“I don’t even know what to say, it still shocks me sometimes that all of this has happened and so quickly its rolled out. I think my thoughts and feelings are still catching up.”
Chris Chesley is a big part of why Missourians are currently growing medical marijuana and why thousands more will be purchasing from dispensaries beginning next year.
Chesley is the Deputy Director at Greater St. Louis NORML and was an active participant in campaigns up to and through the 2018 push for Amendment 2 leading to Missouri legalizing the use of medical marijuana.
One year ago, Missourians flocked to the polls and overwhelmingly chose to make Missouri the newest state to legalize medical marijuana.
Voters were tasked to choose between three different proposals, each touted as the key to legal medical marijuana.
Each of the measures would legalize possession, usage, purchase, and sales of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Each program had its own unique structure and would allow the state to license and regulate dispensaries.
But each choice carried its own wildly different state program and tax structure :
- Amendment 2 would impose a 4 percent tax on marijuana sales, and the funds would be used mainly to pay for services for military veterans.
- Amendment 3, a.k.a. “The Brad Bradshaw Amendment,” would impose a 15 percent tax on marijuana sales, held no endorsements, and essentially created a new and entirely separate branch of government with Bradshaw at the helm. The measure would have given a governing board selected by Bradshaw bonding authority to build a new campus that would be anywhere from one square mile in size to 36 square miles in size.
- Proposition C would have imposed a 2 percent tax on marijuana sales, and the revenue would be set for veterans’ services, drug treatment, early childhood education, and public safety, but the proposition was a statutory proposal, not constitutional, and would have been open to legislative change.
Additionally, and most notably at this stage – Amendment 2 allows Missouri medical marijuana patients the ability to grow at home, the other two measures did not. With dispensaries projected to be a minimum of 2-3 more months away, and a realistic estimate says 6-8 months or more away, home cultivation and the caregiver system has become vitally important to many Missourians.
“The right for patients to have access to medicine that is a natural alternative means the world to me,” says Katie Thomas. “The ability to grow your own medicine or go out and get your medicine without fear and penalties eases the mind and spirit of people.” Thomas herself has lived in a limbo of sorts for the past few years. Thomas co-founded Blue Key CBD in 2017, is a member of Missouri Hemp Trade Association, and has been a vocal supporter and educator for cannabis and its medicinal properties.