After Missouri became the 32nd state to legalize medical marijuana in Tuesday’s midterm elections, patients and families of those in need say medical marijuana will be life-changing for them.
"Just a sigh of relief to know that we can stay home, we can stay here in Missouri, and she can get the medical treatment option she deserves," said Sarah Lango of her two-year-old daughter Avery who suffers from a catastrophic form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome, a condition that does not respond well to typical treatment options and for which MMJ has been proven effective.
“On a typical day, she has anywhere from 20 to 100 small absent seizures," Ms. Lango said.
Missouri’s Amendment 2 will enable doctors to recommend medical cannabis for a list of illnesses and their side effects, such as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, PTSD, migraines, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson's disease and Tourette's syndrome, Hepatitis C, Crohn's disease, ALS and chronic medical conditions that cause severe pain/muscle spasms, such as multiple sclerosis.
What Happens Next
Missouri is likely to have 192 medical marijuana dispensaries by 2020, backers of Amendment 2 said in a conference call for news outlets, reported the Springfield News-Leader, but only for holders of authorized cards.
Jack Cardetti, spokesperson for New Approach Missouri which pushed for the amendment, said the MMJ system was modeled in part on medical marijuana laws in Colorado and Oregon, "when they just strictly had a medical-marijuana law."
"They were very effective," he said. In both of those states, about 2 percent of residents had a qualifying patient card to access marijuana for medicinal purposes.
New Approach used that figure to calculate the number of medical marijuana licenses for patients and businesses that it believed Missouri would need.
As such, each of Missouri's eight congressional districts will be allowed a minimum of 24 dispensaries under Amendment 2.
"We don’t want to have patients having to drive across the state," Cardetti said. "We want it to be close by."
Amendment 2 goes into effect on December 6 when the Department of Health and Senior Services will oversee the program.