ST. LOUIS – Whether it’s medical or reactional marijuana, both are proving to be a hot topic in many states across the United States.
In Illinois, since legalizing the drug for both uses at the start of 2020, the state rang in an eye-opening $40 million in just the first month.
And in Missouri, the initial steps of setting up shops for medical marijuana are just now being put into place.
“The good thing is that we do have [medical marijuana] in Missouri,” said Gary Easter, a marijuana advocate with The Green Man Group. “So we have to look at that as a positive and keep fighting the good fight.”
While strides are moving forward, there’s new legislation on medical marijuana that’s raising some eyebrows in Jefferson City.
It’s called Senate Bill 610 and its sponsored by Republican Senator David Sater from southwest Missouri.
If passed, it would allow employers to drug test their employees randomly and grant them the clearance to fire them if they fail.
“I feel like this bill is continue to stigma that has been placed on marijuana and medical marijuana users,” said Abrahama Keys, the executive director of NORML, a support group that lobbies for the legalization of marijuana on all fronts.
She assures the senator’s bill is nothing more than a distraction on Missouri’s progression of marijuana legalization.
“When you make legislation like this, you’re almost criminalizing people who are medical marijuana users,” Keys said. “We don’t have anything that tests for, say, sleeping drugs; sleeping drugs can impair you on the job. However, there’s no test in place or legislature in place.”
Though she doesn’t agree with the bill, Keys says she welcomes all dialogue.
“I believe when things like this come in the light, it’s important to view everybody’s opinions,” Keys said.
“It’s baby steps,” Easter said. “Just baby step before getting to the ultimate picture which is legalization across the board.”
At present, the bill is in the Small Business and Industry Committee, where it failed to gather enough votes last year.