Brad Bradshaw, a doctor and lawyer running for Missouri lieutenant governor, said Tuesday he is launching a campaign to legalize medical marijuana in the state.
Bradshaw, a Democrat, said he has submitted an initiative petition to the Missouri secretary of state for review. If it is approved and he gathers the needed signatures, Missouri’s voters will decide next year whether the state constitution should be amended to allow the sale of marijuana for medical reasons.
Bradshaw says he opposes measures allowing recreational marijuana use, but medical marijuana is “inevitable.”
Bradshaw’s plan would tax the sale of medical marijuana heavily — around 75 percent of the purchase price. The money would be dedicated to construction and operation of a medical research facility.
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Bradshaw thinks the tax would bring in $40 million annually. The site for the facility would be chosen later by voters in specific counties, although a local spending match would not be required.
“This is an opportunity for Missouri to build the nation’s top medical research facility and find cures to incurable diseases,” Bradshaw said.
The plan also envisions spending any revenue generated by the medical research for tax relief in Missouri, as well as specific programs in the state — including education and road and bridge repairs.
The proposed amendment is 15 pages long and quite complicated. Bradshaw said it may be the only marijuana initiative on the November 2016 ballot.
The effort will bump against several proposals to legalize recreational marijuana in the state. It will also become a major issue in the statewide races for governor and lieutenant governor, assuming it reaches the ballot.
Bradshaw, who bitterly opposed the Jackson County sales tax for medical research, said he probably won’t begin gathering signatures until early next year. It will take 158,000 valid signatures from six of nine Missouri congressional districts to put the measure on the ballot.