‘Poison pill’ worries supporters of plan to fully legalize marijuana in Missouri | marijuana
JEFFERSON CITY — A Republican’s controversial amendment has upset another lawmaker’s plan to fully legalize marijuana in Missouri.
representative Nick Schroerof St. Charles County, on Thursday amended the Cannabis Freedom Act to bar transgender women from accessing interest-free loans for women- and minority-owned cannabis companies, drawing bipartisan derision.
Schroer then voted “no” to the underlying legislation legalizing marijuana in Missouri, but the plan nonetheless passed by a 5-4 vote by the House Public Safety Committee, with the committee’s three Democrats helping to save it.
“He was literally showboating and needed his soundbites on committee or he was trying to kill that law on purpose,” Rep said. Ron Hickssaid R-Defiance, the law sponsor, on Thursday.
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The change may not kill the bill for good, and Schroer said that’s not his intention.
“I am confident that we will brush off that language on the floor,” said the House Minority Leader crystal quad, D-Springfield, one of the co-sponsors. “It’s frustrating for a member to take a bipartisan bill and just use it as campaign fodder.”
Schroer, who is running for a seat in the State Senate, expressed concern about the overall constitutionality of the loan program. He said he would like the entire provision to be removed from the bill.
Schroer said he did not vote for the underlying plan because of last-minute changes before the vote.
“If I wanted to kill the bill, we could do that,” he said.
Schroer said he would prefer the legislature to legalize marijuana than voters to do so through a constitutional amendment. The Legal Missouri 2022 campaign is currently collecting signatures for such a ballot question.
Legalizing marijuana through a constitutional amendment would mean voters would have to change the program through the constitution if the program encountered major problems, Schroer said.
Schroer’s amendment wasn’t the only change to the plan over the past week.
Whether and how to limit the number of marijuana businesses has been the main bone of contention in negotiations between the medical marijuana industry and lawmakers. Lawmakers want to open up the market after hundreds of lawsuits were filed against the state following the introduction of the medical program in 2020.
An amendment by Rep. Shane Rodena Cedar Hill Republican and chairman of the Public Safety Committee, would have allowed the state to limit the number of comprehensive cannabis business licenses to the number of current medical marijuana licenses.
But Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove, D-Kansas City, negotiated an amendment that would allow twice the number of business licenses currently issued. Her amendment also eliminated a so-called “microlicense” scheme that Roden had proposed Thursday morning.
Bland Manlove said during Thursday’s hearing that Roden’s amendment was “clearly” written by the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Associationor MoCannTrade.
“I’m just grateful to the Chair that he didn’t use the first draft of the amendment, which was clearly drafted by the MoCannTrade lobbyists who are pushing the IP (initiative petition), who have also called some of the witnesses clowns,” Bland said Manlove .
She was referring to recorded comments by Legal Missouri and MoCannTrade lobbyist Thomas Robbins likening supporters of the bill to a “clown car.”
Roden denied that MoCannTrade authored his amendment, but said he spoke with Robbins and another stakeholder to try to reach a compromise before the committee hearing.
“I want some form of that to be enshrined in law,” said Roden, who was one of the five “yes” votes on the committee Thursday. “I would rather do it through us than through the unsolicited application process.”
Robbins did not respond to a request for comment.
Jack Cardetti, spokesman for MoCannTrade, which has backed the Legal Missouri 2022 initiative, said the group still doesn’t fully agree with Hicks’ bill.
“We have concerns about the current version of the bill, including the lack of automatic deletions for prior nonviolent marijuana offenders,” he said in a statement.
Hicks said he was “disappointed” that Schroer’s amendment was added to the bill and that the amended bill included restrictions on licensing. “I’m still disappointed that we had to cap it to get it out of committee, although I’m more than willing to have a cap conversation in the House,” Hicks said.
He added that he wants to limit cultivation so there is no surplus.
“I’ve tried to do everything for the people of Missouri, and now it’s starting to be influenced by politics, which doesn’t surprise me,” said Hicks, whose tenure is limited.
“It’s just when you work so hard on something and then you’re in the final stages of a committee hearing and then the poison pill gets popped on it…” he said.
speaker Rob VescovoR-Arnold, has referred a second legalization measure to the committee, proving that House leadership wants a debate on legislation that could legally overrule Missouri in 2022.
representative Ashamed DoganR-Ballwin, whose Joint Resolution 83 of the House of Representatives Legalization would be put to the vote in November, his Special Criminal Justice Committee said would hear the plan on Tuesday.
“It’s just good to have multiple options for the legislature to take the lead on this issue,” he said. “Legislators didn’t do that on the medical marijuana issue, and we got a ballot initiative that wasn’t necessarily my first choice.”
Dogan said he was open to negotiating his proposed constitutional amendment.
“I’m not ruling anything out at this point,” he said.
“You’re going to have to make some compromises to get anything out of this body, let alone the Senate,” he said.
The legislation is House bill 2704.
Originally posted at 12:32 pm Tuesday April 5th.