Illinois: Medical Marijuana Advocates Cheer Governor's About-Face On Expanding Program


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates are applauding Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's about-face on expanding the state's medicinal cannabis pilot program, saying it will allow time to show the program is working and help more suffering patients.

Democratic Rep. Lou Lang on Friday announced an agreement with the Republican governor to extend the state's four-year medical marijuana pilot program to 2020, reports the Associated Press.

The program had been set to expire in 2018, but advocates said more time is needed because medicinal cannabis sales only began in November 2015.

The agreement, which still must be approved by the Illinois Legislature, adds post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and terminal illness to the qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Governor Rauner had previously balked at adding any conditions, despite recommendations from the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.

Chairwoman Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple of the board said she's "thrilled" that more patients will now benefit from the program.

Photo of Gov. Bruce Rauner: Chicago Now

Missouri: Medical Marijuana Petition Approved For Signatures


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander on Tuesday announced an initiative petition to legalize marijuana for medical purposes meets state standards and may be circulated for signatures.

The initiative would amend the state constitution to allow cannabis for medicinal purposes. The petition needs signatures "equal to eight percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor's election from six of the state's eight congressional districts, reports The Missouri Times.

This means roughly 200,000 valid signatures would be required to qualify for the November 2016 ballot. The signatures must be submitted to the secretary of state's office by 5 p.m. on May 8, 2016.

The official ballot title for initiative petition 2016-128 reads:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
• allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and create regulations and licensing procedures for marijuana and marijuana facilities;
• impose a 75 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana, and a 10 percent tax on the wholesale sale of marijuana to licensed facilities; and
• use funds from these taxes to establish and fund a state research institute to conduct research with the purpose of developing cures and treatments for cancer and other incurable diseases or medical conditions?

Missouri: Governor Signs CBD-Only Medical Marijuana Law


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon on Monday signed legislation into law that allows the use of cannabidiol oil extracted from marijuana to treat epileptic seizures that can't be effectively treated by pharmaceuticals.

The legislation was sponsored by state Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-St. Louis County), whose 9-year-old son has epilepsy, reports the Associated Press.

Patients and parents who want to use CBD oil will be required to register with the Missouri Department of Health, and also have a neurologist verify that the patient's epilepsy hasn't responded to at least three other treatments. (Why on earth would they only use the most effective and least toxic option when all the others have been exhausted?)

When asked what all the Missouri families who had moved to Colorado for legal access to CBD oil should do, Gov. Nixon replied, "Move back to Missouri."

When pressed on the question of whether such families would be prosecuted, Gov. Nixon said, "It would be better to talk to the attorney general's office about that. All I know is the measure I signed today will help us move forward to make sure Missouri can provide these therapies to families in need."

The Truth About CBD

Missouri: More Than 200 Attend Marijuana Legalization Debate


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than 200 people attended a debate on marijuana legalization in St. Louis suburb Richmond Heights Wednesday night.

The National Narcotics Officers Coalition's vice president, Sgt. Jason Grellner, squared off with Executive Director John Payne of pro-legalization group Show Me Cannabis at the St. Louis Ethical Society. Show Me Cannabis plans to poll voters to see if there's enough support to put marijuana legalization on the ballot next year.

Payne argued that treating marijuana like alcohol is the best policy. "Cannabis prohibition does not actually achieve goals that it has set out to achieve," he said, reports KMOX.

But Grellner claimed today's marijuana is different. "The THC levels back in the 1960s and 1970s were around 1-2 percent; now we're seeing the regular street kids with 11 percent spiking at 20 percent." The narcotics associated vice president claimed that legalization would lead to more people smoking pot.

KSDK reporter Anne Allred described the 90-minute debate as "respectful" and "professional." It included written questions from the audience.

"It's probably about half and half, both arguments on both sides, very good," said Cecil King of St. Louis City, when asked who won. "It's something both sides should get involved in and take a look at."

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