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Missouri House Approves Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill

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A bill that would legalize medical marijuana for patients suffering from debilitating conditions such as cancer, HIV and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) passed a significant hurdle in the Missouri House on Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Missouri Rep. Jim Neely (R), who is also a physician, passed on third reading by a vote of 112-44 and will now be sent to the state Senate for consideration.

“There’s a lot of people in my world, from the hospice and the long-term care world, that feel that this would be appropriate for people to ease the pain, suffering, and the side-effects of the opioids and this might be the best way to go,” Neely said in a press release when the bill cleared second reading last month. The legislation would give patients “another option at the end stages of life.”

If the Senate passes the bill, it would then go to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’s desk for final approval. He’s voiced support for medical marijuana legalization under certain circumstances, such as in the treatment of children suffering from epilepsy, but said he opposed recreational legalization in 2016, the Associated Press reported.

Eapen Thampy, a lobbyist backing medical cannabis legalization efforts in the state, tweeted that Neely cited President Donald Trump’s “leadership” on the issue as the House debate closed.

The Missouri legislative session is scheduled to end later this month, so the pressure is on to win Senate approval and get the bill to the governor. There are also three competing state ballot initiatives to legalize medical marijuana that may qualify for Missouri’s November ballot.

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Kyle Jaeger is Marijuana Moment's Sacramento-based senior editor. His work has also appeared in High Times, VICE and attn.

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