CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Marijuana is gaining momentum across the country. According to a new study from Pew Research Center, 62 percent of Americans say the use of marijuana should be legal.
In two weeks, Missouri voters will decide whether the state jumps on the medical marijuana bandwagon, but it’s not as simple as voting yes or no.
Luckily, there is some common ground between the three options (Amendment 2, Amendment 3, and Proposition C) on the November 6th ballot.
A “Yes” vote on any of the three ballot measures would legalize medical marijuana in Missouri making it available to people with a debilitating disease or qualifying medical condition.
The main differences between the three proposals includes who runs the programs, how much marijuana will be taxed and how that money will be used.
Amendment 2 would put a four percent sales tax on medical cannabis and is expected to generate $24 million annually for the state and local government.
John Payne is the campaign manager for ‘New Approach Missouri’ which is spearheading the measure. He says the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services would be in charge of regulating the program.
“Our proposal has a relatively low four percent tax on medical marijuana and it would go toward regulating the program itself and would support Missouri veterans with revenues that are left over after that,” Payne said.
Next up, Amendment 3 proposes a 15 percent sales tax on medical marijuana and a wholesale tax on flowers and leaves sold to licensed cultivation facilities. It would be overseen by physician and attorney Brad Bradshaw and a medical board he selects.
Bradshaw says half of expected 66 million dollars in annual tax revenue would fund a research center for cancer and other incurable diseases.
“It will create tens of thousands of new jobs, create over a billion dollars of economic impact in the state and it will go for income tax refunds eventually as the profits from the cancer research as more and more research is developed,” Bradshaw said.
The third and final ballot item is Proposition C. It’s a two percent sales tax on medical cannabis would generate about $10 million per year. The Division of Liquor Control would manage the program.
Travis Brown is with a group that support Prop C and says the tax revenue would fund veteran services, drug treatment and early childhood education.
“Prop C includes local licensing authority, local support for first responders, public safety fire and police,” Brown said.
Cape Girardeau voter Reo Peda said he has not made up his mind yet but is glad he can find out how taxpayer money would be used for each bill.
“The fact that I can actually see okay this is what this money is going to be dedicated to,” Peda said. “I think that is important that people know that because otherwise we are all sitting there with our hands up air saying, ‘Where is the money going?’”
It is possible that all three medical marijuana bills could get a yes majority, but only one can be enacted.
Missouri state law says a constitutional amendment takes precedence over a proposition, but if both amendments are approved by voters the one with the most votes will win.
Legal experts agree that passage of more than one measure will almost certainly result in a court fight.
You can vote in the midterm election on November 6 between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.