Demystifying the Medical Marijuana Movement in Missouri

John Payne of New Approach Missouri
John Payne of New Approach Missouri was a Keynote Speaker.

New Approach Missouri’s campaign director, John Payne, revealed on April 13, 2016 their medical marijuana initiative has gathered more than 15,000 signatures.

Relying strictly on volunteers, Payne indicated the pace of signature gathering is increasing. The goal is to secure 280,000 signatures. “We could reasonably exceed our goal of collecting half the 280,000 signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot with volunteers – an unprecedented feat for a constitutional amendment initiative campaign,offered Payne in a communication to volunteers.

Payne was one of the keynote speakers at St. Louis University’s Public Law Review publication which sponsored “Up in Smoke: Demystifying the Medical Marijuana Movement in Missouri”. It was a symposium held in the John K. Pruellage Courtroom at the downtown St. Louis University Law School campus.

Saint Louis University Public Law Review hosted a diverse range of scholars to discuss the implications surrounding state legalization of medical marijuana.

Dan Viets, Keynote Speaker for Up in Smoke symposium.

The event featured a keynote address by criminal defense attorney Dan Viets. Viets is a Missouri NORML state coordinator (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and chairs the Boards of both New Approach Missouri (NAM) and Show-Me Cannabis.

Both men are spearheading the medical marijuana movement in Missouri and have been passionately dedicated to passing this legislation.

“When Missouri voters are presented with our (petition) question to legalize medical marijuana, polls indicate an approval of 60%,” says Payne, “and in general, approval of legal medical marijuana in polls runs much higher” among the population in total.

The recent victory of the “Yes on 5” initiative campaign sponsored by the Kansas City, Missouri NORML chapter (NORML KC) and directed by Executive Director Jamie Katz, is a positive indication that Missouri voters would be in favor of approving medical marijuana in Missouri.

NORML KC’s initiative passed with more than 70% approval by voters. The measure lowers the maximum fine for marijuana possession in city court to $25 from $500 and eliminates jail time as a penalty.

“It’s a very positive result because we know Kansas City is ready for this change,” Kacz said.

Greater St. Louis NORML supports the NAM initiative and actively works for medical marijuana legalization in Missouri.

GSTL NORML volunteers will be out in full force collecting signatures for the NAM petition at several events and festivals across metro St. Louis area in the coming weeks including Earth Day Festivities in Forest Park on April 22, 23 and Chesterfield Earth Day on the April 29.

Project 22, a medical marijuana educational experience for Missouri veterans and documentary, and the Missouri Patient Project, both GSTL NORML projects, will also help educate Missourians about the benefits of passing a medical marijuana law in the Show-Me state.