Medical Cannabis Bill Heard in House Committee
On Monday, the House Emerging Issues Committee heard testimony on H.B. 800, which would legalize medical cannabis and create a system for licensing cultivators and dispensaries across the state.
Many patients and patients advocates traveled to Jefferson City to testify about how legal medical cannabis could benefit them. The media focused primarily on celebrity witness Montel Williams, who offered a compelling story of how cannabis has helped him deal with the pain of multiple sclerosis.
However, I think for most of the people in the room that night, the most emotional testimony was delivered by former Missouri state commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Tom Mundell, which you can watch here starting around 53 minutes in.
Tom described how he has witnessed paraplegic and quadriplegic veterans go from wanting to end their lives to being able to accept their conditions and feel happiness again because of medical cannabis. Then, after his initial testimony, Rep. Ron Hicks asked Tom about using cannabis to treat PTSD, and Tom — as well as some of the legislators and others in the room — choked up as he explained how cannabis helped him feel emotions again after spending many years in combat zones.
Many witnesses — myself included — expressed reservations about the high barriers to entry for the medical cannabis market and the lack of a home growing provision in this bill. I was, however, encouraged that several of the representatives also hit on these points, and it suggests that these shortcomings may be addressed as the bill moves through the committee process.
Still, despite these flaws, this represents tremendous progress. A comprehensive medical cannabis law is now treated as a reasonable proposal in the Missouri legislature, which was certainly not the case at the beginning of last year’s session.
And none of that progress is possible without support from people like you. Help us continue to fight for the right for doctors and patients to choose the option of medical cannabis without government interference by making a $25 contribution now! Every day we move closer to winning this battle, but that cannot happen without your help.
This article appeared in the February 26, 2015, edition of the Show-Me Cannabis email newsletter.