UPDATE: Patients with doctor’s certifications and a chronic condition laid out in the ballot language are protected from the law as of Dec. 6, according to New Approach Missouri president Dan Viets.
Other provisions in the bill won’t take effect until later next year. The Department of Health and Senior Services will need to put together rules and applications as well as instructions to apply to become either a certified patient or cultivator, a commercial cultivator, operate a testing facility or create cannabis infused products.
“In other words any of the licensing activities will not begin until at least the second half of next year,” he said.
Viets said there’s not really legislative oversight in this amendment, it’s specifically tailored to the executive branch and the Department of Health and Senior Services. He also said he doesn’t expect Gov. Parson to hold it up.
“Frankly, the governor has expressed his support, in principle, for medical marijuana, especially for vets with PTSD and other conditions,” said Viets.
Parson said in a statement that it’s his job to ensure “successful implementation of the people’s will.”
“We will begin the very detailed process of implementing a plan that makes medical marijuana available to qualified patients,” he said.
ORIGINAL STORY: Now that Missourians have passed Amendment 2 and rejected the two other proposals, patients can start making inquiries about using medical marijuana to treat their chronic conditions when the amendment goes into effect Dec. 6.
Jack Cardetti, a spokesperson for the sponsor of the amendment, told ABC 17 News Wednesday that it would not be physically available to patients on that day, though.
Medical marijuana has had bipartisan support in the Missouri Legislature for awhile. Back in May, the House passed a medical marijuana bill that died in the Senate at the session’s end.
Rep. Cheri Reisch (R) co-sponsored that legislation.
“I believe we need to help people that have health issues such as cancer and I believe in the right to try,” she said.
Rep. Chuck Basye (R) is also in support of the amendment and confirmed the bipartisan nature of the issue.
New Approach Missouri, which sponsored Amendment 2, plans to hold a conference call Thursday morning to address when the law will go into effect and general implementation timelines for patients, doctors and regulation by the Department of Health and Senior Services.
Cardetti told ABC 17 News he’s not worried about the implementation process.
“Amendment 2 sets out clear timelines for patients, doctors and the Missouri Department of Health to follow,” he said. “We are confident the state agency will implement and regulate Amendment 2 in an efficient and effective manner.”
ABC 17 News contacted Governor Mike Parson’s office to find out more about the implementation, and spokesperson Kelli Jones said she would be able to provide some general details later Wednesday afternoon.