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Readers Overwhelmingly Support Medical Marijuana for Missouri

The Sunday Poll on medical marijuana got lots of responses — but the results stayed consistent throughout the 12 hours the poll was open.

Q: Medical cannabis/marijuana may be on Missouri’s ballot in August or November, support or oppose such a proposition?

  • Strongly support 115 [76.67%]
  • Support 17 [11.33%]
  • Somewhat support 7 [4.67%]
  • Neither support or oppose 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat oppose 0 [0%]
  • Oppose 2 [1.33%]
  • Strongly oppose 9 [6%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

Less than 10% oppose, but this non-scientific poll isn’t representative of Missouri voters.  Still, supporters gathering signatures for a ballot measure believe there is sufficient statewide support for passage in 2016.

The initiative is described as:

  • Pro-patient: Instead of creating a short and restrictive list of qualifying conditions, this initiative puts power in the hands of a state-licensed physicians, not politicians or bureaucrats, to determine who will benefit from medical cannabis.
  • Robust System for Access: The initiative creates a statewide system for production and sale of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products. It also provides for limited and regulated patient cultivation.
  • Small Tax to Benefit Missouri Veterans: The initiative levies a four percent retail tax, and all revenue in excess of the cost of regulating the medical cannabis program will go to help Missouri’s veterans.
  • Public Safety: 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.
  • Regulatory Framework: Puts 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.
  • Quick Implementation: The amendment creates deadlines to make the department move quickly to promulgate rules, issue applications, and swiftly implement and award patient cards and industry licenses.

If passed, it could be far more effective than Illinois’ current effort.

Are you one of the few who oppose this? If so, you’re like CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta — before he researched the facts.  After looking into the issue, he did a 180.

Below is a short segment from his CNN special called Weed.

The fact is cannabis/marijuana has real medical benefits. Decades of a racist ban has stifled research, but that’s slowly changing. Below is the full Weed documentary.

When the 1937 law prohibiting cannabis was ruled unconstitutional, the Nixon administration included it as a Schedule 1 drug — again, for racist reasons.

We’ve been sold lie for decades — I fell for it too for a long time. It’s time to wake up to the medical benefits of this plant!

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Support or Oppose Medical Marijuana in Missouri?

Please vote below
Please vote below

Efforts are currently underway to gather enough signatures to place an item on a 2016 ballot to set up a legal medical marijuana industry in Missouri, the signature deadline is next month. Though just under half the states have medical cannabis programs, it remains controversial.

Hence, today’s poll:

The poll will remain open until 8pm tonight. Share your thoughts in the comments below and come back on Wednesday for a new post with my thoughts and the non-0scienmtific results.

— Steve Patterson

Readers Opposed To Naming St. Louis Cardinals Official Baseball Team of Missouri

The St. Louis Cardinals home opener is Monday, downtown will be packed with Cardinals fans. A mile away we can hear the fireworks when they get a home run.

In the non-scientific Sunday Poll more than three-quarters (78.43%) oppose a bill in the Missouri House that would name the St. Louis Cardinals the official MLB team of Missouri:

Q: If passed, a bill in Jefferson City would make the St. Louis Cardinals the official baseball team of Missouri. Support or oppose?

  • Strongly support 7 [13.73%]
  • Support 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat support 1 [1.96%]
  • Neither support or oppose 2 [3.92%]
  • Somewhat oppose 2 [3.92%]
  • Oppose 17 [33.33%]
  • Strongly oppose 21 [41.18%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [1.96%]

Why would so many be opposed? Because Missouri has two MLB teams — the Cardinals and Kansas City Royals.  How would we feel if a legislator from the KC region wanted to name the Royals the official state team? Now if Rep Courtney Curtis wants to name the St. Louis Blues the official hockey team for Missouri or the Kansas City Chiefs the official NFL team for Missouri I don’t think anyone would object. Of course, when you only have one of something it’s sorta the state’s team by default.  There’s no incentive to when you have two of something to make one official.

I emailed Rep Curtis and suggested he withdraw HB2831 — and copied my state rep so he’d know my position.

— Steve Patterson

Local Propositions on April Ballott, Filing Period Still Open for August Primary

The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is on the first floor at 300 N. Tucker (@ Olive)
The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is on the first floor at 300 N. Tucker (@ Olive)

We just finished a primary, but election season continues — switching now to local & state issues/races.

Filing is still open for offices like city Circuit Attorney, Sheriff, Treasurer, and party committeeman & committeewoman. The last day to file is Tuesday March 29th, it opened in late February. Here is a summary of the filings, as of March 14th (list obtained March 16th):

  • Circuit Attorney: four (4) seeking the Democratic nomination, Jennifer Joyce is not seeking another term.
  • Sheriff: five (5) seeking the Democratic nomination, One (1) seeking the Republican nomination.  Jim Murphy is not seeking another term.
  • Treasurer: One (1) candidate filed for the nomination in each of the following parties: Democrat, Republican, Green.  Tishaura Jones is seeking a 2nd term.

Committeeman/Committeewoman, which are filled for each party in each ward in August, is a great way to get involved in the political process. As of March 14th filing report, the following are the only ones with 2 or more Democratic candidates:

  • Committeeman, Ward 1
  • Committeewoman, Ward 1
  • Committeeman, Ward 3
  • Committeewoman, Ward 3
  • Committeeman, Ward 6
  • Committeeman, Ward 7
  • Committeeman, Ward 8
  • Committeewoman, Ward 8
  • Committeeman, Ward 9
  • Committeeman, Ward 10
  • Committeewoman, Ward 10
  • Committeeman, Ward 11
  • Committeewoman, Ward 14
  • Committeeman, Ward 19
  • Committeeman, Ward 20
  • Committeewoman, Ward 20
  • Committeeman, Ward 23
  • Committeeman, Ward 26
  • Committeeman, Ward 27

The other Committeeman/Committeewoman seats in the Democratic party either had zero or one candidate as of March 14th.

Republicans have one candidate for Committeeman in each of the following Wards: 7th, 8th, 16th,  & 23rd.  Greens have one candidate for Committeeman in each of the following Wards: 8th, 20th, 24th, 26th, 28th; Committeewoman in: 20th. Again, the above is all based on the March 14th filing report.

St. Louis has 28 wards. Following the 2020 Census, the number of wards will be cut in half.

The following are the five items on the April 5th ballot, see official sample ballot:

PROPOSITION E

Shall the earnings tax of 1%, imposed by the City of St. Louis, be continued for a period of five (5) years commencing January 1 immediately following the date of this election?

PROPOSITION F

Shall the following be adopted:

Proposition to issue bonds of the City of St. Louis, Missouri, in an amount not to exceed Twenty-Five Million Dollars ($25,000,000) for the purpose of purchasing, replacing, improving, and maintaining the buildings, bridges, and equipment of the City of St. Louis, including (1) acquiring fire trucks, ambulances, personal protective equipment, and other fire-fighting apparatus for the St. Louis Fire Department; (2) acquiring refuse trucks for the Refuse Department; (3) updating computer hardware and software for City departments; (4) providing match share funds to repair, renovate, and replace bridges; (5) renovating recreation centers, buildings, and facilities owned by the City of St. Louis; and (6) for expenses associated with the issuance of the bonds. If this proposition is approved, the property tax levy is estimated to remain unchanged.

PROPOSITION 1

Shall the Special Administrative Board of the Transitional School District of the City of St. Louis be authorized to increase the operating tax levy of the District by $0.75 per $100 of assessed valuation to continue offering early childhood education, to expand character and alternative education options, to improve safety and security equipment and personnel, and to offer competitive salaries to teachers and staff? If this proposition is approved, the adjusted operating tax levy of the District is estimated to be $4.50 per $100 of assessed valuation.

PROPOSITION Y

To comply with federal and state clean water requirements, shall The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) issue its sewer revenue bonds in the amount of Nine Hundred Million Dollars ($900,000,000) for the purpose of designing, constructing, improving, renovating, repairing, replacing and equiping new and existing MSD sewer and drainage facilities and systems, including sewage treatment and disposal plants, sanitary sewers, and acquisition of easements and real property related thereto, the cost of operation and maintenance of said facilities and systems and the principal of and interest on said revenue bonds to be payable solely from the revenues derived by MSD from the operation of its wastewater sewer system, including all future extensions and improvements thereto?

PROPOSITION S

Shall the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) impose a Stormwater Operations and Maintenance property tax upon all real and tangible personal property within the district at a rate of not more than Ten Cents ($0.10) per One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) assessed valuation for the purpose of providing revenue for the operations of the district’s stormwater utility, including stormwater system operation and maintenance, rehabilitation and limited construction of infrastructure and other capital improvements, and an operating reserve?

If this proposition is approved, MSD will repeal (a) the existing stormwater operations and maintenance property tax of approximately Seven Cents ($0.07) per One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) assessed valuation that is imposed on property within the original boundaries of MSD, as defined in the MSD Charter, and within the annexed areas described in MSD Ordinance No. 3753, and (b) the existing monthly 24-Cent or 18-Cent stormwater service charge that is imposed on each MSD customer account. As a result, a uniform districtwide stormwater revenue system for operations, maintenance, and limited capital improvements will be in place.

Absentee voting on the above issues began on the 14th! The first is easy — we must continue the earnings tax for at least another five years. I need to give more thought to the other four.

In addition to April & August, some are already preparing to run for Alderman next March — odd-numbered wards are up for reelection.

— Steve Patterson

Readers Strongly Opposed To Possible Missouri “Religious Freedom” Constitutional Amendment

In August 2004 Missouri voters approved a state constitutional amendment that barred legal recognition of same-sex marriages, it passed with 71% support. This was ruled unconstitutional in June 2015 when the US Supreme Court ruled states cannot ban same-sex marriages. Eleven years.

Some view LGBT rights as an affront to their religion:

In 1993, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Originally, the federal law was intended to apply to federal, state, and local governments. In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court in City of Boerne v. Flores held that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act only applies to the federal government, but not states and other local municipalities within them. As a result, 21 states passed state RFRAs before 2014.

In 2014, the United States Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. recognizing a for-profit corporation’s claim of religious belief. Nineteen members of Congress who signed the original RFRA stated in a submission to the Supreme Court that they “could not have anticipated, and did not intend, such a broad and unprecedented expansion of RFRA”. The members further stated that RFRA “extended free-exercise rights only to individuals and to religious, non-profit organizations. No Supreme Court precedent had extended free-exercise rights to secular, for-profit corporations.” Following this decision, many states have proposed expanding state RFRA laws to include for-profit corporations, including in Arizona where SB 1062 was passed but was vetoed by Governor Jan Brewer in 2014. (Wikipedia: Religious Freedom Restoration Act)

Which brings us to Indiana’s 2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

After the law passed on March 26, 2015, reaction was swift, strong and negative, with cancellations of planned events and business expansions, travel bans and denunciations from across the spectrum: companies including Salesforce, Apple, Eli Lilly and Angie’s List; sports leagues including the NCAA, NBA and WNBA; states and municipalities coast to coast; rock concerts; comedy shows and church groups. (Forbes: Indiana’s Religious Freedom Act Cost Indianapolis $60 Million In Lost Revenue)

And now the Missouri legislature wants to join the cause, which will cost its two biggest and liberal cities. Kansas City & St. Louis.

Should either SB 916 or SJR 39 become law, Missouri could experience the same kind of backlash as Indiana. Expect cancellations of conventions in St. Louis and Kansas City. Businesses worried about protecting their reputations would put expansion plans on hold in Missouri. Lawsuits would ring down like thunder. (Post-Dispatch Editorial: The no-catering-gay-weddings issue comes to Missouri)

Thankfully the readers here are strongly opposed to such measures, from the Sunday Poll:

Q: Missouri is one step closer to having a “religious freedom” constitutional amendment on a ballot. Support or oppose such an amendment?

  • Strongly support 5 [10.2%] Note: one reader says he voted for this by mistake, wanted “Strongly oppose” instead.
  • Support 1 [2.04%]
  • Somewhat support 0 [0%]
  • Neither support or oppose 2 [4.08%]
  • Somewhat oppose 0 [0%]
  • Oppose 4 [8.16%]
  • Strongly oppose 37 [75.51%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

If it clears the last vote in the legislature Gov Nixon can’t veto it — he can only decide if placed on the August or November ballot.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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