College Republicans host Cannabis Caucus: Marijuana Forum
Tensions arose early on during Thursday night’s Cannabis Caucus. Between panelists Brad Bradshaw and Jack Cardetti arguing, as well as snarky comments amongst audience members, feelings were definitely amplified.
However, audience members soon came to see eye to eye. Not until a local cannabis farmer left did audiences begin to agree on one thing: cannabis is about love and compassion, not political bickering.
The UMKC College Republicans hosted Cannabis Caucus: Marijuana Forum. The event aimed to generate discussion on the two amendments and proposition seeking to legalize medical marijuana.
Bradshaw represented Amendment 3, and Cardetti represented Amendment 2. Additionally, College Republicans Vice President Angelo Pacheco filled in to inform audiences of Proposition C.
Disputes between Bradshaw and Cardetti showcased the complexity of legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri. Debates began when moderator Austin Peterson asked the two about the differences in tax rates between the proposed amendments.
As the event went on, arguments became more about attacking each other. Points of debate sidetracked at times, by focusing on campaign money, questioning facts and credibility.
“We have postponed finding cures for cancer and other curable diseases for over half a century,” said Bradshaw regarding Amendment 3. “Our government has let us down. Our leadership has let us down. I think if we, as citizens, don’t take action it’s not going to get done.”
Key differences between the three proposals include taxes on medical marijuana, total number of dispensaries, and how patrons can obtain licenses. Before entering the auditorium, audience members were handed a flyer with a chart outlining the discrepancies between the three proposed measures.
“There are three different measures on the ballot,” said Cardetti. “Really the question this year isn’t ‘will Missouri be the 31st state to allow medical marijuana.’ It will be ‘which one of these will pass.’ Which one of these will be the new law of the land?”
Questions for Pacheco centered on the younger generation’s view on medical marijuana. As an undergraduate himself, Pacheco acted as a voice for younger voters, specifically college students.
The event itself sought to excite UMKC students about a hot-button issue present on the Nov. 6 ballot. However, more older folk ended up attending.
“I think [views on medical marijuana] changed a lot recently through the generations,” said Pacheco. “You look at the Baby Boomer generation, they think it’s bad. My generation tends to lean more liberal when it comes to social issues.”
For senior Spencer Morgan, hearing the debates between Bradshaw and Cardetti solidified his initial decision to vote for Amendment 2. Although the tensions expressed throughout the night turned some off, the event educated Morgan on the more nitpicky details not typically found on online websites.
“It’s about as informative as any debate can be,” Morgan said. “I think it doesn’t really change people’s minds too often, but it’s still worth coming out.”
A closer look at Amendment 2, Amendment 3 and Proposition C
UMKC students residing in Missouri will have the opportunity to vote on three different Nov. 6 ballot initiatives allowing the medical use of marijuana.
The efforts by activists and medical groups across the country to decriminalize marijuana for medical use have succeeded in 31 states and the District of Columbia. For Missourians, Amendment 2, Amendment 3 and Proposition C would legalize cannabis for medicinal use if passed, making Missouri the 32nd state to legalize medical marijuana.
Amendment 2 would impose a 4 percent sales tax on retail marijuana sales, with the revenue going toward veterans’ healthcare services.
The group pushing this amendment is New Approach Missouri, and their proposal has been endorsed by the Missouri Epilepsy Foundation, as well as the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch editorial board.
In addition, Amendment 2 would allow for patients to grow their own marijuana, a feature not found in Amendment 3 or Proposition C.
The Missouri secretary of state’s office estimates that, if passed, Amendment 2 would cost the state $7 million annually and generate $18 million in revenue per year.
Amendment 3 is headed by Springfield personal injury attorney Brad Bradshaw to legalize medical marijuana.
Bradshaw would establish a nine-member board: the Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute (BRDDI).
BRDDI would focus on finding cures for diseases and create income for the state from developed cures. These cures would be available at no cost to residents.
The income for the BRDDI would stem from the 15 percent tax on marijuana sales. This tax will also help the board members organize the state’s medical marijuana program.
This amendment allows physicians to recommend marijuana to patients who qualify under the 10 conditions. There would be no more than two dispensaries per 20,000 residents.
The Missouri Secretary of State’s office estimates that, if passed, Amendment 3 would cost the state $500,000 annually and generate $66 million in revenue per year.
Proposition C would modify state law to make medical marijuana legal, making it subject to the desires of state lawmakers.
Proponents of Proposition C argue that making the change through state law and not the Missouri Constitution grants lawmakers increased flexibility to implement and make changes to the program over time.
Proposition C would also impose a 2 percent tax on retail marijuana sales with the revenue going to a variety of programs for veterans, early childhood education, drug treatment and public safety.
The Missouri Secretary of State’s office estimates that, if passed, Proposition C would cost the state $10 million annually and generate $10 million in revenue per year.
Should more than one initiative pass, priority will be given to the constitutional amendments. If both constitutional amendments pass, the one with the most votes will go into effect.
For more information on these topics and others, visit the Missouri Secretary of State website at https://www.sos.mo.gov