Marijuana is on Missouri’s ballot this November, with three separate ballot measures that would legalize medical marijuana. In addition, there is a race for the U.S. senate that pits an incumbent Democrat, Claire McCaskill, who has been targeted by conservatives for replacement, and Josh Hawley, her Republican opponent.
On medical marijuana, McCaskill has said: “I support medical marijuana in Missouri. I think it’s the right way to go.” She supports Amendment 2, one of the ballot measures. NORML has this to say about Amendment 2: “Of the three, NORML believes that Amendment 2 is written in a manner that best provides for the needs of patients and their physicians, and is the measure most likely to withstand scrutiny from lawmakers.”
A grassroots group, New Approach Missouri, is behind Amendment 2. The initiative would create “a statewide system for production and sale of medical cannabis, a “limited and regulated patient cultivation” program, levy “a four percent retail tax,” with “revenue in excess of the cost of regulating the medical cannabis program” being slated for “Missouri’s veterans.” In addition, “The initiative maintains the current prohibition on public use and driving under the influence. It also allows the Department of Health and Senior Services to institute a seed-to-sale tracking system to ensure that the product and money do not reach the illicit market.” Amendment 2 would put the “Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services in charge of licensing and implementation, but also allows the department to contract with other state agencies when necessary for effective and efficient regulation.”
Hawley, who is the attorney general of Missouri, has been less forthright than McCaskill. One report quotes him as being “inclined to support” medical marijuana after having previously avoided taking a position. “I want to look closely at how the ballot language is structured,” he is quoted as saying regarding the ballot measures. Hawley also said he was “a little uncomfortable” with one of the three ballot measures, which would tax medical marijuana at 15 percent and is backed by an attorney who sued unsuccessfully to keep the other two initiatives off the ballot.
The two senate candidates offer a clear choice to voters. One supports medical legalization in general and in particular Amendment 2, which is also favored by NORML. The other is unsure of his position.
The candidates have similar views on raising Missouri’s minimum wage. McCaskill has said she supports another ballot measure that would introduce a gradual increase from $7.85 to $12 an hour. “We have an opportunity in November to raise the minimum wage in Missouri and I am 100 percent in favor of that,” she said. Hawley, on the other hand, said the proposed raise “is probably a good idea.”
Polls indicate that the race is close, with no clear favorite. Although McCaskill is the incumbent, she is a Democrat in a state that went to Donald Trump by a margin of close to half a million votes in 2016. Hawley has won the endorsement of the Missouri Farm Bureau, but whether the trade policies of President Donald Trump will prompt Missouri’s farmers to vote Democratic has yet to be seen. Missouri recently legalized a pilot program for industrial hemp farming, but the program is small and not politically charged. One piece of bad news for McCaskill: The NRA is reported as launching a “Seven-Figure Campaign in Missouri…warning voters that Claire McCaskill sides with liberal, anti-gun elites and against our constitutional freedoms.”
What do you think? Will McCaskill hold on to her seat? Will Amendment 2 pass? Leave a comment below.