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Missouri voters may have three initiatives to choose from to legalize medical marijuana this November, but the Assembly may beat them to it. On Friday, activists from New Approach Missouri dropped off scores of boxes containing over 370,000 signatures for validation. Find the Cure, self-funded to the tune of $1.5 million by attorney Brad Bradshaw, verified over 300,000 signatures they turned in Friday for their initiative. A third group, Missourians for Patient Care, is attempting to place medical marijuana on the ballot as a statute rather than a constitutional amendment. That group also turned in signatures Friday. New Approach Missouri is the only one of the three to legalize the cultivation of cannabis plants by medical marijuana patients in their own homes. Presuming they both receive a majority of the vote, whichever of the two constitutional amendments with the highest vote total would become law. The statutory initiative can only go into effect if it has a majority vote and the other two initiatives do not. Further complicating the matter is the passage in the Missouri House of a non-smoked medical marijuana bill that could become law prior to the November election.
New York Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon spoke at the 47th Annual New York City Cannabis Parade & Rally on Saturday. The actress and first-time candidate also interviewed with New York’s Be Terrific channel about how her support for marijuana legalization and how it fits into her broader progressive campaign. [NIXON CLIP: “New York is the natural capital of The Resistance. And there’s just so much that we should and can and must be doing here that’s happening in so many other – in California, in Washington, in Oregon – the legalization of cannabis is a perfect example.”] Incumbent Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo still holds a nearly two-to-one polling lead against Nixon in the primary, with 50 percent in the late April Quinnipiac poll to Nixon’s 28 percent. However, Cuomo has lost 16 points and Nixon has gained 9 points since the March Sienna College Poll. Cuomo’s also lost 8 points and Nixon’s gained 6 points since the late March Quinnipiac poll.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders seemingly indicated his support for the decriminalization of all drugs. In a Facebook Live video, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate lamented the effects of drug prohibition. [SANDERS CLIP: “Look, I think it is fair to acknowledge that when we talk about a broken criminal justice system, we also have got to acknowledge that we’ve had a 40-year failed war on drugs.”] While Sanders has always been vocal about ending marijuana prohibition, his carefully-worded statement including “other drugs” is noteworthy. [SANDERS CLIP: “I think we need to have an understanding that the prohibition against alcohol did not work in the 1920s and prohibition against marijuana and other drugs is not working today.”] Sanders believes this is key to criminal justice reform. [SANDERS CLIP: “So I think if we’re serious about understanding a failed and collapsing criminal justice system, ending the War on Drugs is an important part of that.”]
Florida medical marijuana doctors are more than twice as likely to have faced medical discipline and to have been accused of crimes as other doctors. Analysis by the Tampa Bay Times of Florida’s 1,423 physicians currently licensed to recommend cannabis has found nearly one-in-five had negative marks on their record, with 2.8 times the likelihood of a disciplinary action from their state’s Board of Medicine and 2.4 times the likelihood of criminal accusations.
A new report from HighYield Insights, a market research firm, shows that legalizing marijuana is a direct threat to the bottom line of Big Pharma and Big Booze. The report found the following declines among over one-fifth of cannabis consumers surveyed: a 20 percent decline in beer consumption; a 21 percent decline in liquor consumption; a 22 percent decline in sleeping pill consumption; and a 27 percent decline in over-the-counter painkiller consumption. Keith Stroup, founder of the nation’s oldest marijuana consumer lobby, NORML, applauds the results of the survey. [STROUP CLIP: “I think all of us, or most of us, have had some personal experience where we use a little less Xanax, or we drink a little less alcohol, because we’re smoking marijuana and that gets us where we want to get. But it’s nice to hear that quantified.”]