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  • John Payne posted an article
    Missouri Initiative on Adult-use Marijuana Legalization Qualifies for November Ballot see more

    Initiative on Adult-use Marijuana Legalization Qualifies for November Ballot

    Initiative on Adult-use Marijuana Legalization Qualifies for November Ballot

    Secretary of State Certifies Legal Missouri 2022 Citizens’ Initiative Petition


    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. Missouri voters will soon have an opportunity to determine whether the Show-Me State becomes the 20th in the nation to regulate, tax and legalize marijuana for adult use.

    The Legal Missouri 2022 campaign on Tuesday announced that its citizens’ initiative petition — signed by more than 400,000 supporters — contained the necessary number of valid voter signatures to qualify for the Nov. 8 general election ballot, as determined by the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office.

    State officials certified 214,535 voter signatures across the state's eight congressional districts as valid, exceeding the required minimum of 184,720 needed to make the fall ballot.

    “Our statewide coalition of activists, business owners, medical marijuana patients and criminal justice reform advocates has worked tirelessly to reach this point, and deserves all the credit,” said John Payne, LegalMo22 campaign manager. "Our campaign volunteers collected 100,000 signatures, on top of paid signature collection. That outpouring of grassroots support among Missourians who want to legalize, tax and regulate cannabis made all the difference.

    “We look forward to engaging with voters across the state in the coming weeks and months. Missourians are more than ready to end the senseless and costly prohibition of marijuana.”

    The proposed constitutional amendment will be listed on the ballot as Amendment 3 and would allow Missourians ages 21 and older to possess, consume, purchase and cultivate marijuana.

    Additionally, the tens of thousands of Missourians previously charged with nonviolent marijuana offenses would have their records automatically expunged ─ a critical criminal justice reform that if passed, would make Missouri the first state where voters took such a step.

    Current Missouri law and most similar programs in other states require those seeking to vacate their convictions to first petition the courts, an expensive and time-consuming process.

    A 6 percent state sales tax on marijuana would generate estimated annual revenue of at least $40.8 million, with an optional local sales tax of up to 3 percent yielding additional local government revenues of at least $13.8 million, a state auditor’s analysis projects.

    The actual public benefit could potentially be much higher: sales on Missouri’s medical marijuana market now average $30 million a month – $1 million per day, or an annual pace of $360 million.

    Those public dollars, in turn, would cover implementation costs including expungement, with remaining funds allocated to veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment and the state’s chronically underfunded public defender system.

    The automatic expungement provision does not apply to violent offenders or those whose offenses involved distribution to a minor or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.

    Organizations endorsing LegalMo22 to date include the ACLU of Missouri, the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Empower Missouri, the St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County chapters of the NAACP, the Reale Justice Network and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and its six chapters across the state.

    In 2018, marijuana possession accounted for more than 50 percent of all drug arrests in Missouri. Of the nearly 21,000 marijuana arrests here that year, the vast majority were for simple possession of very small amounts.

    The disproportionate impact of those arrests are documented in a 2020 ACLU report which showed that Blacks are 2.6 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in Missouri – even though their national marijuana usage rates are comparable.

    In some Missouri counties, the disparity is as much as 10-to-1.

    The initiative’s automatic expungement provision will provide a clean slate to those whose past convictions become what the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law calls “the punishment that never ends.”

    “Despite having fully paid their debt to society, they find that the impact of their record lingers, blocking educational, employment, and housing opportunities,” the UMKC Law report concludes. The persistence of criminal records also takes a heavy toll on an individual’s health.”

    Law school researchers found that only 125 Missourians (among the estimated 1.3 million to 1.8 million with criminal records) were able to expunge their records in 2019. 

    The adult-use campaign comes nearly four years after Missouri voters overwhelmingly agreed to enshrine the use and sale of medical cannabis in the state Constitution.

    The state Department of Health and Senior Services has since issued more than 190,000 medical cannabis cards to Missouri patients and caregivers

    The Legal Missouri 2022 initiative also seeks to broaden participation in the legal cannabis industry by small business owners and among historically disadvantaged populations, including those with limited capital, residents of high-poverty communities, service-disabled veterans and those previously convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses, among other categories.

    A new category of cannabis licenses reserved for small businesses would, over time, add a minimum of 144 licensed facilities to the existing 393 licensed and certified cannabis businesses in the state: 18 in each of the state’s eight congressional districts, with at least six per district operating as dispensaries and the remainder designated as wholesale facilities.

    This is a new licensing category that allows operators to both cultivate the plant and manufacture cannabis products. The new license holders would be selected at random, by lottery.

    A copy of the Legal Missouri 2022 petition can be found here. For more information on the adult-use ballot initiative, including details on how to volunteer or donate to the campaign, visit www.legalmo22.com.

     
    Petition Highlights:

    • Allows Missourians 21 years and older to possess, purchase, consume and cultivate marijuana.
    • Levies state taxes of 6 percent on retail sales of marijuana. New revenue funds regulatory program and costs to process automatic expungements, with the surplus split equally among veterans’ services, drug addiction treatment, and Missouri’s underfunded public defender system.
    • Allows local governments to assess local sales taxes of up to 3 percent.
    • Automatically expunges nonviolent marijuana-related criminal records of hundreds of thousands of Missourians. Current Missouri law and most similar programs in other states require those seeking to vacate their convictions to first petition the courts, adding time and expenses.
    • Violent offenders and those whose offenses involved distribution to a minor or operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana would be ineligible for expungement.
    •  Allows local communities to opt out of adult use retail marijuana sales through a vote of the people.
    • Strengthen Missouri’s medical marijuana program. The petition extends the amount of time that medical marijuana patient and caregiver ID cards are valid from one to three years while keeping that cost low ($25). And the current $100 fee for Missourians who choose to grow medical marijuana at home will be reduced by half, with the expiration period also extended from one to three years.
    • Provides employment discrimination protection for medical patients, preventing them from being denied employment or being disciplined or fired for off-the-job medical marijuana use.
    • Seeks to broaden participation in the legal cannabis industry by small business owners and among historically disadvantaged populations, including those with limited capital, residents of high-poverty communities, service-disabled veterans and those previously convicted of non-violent marijuana offenses
    • Adds a minimum of 144 of these new small businesses to the existing 378 licensed and certified cannabis businesses in the state.
    • All new license holders will be selected at random, by lottery.
    • Adds nurse practitioners to the category of healthcare professionals who can issue medical cannabis recommendations to patients.


    John Payne - Legal Missouri 2022 Campaign Manager 

     

  • Andrew Mullins posted an article
    Missouri Medical Cannabis Sales Continue Skyward With New Record Setting July $21M+ see more

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Aug. 9, 2021
     
    Missouri medical cannabis sales set new record  
     
    Monthly sales top $20 million for the first time
     
    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. _ For the first time in Missouri, medical cannabis sales topped $20 million in July. The $21.03 million in sales last month brought the total amount purchased by medical cannabis patients in Missouri to $91.36 million.

    July also brought a rash of new marijuana facility openings. Currently the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has approved the opening of 135 dispensaries, 36 infused product manufacturers, and 26 marijuana cultivation facilities, with more coming online each week.

    As a result, recent news reports indicate that prices for Missouri patients are declining, while product selection and availability increase.
     
    The state Department of Health and Senior Services has licensed a total of 375 facilities to cultivate, manufacture, test, transport and dispense medical marijuana to Missouri patients.
     
    “Missouri is one of the only medical cannabis states where patients don’t have to drive long distances to access medicine,” said Andrew Mullins, executive director of MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association). “As a result of this tremendous patient access, our industry is seeing record sales, a diverse line of products, and Missouri marijuana companies are creating jobs and investing in their local communities.
     
    Last month Missouri also continues to see a record amount of medical marijuana patients, with more than 130,000 Missouri patients now having their DHSS issued patient card.  
     
    Under Article IX of the state Constitution, Missouri residents with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma and 20 other qualifying conditions can purchase or cultivate medical cannabis with a physician’s certification. The law also provides physicians with the discretion to certify patients who have other chronic and debilitating medical conditions that could benefit from medical marijuana, and legally protects their right to have such conversations.
     
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    MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association) is an association of business owners, health care providers, professionals, patients and residents responsible for helping to implement a successful, safe, compliant medical marijuana program in Missouri.
     
    The membership-based association is directed by a board of diverse professionals experienced in medical marijuana, healthcare, law, pharmaceutical, science, agriculture, law enforcement, security, commercial real estate, finance, public affairs and regulatory sectors.
     
    To learn more about MoCannTrade please visit www.mocanntrade.org

  • Article
    Association says Amendment 2 puts Missourians first see more

     

    Association says Amendment 2 puts Missourians first

     

    (St. Louis, Missouri October 23, 2018) — Today, MoCannTrade (The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association) endorsed New Approach Missouri and Yes on 2. Amendment 2 puts healthcare decisions back in the hands of patients and lets voters decide if Missouri should become the 31st state to allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis to patients with debilitating illnesses.

    “Amendment 2 ensures Missouri residents can work with their physician to decide if medical cannabis could be helpful to them. The New Approach initiative has clear rules which put the needs of Missourians first,” said Andrew Mullins, Executive Director of MoCannTrade.

    “MoCannTrade supports all efforts to improve patient access to medical cannabis for Missourians. With this in mind, MoCannTrade is endorsing the efforts of New Approach Missouri and its ‘Medical Marijuana and Veteran Healthcare Services Initiative” says MoCannTrade board co-chair John Curtis.

    With a board of directors comprised of healthcare, regulatory and business professionals, MoCannTrade is one of the most trusted advocate voices on medical cannabis in the state. After reviewing the three initiatives Missouri voters will be faced with November 6th, the trade association endorsed Amendment 2 for being the safest and most compassionate way forward for Missouri patients and doctors who want to pursue medical cannabis as a treatment option for serious illnesses.

    Dr. Mimi Vo, M.D., chair of MoCannTrade’s Healthcare Education & Training Committee and owner of an internal medicine practice in St. Louis, spoke on the endorsement, “My integrative and evidence-based approach to practicing medicine along with my training and knowledge of medical cannabis helps me to understand alternative treatments for my patients. I consider the health, wellness and safety of my patients and community a top priority and I endeavor to bring more education and awareness of medical cannabis to the medical community. I support Amendment 2 because it provides safe access and the ability for me and my physician peers to decide what’s best for our patients.”

    Dr. David Yablonsky, D.O., a board-certified internist and MoCannTrade board member who participates in Illinois’ medical cannabis program added, “As a doctor, I have been participating in Illinois’ medical cannabis program since its inception and have worked with many patients to get them the care they need. I am excited to be part of MoCannTrade’s Healthcare committee working to inform and educate practitioners on the anecdotal and evidential success of medical cannabis, especially as an alternative to opioids. We know there is a lack of information and fear amongst parts of the medical community. We are actively working to better inform practitioners and support Amendment 2 as it provides safe access to medical cannabis and lets state licensed physicians decide what’s best for Missouri patients.”

    Dr. Patricia Hurford, M.D., M.S., a board-certified rehabilitation and pain management specialist in Missouri added “As a patient-first proposal, Amendment 2 spells out best practices ensuring patients suffering from debilitating conditions can work with physicians they trust to get safe and compassionate access to medical cannabis. As a pain specialist who knows opioid medications can have serious health consequences, Amendment 2 gives Missourians a real option in reducing opioid consumption.”

     

    New Approach Missouri is a coalition of medical professionals, patients and advocates working to pass Amendment 2, which would legalize medical marijuana in Missouri for patients with serious illness or medical conditions. To learn more about New Approach Missouri or to get involved, Missourians can visit www.newapproachmissouri.com.

    MoCannTrade is an association of business owners, professionals, practitioners & patients proactively working together to build a successful, safe, compliant medical cannabis industry. By joining our collective knowledge and experience with the best practices and expertise of other cannabis-legal states, we’ll safeguard stakeholders and streamline industry participation. To learn more about membership, visit www.mocanntrade.org

    Photo credit: Jennifer Silverberg Photography

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    For more information:

     

    MoCannTrade-Amendment 2-Yes On 2-Press Release

  • Article
    Cannabusiness & Cultivation: Entering Missouri’s MMJ Industry see more

    Mitch Meyers (CEO) and John Curtis (Director of Cultivation) of Beleaf will discuss their experience operating one of two current licensed medical cannabis facilities in Missouri as well as businesses in other cannabis-legal states. Beleaf is a charter member of MoCannTrade (Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association) and John is co-chair of MoCannTrade’s Board of Directors. MoCannTrade is an association of business owners, professionals, practitioners and patients proactively working together to build a successful, safe, compliant medical cannabis industry in Missouri. In addition to their business experience, they’ll detail opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to participate in Missouri’s broadly expanded medical cannabis industry whether as license applicant (cultivation, processing, dispensing, testing or transport) or service provider (CPA, Legal, IT, Security, Industry Consulting, Design/Build, Electrical/Lighting).

    Presented Tuesday Nov 20th, 2018
    Danforth Plant Sciences – 39 North | Langenberg Theatre | Venture Cafe

    This was a sold out, standing room only presentation at Danforth. We’ve included the slides and live video of the presentation here for your reference.

    Venture Café Night: 39N
    975 N Warson Rd
    St. Louis, MO 63132
    USA

  • Article
    Post originally published via MoCannTrade member and attorney Paul Anderson’s blog: see more

    On Wednesday, the Missouri Department of Health made two significant announcements that signal the implementation of medical marijuana is moving full speed ahead.

    Representative Lyndall Fraker was appointed to serve as the Director of Medical Marijuana, and Amy Moore will act as the Deputy Director/Counsel. Fraker is a proponent of medical marijuana and appears poised to fulfill his duties as Director to ensure Amendment 2 is carried out to its fullest. “Administering this new program needs to be done in the right way for Missouri,” Fraker said in the DHSS press release. “I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Missouri in my new capacity. Fraker, a Republican from Marshfield, is subject to term limits, after serving eight years as a State Representative for District 137. DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams appeared equally enthused to add Fraker and Moore to the team.

    “We are thankful for members of our DHSS team for their efforts in meeting the January 5 requirement to collect nonrefundable fees for facilities as specified in Constitutional Amendment 2,” said DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams in the press release. “We welcome Lyndall and Amy and their leadership as we dutifully execute the implementation of Amendment 2.”

    In addition to appointing Fraker and Moore to lead the Medical Marijuana division, the DHSS announced its first major development in the application process to obtain a license to operate a medical marijuana cultivation facility, dispensary or infused products manufacturing facility.

    The DHSS published the Pre-Filed Application Fee Form and announced that it will start accepting fees on January 5, 2019. Pursuant to Amendment 2, this allows applicants to pay their application fees in advance.

    As discussed here, the application fee is nonrefundable and varies depending on which license an applicant is applying for:

    • $10,000 for medical marijuana cultivation facility,
    • $6,000 for dispensary,
    • $6,000 for infused products manufacturing facility.

    From DHSS:

    • Application fees are non-refundable.
    • The Pre-Filed Application Fee Form is not the facility application form.
    • Facility application forms will be made available at a later date.
    • Early submission of application fees does not guarantee a license or provide any competitive advantage in the application process.

    Fees may be paid by personal or certified check, cashier’s check, or money order and it must be mailed along with the completed application form to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, FEE Receipt Unit, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0570. The fee and application may also be personally delivered during business hours to the DHSS at 920 Wildwood Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65109.

    Paying the fee in advance will not give you a competitive advantage in the application process since the awarding process will be based entirely on merit. If anything, paying in advance may give you the peace of mind that your nonrefundable fee has been paid, received and cleared. It may also give you a psychological boost knowing that you now have real skin in the game.

    With these two developments, occurring less than 14 days after Amendment 2 became effective, it certainly appears that the DHSS is fully committed to making medical marijuana a reality in Missouri.