A key legislative committee in Missouri’s House of Representatives has approved a bill to legalize medical marijuana.
The State House Committee on Legislative Oversight voted 7 to 4 today to pass House Bill 1554, reports Eapen Thampy, a medical marijuana lobbyist. The proposed law, filed by Representative James Neely, would expand “the definition of investigational drug, biological product, or device so that it can include medical cannabis.” Under this provision, “a dispensing organization or manufacturer of an investigational drug, biological product, or device that has successfully completed phase one of a clinical trial but has not been approved for general use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and remains under investigation in a clinical trial can be made available to certain eligible patients who have terminal illnesses.”
This bill also “changes the law regarding the use of hemp extract to treat intractable epilepsy to authorize the legal use of medical marijuana to treat terminal illnesses”, and “authorizes the Department of Health and Senior Services to issue medical cannabis registration cards to any Missouri resident, 18 years old or older, who can provide a statement signed by a doctor stating that the individual suffers from a terminal illness and may benefit from treatment with medical cannabis and that the individual has considered all other treatment options currently approved by the FDA and all relevant clinical trials conducted in Missouri.”
Parents of minor children suffering from intractable epilepsy or a terminal illness or condition “can also obtain medical cannabis cards on behalf of their children. These registration cards will only be valid for one year but can be renewed.”
If the bill is passed into law, “the department will publish a list of debilitating diseases or conditions for which a medical cannabis or hemp extract registration card can be issued. A medical cannabis registration card may only be issued for terminal illnesses and a hemp extract registration card may only be issued for intractable epilepsy. Any physician who signs a statement for a patient to obtain a medical cannabis registration card must keep a record of his or her evaluation and observation of that patient, including the patient’s response to medical cannabis, and transmit such record to the department.”
The department “must maintain a database of these records, which it can share with a higher education institution for the purpose of studying medical cannabis. The department is also required to maintain a record of each person to whom it issues a registration card. The department can also authorize clinical trials involving medical cannabis.”
In addition, the measure states that “the Department of Agriculture shall issue cultivation and production facility licenses to grow or cultivate medical cannabis. The department will maintain a list of all licensed growers. The department is responsible for establishing rules relating to application requirements, including submission of fingerprints and criminal background checks; security requirements for cultivation and production premises; cannabis monitoring systems; the submission of medical cannabis to an approved testing facility; and the manufacture, storage, and transportation of medical cannabis”.
More information on House Bill 1554 can be found by clicking here.