KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Governor Jay Nixon told a national audience that the legislature would consider medical marijuana, but his words were met with mixed reaction here in Kansas City.
On Sunday morning’s CNN show State of the Union, Nixon said the bridge isn’t yet built for decriminalization, but lawmakers are open to medical marijuana.
“Medicinally I think folks are beginning to see there are things the medical community can help on,” Nixon said, “our legislature might consider that.”
“It is a step in the right direction, I’ll take it as a green light,” said Amber Iris Langston with Show Me Cannabis, an organization promoting marijuana legalization. “I don’t think Governor Nixon takes chances with his political support, so it’s a strong indication there’s support for medical marijuana in Missouri.”
While she’s pleased to see Nixon talking about medical marijuana, she’d also like to see support of bills that would decriminalize pot. Missouri has some of the toughest marijuana laws in the country, getting caught with a single gram could mean a year in jail.
“It’s a shame our politicians don’t have courage to stand forward on this issue and say this policy isn’t working, this policy is destructive to people in our communities,” she said.
Missouri lawmakers have introduced three bills this year: one for a medical marijuana pilot program, one legalizing recreational pot, and one that reduces penalties for possession.
Jackson County Legislator Bob Spence isn’t a fan of laws that decriminalize marijuana use.
“I think most, not all, but most who do hard drugs started with marijuana,” he said.
Spence has tried twice now to introduce a resolution encouraging lawmakers to “just say no” to any bill legalizing marijuana, even for medicinal use.
“Then every ailment known to mankind can be helped with marijuana, and it’s like legalizing it,” he said.
But his resolution ended up getting held over into committee. He says that basically means it’s killed.
“I was shocked; I was absolutely shocked, he said, “I don’t want to make it legal in this state because it makes it even more accessible. It’s in far too many places for our kids to get a hold of.”
Missouri isn’t the only state tackling this issue this year. Kansas is also considering a bill legalizing medical marijuana.