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A licensed, indoor cannabis grow operation in Washington state.

Sarah Climaco

The Missouri House has approved amendments to a proposed medical cannabis bill which would expand the program beyond those who are terminally ill, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The bill, advanced to third reading by lawmakers, now includes access for patients suffering from post-traumatic-stress-disorder, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and other non-terminal illnesses.

The expanded bill was approved by the chamber 99-44. The measure would create a comprehensive program, allowing flower access through state-approved dispensaries. The law would also expand the state’s limited CBD program and allow hemp production for low-THC products.

Rep. Shamed Dogan, a Republican who offered the amendment to include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and MS, said her amendment “is in the spirit of what [the] voters think when they think of medical marijuana.”

The fiscal note attached to the bill suggests that the program would cost the state general fund money in each of its first three years. The note also assumes that the program would “result in an increase in violations of possession and production/distribution of controlled substances” because it creates a new Class D felony for illegally distributing medical cannabis products.

The House considered a similar proposal in 2016 but it was rejected by the chamber. Activists have also attempted to legalize medical cannabis use through the ballot initiative process but have not been successful. The measure still needs to be approved by the Senate.

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