Patients with long-term illnesses could have access to smokeless forms of medical marijuana, under a measure approved in the Missouri House Tuesday.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jim Neely, R-Cameron, said the measure is intended to ease the pain of people who are about to die. But, it also covers patients suffering from debilitating conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder and epilepsy.
The measure was approved on a 112-44 vote. It now heads to the Senate for further debate. Neely said he was “optimistic” the proposal could make it through the Senate in the final three weeks of the legislative session.
“This is the right thing to do for Missouri,” said Neely, who is a physician.
Critics argue that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, despite the legalization of marijuana in states like Oregon, Colorado and California.
Under the proposal, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services would be authorized to issue medical cannabis registration cards to residents 18 and older who can provide a signed statement from a doctor that they meet the bill’s criteria.
The House debated a similar proposal in 2016, but representatives ultimately voted it down. Beyond the proposed legislation, there have been multiple ballot initiatives trying to make medical pot legal in recent years.
The legislation is House Bill 1554.