It is widely expected that the Legal Missouri 2022 marijuana ballot initiative will be on the November ballot -- as our followers know, we've opposed this proposal for its monopoly approach to recreational marijuana business licensing as well as the numerous civil & criminal marijuana use and possession penalties it would put into the Missouri Constitution -- but aside from the popular interest in a pathway to legalization, the November general election will also determine another major piece of the legalization puzzle: Missouri's next US Senator.
Today we'll highlight the marijuana policy stances of the major Republican candidates who are dueling through the August primary election for the chance to be the Republican general election nominee: Eric Greitens, Eric Schmitt, and Vicky Hartzler. This information is provided for information only and does not constitute an endorsement for any candidate.
Eric Greitens: During the 2016 primary campaign for Missouri Governor, Greitens famously said "There is no stoned path to prosperity, folks", in response to a question about medical marijuana reform proposals. Yesterday, however, Greitens said "I think that when you look at what's happened with marijuana, given the fact that it's been legalized in so many states, we have this absurd situation now where people who involved in that business can't actually use the banking system. I do have concerns because the data shows extraordinarily clearly that shows that for people whose prefrontal cortex is not fully developed - we have to real about the dangers that marijuana presents, we have to be real about the dangers that marijuana presents to young people. But right now you have this complex system of regulations that actually just hurts a lot people that are in that business and one of the things I am in favor of is making sure we have a lot more clarity there."
Eric Schmitt: In 2014, then State Senator Eric Schmitt sponsored a bill legalizing cannabidiol (CBD) production in Missouri for children with intractable epilepsy -- Missouri's first cannabis reform since Prohibition. In 2017, during a discussion with the Mizzou Chapter of the American Enterprise Institute, then Missouri State Treasurer Schmitt said:
Some of these issues found me, you know, in the way that my son was...so Stephen has seizures pretty much every day. He has better seizure control now than he did a few years ago but it’s constantly...it’s something that we monitor and it’s scary
So I’ve been an advocate for people with developmental disabilities, I think that’s a legitimate function of government, help people who can’t help themselves, and we ought to encourage people who are able bodied to work, I think there’s a lot of dignity in work, I’ve worked on a lot of those issues.
I had a friend, who their daughter was born with a genetic condition different from Stephen’s that had epilepsy, they were going to Colorado to get this CBD oil which is the marijuana extract you don’t get high from but it has the abilities for whatever reason to control seizures. I didn’t think it was right that this family had to leave their support network, their job, their state to access something that would work.
In my own political philosophy I don’t know what role the government has in standing in the way between a family and that kind of remedy and relief. And so Caleb Jones who was from Columbia on the House side, we passed that bill in 30 days...it was wild. It was the only time my wife ever came up to the Capitol to do anything legislatively but yea I’m proud of that. I think it opened the door for more discussion about it.
Although Schmitt has not so far made any public statements about legalization so far in this campaign that we are aware of, the pro-legalization Americans for Prosperity grassroots organization has endorsed his campaign.
Vicky Hartzler: While other candidates in this race have expressed openness to marijuana policy reform, Hartzler, who has served several terms in the US House of Representatives for Missouri Congressional District 4 has notably been a strong opponent to any effort to end marijuana prohibition. In a recent constituent letter, Hartzler attempted to cast doubt on the utility of marijuana as a tool to reduce opiate use; in 2020, Hartzler spoke on the US House floor in opposition to the Democrat sponsored MORE Act, saying it would "grant the marijuana industry unfettered access to our nation's youth". Hartzler has also previously weighed in with obvious falsehoods regarding legalization, including: