April 20th is the unofficial holiday for cannabis enthusiasts. This year’s holiday is met with bittersweet news. On April 19, 2016, the Missouri House of Representatives voted in favor of the Missouri Compassionate Care Act (HB 2213). Unfortunately, the perfected bill bears little resemblance to the reasonable legislation introduced by Representative Dave Hinson (R-St. Clair) in early 2016.
Most notably, the adopted amendments would no longer provide access to medical marijuana for individuals suffering from debilitating medical conditions such as: cancer, glaucoma, HIV, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other illnesses. Instead, the current bill would only allow access to terminal cancer patients receiving hospice services. Further, the amendments would prohibit the Department of Health and Senior Services from adding other debilitating medical conditions, even upon the recommendation by state-licensed physicians.
There is an abundance of evidence that hospice patients receive tremendous benefits from medical marijuana. However, prohibiting individuals suffering from countless other debilitating medical conditions is not only morally wrong, but defies logic.
If Missouri is going to challenge federal law and allow medical marijuana for some individuals, why would it not at least provide physicians with the opportunity to treat their patients suffering from other illnesses as they see fit?