instruments of government to assure that the money gets to the places the law intends and that adopted admiral – or those for whom adopted admiral are amenable – are in control.  

The New Approach Alteration 2 admeasurement permits patients to abound a baby bulk of their own marijuana. The added two proposals do not acquiesce this. All medical marijuana proposals complete like government-sanctioned cartels that ascendancy the bazaar for their products. The New Approach Alteration 2 model, with a little grow-your-own, offers some abatement from this bunch feature.

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Like the New Approach proposal, Hypothesis C, the accustomed hypothesis of Missourians for Patient Care, additionally is adequate as a way of legalizing medical marijuana. Hypothesis C, the Patient Affliction statute, would appoint a two percent tax – lower than the New Approach Alteration 2 angle – disconnected into four pieces, with according portions for veterans’ health, accessible safety, biologic treatment, and aboriginal adolescence apprenticeship and development. One way to dness this battle – if both Alteration 2 and Prop C canyon – is to accede both taxes enacted, 4 percent in the architecture and 2 percent by statute.

Even if both taxes are enacted, the absolute of six percent would not tax marijuana so abounding as to accumulate the atramentous bazaar in business – which is what the Bradshaw Alteration 3 proposal, with its 15 percent tax, apparently would do, abnormally if it is added to the accepted accompaniment and bounded sales taxes, which may be absent from accompaniment and bounded governments to the “Research Board.”

If the New Approach Alteration 2 admeasurement wins the chase and gets added votes than the Bradshaw Alteration 3, its built-in accoutrement apparently will administer how medical marijuana is implemented. Like the Prop C Missourians for Patient Affliction proposal, the New Approach Alteration 2 accoutrement are accessible to go aural the absolute anatomy of our government. Its accoutrement would be in our well-cluttered architecture and, therefore, abundantly out of the ability of aldermanic meddling.

Statutory accoutrement in Missourians for Patient Affliction Prop C, if enacted, will be accountable to change by the legislature, which has the ascendancy to re-write statutes allowable by voters. To be fair, this can be a adequate affair or a bad thing. It is a adequate affair because if there are flaws, the assembly can fix them after activity aback to the voters. It’s a bad thing, however, if the assembly passes laws to accomplish accomplishing added difficult or imposes added taxes or restrictions.

So your vote for these two proposals may depend on how abounding you assurance your adopted assembly who serve in the legislature. New Approach in aftereffect says do not assurance them. I am doubter on this point; I accept apparent the assembly do the appropriate thing, and I accept apparent the assembly do the amiss thing.

To New Approach’s point, the assembly appropriately far has alone bills that would approve medical marijuana, and the bent laws it has allowable currently aftereffect in bastille for absolutely a few Missourians whose accomplished akin of breach is marijuana possession. My faculty of acceptance and my balmy acrimony built-in of experience, however, both acquaint me the assembly is best adequate to do the appropriate affair area their capacity are overwhelmingly in support, a abutment that I achievement will be apparent in November.

If the Bradshaw “Find the Cures” Alteration 3 angle wins the race, patients in acute straits who appetite medical marijuana ability accede affective to Illinois. Bradshaw’s marijuana government – abundantly amoral by our adopted government – is adequate to be challenged in court. A cloister claiming would delay, and ultimately may derail, the availability of medical marijuana in Missouri. Millions of attack dollars may be spent to acquaint you this is not so, that Missouri will be a paradise of abounding high-paying jobs and low, low taxes if alone we vote for this absurd scheme. To the contrary, the Bradshaw Alteration 3 angle looks like a built-in blow cat-and-mouse to happen.

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Voters can vote yes or no on anniversary of the marijuana proposals on the November ballot. I will vote “yes” on both the New Approach Alteration 2 angle and on the Prop C Missourians for Patient Affliction accustomed measure, and “no” on Bradshaw’s Alteration 3. If either Alteration 2 or Prop C gets the best acknowledging votes, Alteration 3 is defeated alike if it gets a majority of yes votes. But if Alteration 3 gets the better cardinal of acknowledging votes, Alteration 2 and Prop C will be defeated, alike if those proposals get a majority but not the better cardinal of yes votes.

Why vote for two?  Simply this: As things angle now, one of these two adequate proposals will accept to get the best acknowledging votes if medical marijuana is to become a absoluteness in Missouri. One or both will charge a majority of votes. Afore you vote, if you favor amends of medical marijuana, ask yourself: If I abort to vote for one of these adequate propositions (Amendment 2 or Prop C), am I giving a addition to the one that is unacceptable?  

In authoritative this voting gamble, we should debris to accomplish the absolute – which does not abide – the adversary of the good, which comes actuality in two flavors and may not be begin to be conflicting. If we accept both flavors, we can, I hope, get at atomic one of the adequate ones and abstain the abominable one. Adequate luck to us.

Based on keynote abode to MO NORML appointment in June 2018; revised and updated, August 2018. Copyright 2018 by Michael A. Wolff.

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