There is considerable debate over the medical benefits of medical marijuana. Metro Voice understands that debate even extends to the Christian and conservative communities. Reasonable people can disagree. This article is about Amendment 3 while you can read our story on the other two ballot measures HERE.
One thing we are sure of: Vote “No” on Amendment 3. Why we and Missouri Right to Life oppose it
Tuesday’s elections in Missouri have three ballot questions on medical marijuana. They offer a potpourri of approaches to legalization, taxpayer funding and administration of medical marijuana. Our recommendation on Amendments 2 and Proposition C are subject to reader discretion and we explore those ballot measures HERE.
Our recommendation on Amendment 3 is a no-brainer. We encourage a definite NO vote. Missouri Right to Life (MRL) opposes Amendment 3. The provisions of Amendment 3 would create the “Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute Trust Fund,” which would be funded form a 15% tax on marijuana.
Tax revenues for that fund would be controlled by Dr. Brad Bradshaw, a Springfield businessman who is both a plaintiff attorney and doctor. Bradshaw is a supporter of embryonic stem cell research (which includes stem cells from aborted babies), which is a reason MRL opposes Amendment 3.
Bradshaw has devoted more than $2 million of his own money to support Amendment 3 and also oppose Amendments 2 and Proposition C, the competing medical marijuana. This has led observers to say that if Amendment 3 passes, Bradshaw would be Missouri’s “Marijuana King.”
Beyond MRL’s concerns, Bradshaw would also become Missouri’s Marijuana Czar. With his name enshrined in the Missouri Constitution, Bradshaw would have sole authority to appoint members of the “Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute Trust Fund.” He would also control all marijuana regulations for cultivation and manufacturing of marijuana-infused products and their dispensing for medical purposes.
As incredible as it sounds to give this kind of power to one person and even put his name in the State Constitution, there are more problems with Amendment 3. It would also give Bradshaw private, personal control over a potential billion dollars or more of public tax revenue with no accountability to taxpayers or the executive or legislative branches. Even challenging him in the judicial branch would be difficult.
Michael A. Wolff, a former Chief Justice of the Missouri Supreme Court and Dean Emeritus of the St. Louis University School of Law, wrote in an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch opposing Amendment 3. He stated when he tried to explain it to acquaintances, a common reaction is, “you’re kidding, right?”
Amendment 3 is such an outlandish power and taxpayer money grab by Bradshaw, you need to read it to believe it. Here is the fair ballot language:
This amendment makes Brad Bradshaw (the contact person on this initiative petition) the research chairperson of a newly created research institute that is funded by fees and taxes on medical marijuana. Brad Bradshaw will select the members of the board that will govern the research institute, which will issue regulations and licensing procedures for medical marijuana and medical marijuana facilities — dispensary, cultivation, and marijuana-infused product manufacturing facilities. This amendment creates licensing fees for such facilities. The amendment imposes a 15 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana for medical purposes by dispensary facilities and a tax on the wholesale sale of marijuana flowers and leaves by cultivation facilities. The funds generated by the license fees and taxes will be used by the research institute for licensing and regulating marijuana and marijuana facilities, land acquisition and development, and conducting research with the purpose of developing cures and treatments for cancer and other incurable diseases.
Like Amendment 1, which cloaks the real attempted power grab by liberal Democrats for redistricting behind the guise of limits on campaign contribution and lobbyists’ gift, Amendment 3 hides Bradshaw’s power grab behind the cloak of treating and curing disease.
In contrast, the provisions of marijuana Amendments 2 and Proposition C are less controversial and outlandish with even some commendable components. Physicians groups and medical societies in the state oppose all three medical marijuana questions on the ballot. Yet, there is no doubt that Missourians who suffer from painful, seizure and tremor based diseases would benefit from medically prescribed marijuana treatment, which 30 other states have approved.
At the same time, we recognize the concern that legalization of medical marijuana could lead to a greater likelihood of eventual legalization of recreational marijuana. Marijuana is commonly viewed with concern as a gateway drug to other and more addictive and dangerous drug use.
States that have legalized recreational use of marijuana have experienced increased tax revenues, but experts in those states also note downsides. Those include increase drugged driving and auto accidents, declines in educational achievement and performance and adverse affect in various socio-economic ways. Medical professionals in those states have also noted increased ER visits and other medical episodes and conditions, including adverse neurological effects.
You can read our explanations of Amendments 2 and Proposition C HERE. We do not plan to recommend a Yes or No vote on them, but leave that decision to voters to make an informed decision. If more than one of the three medical marijuana amendments passes, the only one that will become constitutional law is the one that receives the most votes.
For these reasons, the Metro Voice Editorial Team strongly urges readers to vote NO on Amendment 3 and share this article to spread the word to vote it down.