Tomorrow is election day and it is anticipated that there will be a near-record turnout for a mid-term election. But candidate names are not the only items to be found on the ballot this year – from Michigan’s and North Dakota’s adult-use marijuana ballot measures to Utah’s and Missouri’s 3-distinct medical marijuana ballot measures to a state-wide decriminalization measure in Ohio to local ballot measures in Dayton, Ohio and 16 counties in Wisconsin, marijuana is once again an important issue this election season. What follows is an overview of the medical marijuana initiatives found on the Utah and Missouri ballots:
Utah – Proposition 2
Current marijuana law allows for only the state to grow, process, and sell marijuana to either qualified research institutions or a terminally ill Utah resident with less than 6 months to live.
Prop 2 seeks to add to Utah’s existing cannabis-related law by (i) authorizing the creation of private companies to grow, process, dispense, and test medical marijuana and (ii) creates a process for patients to be approved to use medical marijuana for a defined list of illnesses. Like many other medical marijuana jurisdictions, Prop 2 would prohibit smoking medical marijuana, would also ban public use except in cases of emergency. Prop 2 would also permit an individual to grow up to 6 medical marijuana plants if, after January 1, 2021, there is no licensed dispensary within 100 miles of that individual’s residence.
More information on Prop 2 can be found here: https://elections.utah.gov/Media/Default/2018%20Election/Issues%20on%20the%20Ballot/Proposition%202%20-%20Ballot%20Title%20and%20Impartial%20Analysis.pdf
Missouri – Amendment 2, Amendment 3, and Proposition C
In Missouri, voters will be asked to vote on 3 different medical marijuana initiatives. Amendments 2 and 3 are measures, that if passed, would amend the state’s constitution, whereas Proposition C would amend existing state law only. By virtue of being constitutional amendments, either Amendment 2 or 3 would supersede Proposition C, if one or more ballot measures pass. In the event that both Amendment 2 and 3 pass, the measure that receives the most “yes” votes would go into effect.
Amendment 2 would create a regulatory scheme similar to those found in other medical marijuana jurisdictions by delegating the oversight of the state’s medical marijuana program to an existing state agency – in the case of Amendment 2, that agency would be the Department of Health and Senior Services (“DOHS”). Amendment 2 would enable a physician to recommend medical marijuana that is grown, processed, and dispensed by private companies that have been awarded permits to grow, process, and dispense medical marijuana through a competitive vetting process by DOHS. Retail sales of medical marijuana would be taxed at 4 percent and all tax revenues would go to the states Department of Health and Senior Services to pay for the medical marijuana program. Any remaining tax revenue would go to the Missouri Veterans Commission.
More information on Amendment 2 can be found here:
Unlike Amendment 2, Amendment 3 would not follow the model other jurisdictions have used – instead, Amendment 3 proposes to create the “Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute” or “Research Board” for short. The Research Board, independent of any existing state agency, would be charged with (i) implementing and overseeing the administration of the state’s medical marijuana program, including the issuance of licenses for growers, processors, and dispensaries and (ii) “endeavor to find cures for presently incurable diseases.” Additionally, if Amendment 3 passes, a physician would be permitted to recommend medical marijuana to patients for a defined list of qualifying medical conditions, and patients would obtain medical marijuana treatments from facilities licensed by the Research Board. Also, Amendment 3 would impose a tax on the retail sales of medical marijuana at a rate of 15% and the revenues generated through this tax would establish and fund the Research Board’s research mandate under Amendment 3.
More information on Amendment 2 can be found here:
Prop C would amend existing state law and create the Missouri Patient Care Act (“Act”) which would allow physicians to certify that a patient has a qualifying medical condition and recommend medical marijuana as a treatment. The Act would be implemented and overseen by DOHS and the Department of Public Safety’s alcohol and tobacco control division (“Division”) who will act as the state licensing authority. Private businesses would first submit applications and seek approval to operate a medical cannabis cultivation and production facility or a medical cannabis center (dispensary) to local authorities, and if approved would then seek approval from the Division before becoming operational. Like the constitutional amendments on the ballot in Missouri, Prop C would also levy a 2% sales tax – the tax revenue generated would be spent on veterans’ services, drug treatment education, and law enforcement.
For more information on Prop C: