Missouri's House of Representatives voted to pass a measure that would legalize cannabis oils containing low (0.3%) THC content, but high (≥5%) CBD for the treatment of epilepsy. This is by far the most strict medical marijuana law yet attempted, but a popular stating point for the more conservative states. It still has to pass the senate before being sent to the Governor's desk, but this seems likely to go through quickly.
Politicians seem to be reacting to the media hype surrounding families that are fleeing their prohibitionist states in favor of a more hospitable climate in Colorado. These aren't recreational hippies going on a walkabout. We're talking about families with children who suffer from seizure-related disabilities that have found no relief like in marijuana.
Since nothing motivates politicians like over-hyped, emotionally-gutwrenching, feel-good, for-the-children media filler pieces, HB2238 was streamlined through the House. The sense of emergency is even written right into the bill.
Section B. Because immediate action is necessary to provide individuals suffering from epilepsy with access to medical treatment, section A [the entire bill is section A] of this act is deemed necessary for the immediate preservation of the public health, welfare, peace, and safety, and is hereby declared to be an emergency act within the meaning of the constitution, and section A of this act shall be in full force and effect upon its passage and approval.
But, this is only the beginning. This bill also sets the footing for industrial hemp research. The Department of Agriculture is in charge of licensing cannabis oil cultivators, and the waste created in the process is to be given to the department or an educational facility for research.
All hemp waste from the production of hemp extract shall either be destroyed, recycled by the licensee at the hemp cultivation and production facility, or donated to the department or an institution of higher education for research purposes, and shall not be used for commercial purposes.
We take baby steps in this swing state and have been clinging closer to the Bible belt lately politically. Try not to deride this bill too much, regardless of how short-sighted and limited in scope it may be. It's a start.
And soon, the floodgates will open...
Don't bogart that medicine
It's all fine and dandy that people who suffer from epilepsy will soon be able to lead happier, more fulfilling lives, but it won't take long before others start wondering why they can't benefit, as well. CBD does help people control their seizures quite a bit, but CBD-only strains of cannabis don't do it for everybody.
There will be people with other illnesses wanting the CBD-only medicine that will lobby the state for inclusion. There will also be people who need their medicine to contain high THC content, or a balance between the two. This bill is opening the door to the medical marijuana debate in Missouri.
This one is a dream, but one many share.
The language of the bill allows for research into hemp. We just so happen to have a vacant automobile assembly plant. How about a start-up to grow jobs in Missouri and put us on the road to energy independence?
Is that too much to ask?
(a) All non-seed parts and varieties of the cannabis sativa plant, whether growing or not, that contain a crop wide average tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration that does not exceed the lesser of:
a. Three-tenths of one percent on a dry weight basis; or
b. The percent based on a dry weight basis determined by the federal Controlled Substances Act;
(b) Any cannabis sativa seed that is:
a. Part of a growing crop;
b. Retained by a grower for future planting; or
c. For processing into or use as agricultural hemp seed.
This term shall not include industrial hemp commodities or products.
Apparently it is. That sure makes it sound like seeds are being excluded from research, and that's where the oil comes from.
Eventually leading to full legalization
This bill, which still has to pass the state senate and be signed by the governor, is the first step in a long process of undoing misinformation in the Show Me State. We have a long history of distrust, thus the "show me" motto, but we are shown more and more everyday.
It won't be all that long before we can join the ranks of Colorado and Washington.
Right now, let's take what we can get.