Legislators aim to protect patient families
One of the most prevalent issues for many advocates in Missouri since the legalization of medical marijuana has been parental protection.
Last year, NORML KC penned language that became HB 2715, which did not make it across the finish line. This year, Kansas City area state Senator Barbara Washington has taken on the task of championing the language in SB357, with the support of NORML KC. The bill modifies provisions relating to medical marijuana program participants in family court matters. It currently awaits committee referral.
“Once Amendment 2 passed in November 2018, our organization knew that we still had to ensure patients were protected,” said NORML KC Executive Director Jamie Kacz. “We knew that while medical marijuana would be legal under Amendment 2, now Article XIV, it would take time and effort to ensure that all other state agencies would have to make some adjustments.”
While medical marijuana is legal in Missouri, it remains a federally illegal controlled substance and as such presents issues for patients and parents with conflicting opinions when it comes to family court matters.
“We started researching and found that other states have had issues with children being removed from homes of medical marijuana patients and issues in family court. We learned that in other states, the use of medical marijuana by parents is often a determining factor when state authorities consider removing a child from a home, and when determining child custody. We wanted to prevent this from being an issue because medical marijuana patients should not have to choose between their medicine and their children,” Kacz continued.
Senator Washington and NORML KC aren’t the only ones with a focus on Missouri’s medical marijuana patients and their families.
Representative Ron Hicks, R-St. Peters, is also working to ensure that Missouri families aren’t affected by their status as patients or employees of the medical marijuana industry. Hicks has been a vocal supporter of medical marijuana and patients’ rights. This year, Hicks is the bill sponsor for HB485. The bill summary states that this legislation “Provides that placement of a child in an adoptive home shall not be delayed or denied on the basis that a prospective adoptive parent has a medical marijuana card or works in the medical marijuana industry.”