I am a big fan of Missouri marijuana reform efforts, which if you read this blog often, than you probably know that already. I have always felt that if Missouri can reform its marijuana laws, recreational and/or medical, that it would speed up reform nationwide. I am from Oregon, born and raised, and when Oregon legalized recreational marijuana most news reports had the 'duh, isn't this overdue?' vibe. Very few were shocked, and opponents in other states just chalked it up to 'well, it's Oregon, they are very liberal out there, especially in the Portland area, but our state is obviously way different.'
If/when Missouri legalizes medical marijuana, and eventually recreational marijuana, the same things that were said about Western states will not be said about Missouri. If Missouri can do it, virtually any other state in America could do it. That would be the message sent to every state legislature in America that operates in a state that is not legal yet. It would also send a message to marijuana opponents nationwide that the winds of change are stronger than ever, and they are heading in the direction of the end of prohibition nationwide.
That's why I support Missouri, and why I specifically support New Approach Missouri. New Approach Missouri has a very strong team, and from my understanding, also has strong funding. New Approach Missouri is trying to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri in 2016, and I am very confident that they will succeed. Polling sounds very favorable for their initiative. So I was surprised to read about a second effort that is starting in Missouri, led by a guy named Brad Bradshaw, who is also running for Lieutenant Governor of Missouri. Mr. Bradshaw is for medical marijuana, but against recreational legalization. Per KansasCity.Com:
Brad Bradshaw, a doctor and lawyer running for Missouri lieutenant governor, said Tuesday he is launching a campaign to legalize medical marijuana in the state.
Bradshaw's plan would tax the sale of medical marijuana heavily --- around 75 percent of the purchase price. The money would be dedicated to construction and operation of a medical research facility.
Bradshaw thinks the tax would bring in $40 million annually. The site for the facility would be chosen later by voters in specific counties, although a local spending match would not be required.
This announcement came out about a week ago, and I was waiting to post an article about it to see if New Approach Missouri would issue a statement about it, but that hasn't happened yet. I was also hoping to hear Mr. Bradshaw release an explanation as to why he is pursuing his own effort instead of just teaming up with New Approach Missouri, but I haven't heard anything about that either. I do know that while multiple efforts in one state isn't anything new in marijuana politics (and is actually very common), it is never a good thing.
Achieving reform is laborious and expensive, and pooling together everyone's resources and brainpower is usually what it takes to win. Will two efforts in Missouri doom both efforts in the long run? I sure as heck hope not for the sake of patients in Missouri, but I guess only time will tell. I will say that while I like Mr. Bradshaw's desire to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri, I don't like his opposition to recreational legalization.