New Approach Missouri Amps Up Efforts To Get Signatures Before Deadline

New Approach Missouri Amps Up Efforts To Get Signatures Before Deadline

PIERCE CITY, Mo. – If a group succeeds in gathering enough signatures over the next few weeks, Missourians could be voting on a proposal to legalize medicinal marijuana. New Approach Missouri needs about 160,000 signatures, but the campaign trying to get 250,000 to ensure they are all valid. New Approach Missouri’s proposal would allow licensed physicians to recommend medical marijuana to any patients with a qualifying condition. Dolores Halbin said in her husband’s case, medical marijuana worked when a $275 bottle of prescription eyedrops did not. Glaucoma threatened Halbin’s husband Gene with blindness, but when he began using marijuana, he could visualize a life with less pain. “Whereas you and I have an eye pressure of 20, a car has 30, the eyeball works like a tire,” Halbin said. “My husband’s eye pressures were 60 and 70.” Gene Halbin grew cannabis quietly in a garden at their Bates County home until the day law enforcement officials raided the property in March 2014. Then, Gene a veteran — and Dolores a mother of three and grandmother of five — were in jail for pot possession. “He [the Bates Co. prosecutor] issued these warrants on a Thursday morning, bond reduction hearings on Wednesday,” Halbin said. “And during that week as I knew would happen, my husband did not get his medications.” Dolores lost Gene about a year later and her job as a nurse after the arrests. Now she is fighting for legal medical marijuana as part of the Missouri Cannabis Nurses Association. The drug worked wonders for her husband, and she has seen it make a difference in the lives of those with multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, ALS and many other conditions. “Cannabis stops the progression and reverses ALS,” Halbin said. “As we’re doing this ice bucket challenge, I’m thinking people should be dumping buckets of cannabis over ALS patients instead of ice on their heads.” According to the Missouri Substance Abuse Network’s data, rates of teen marijuana use are almost double that of states where the drug is illegal. The American Society of Addiction Medicine states that “marijuana use is associated with adverse health consequences, including damage to specific organs and tissues and impairments in behavioral and neurological functioning”. However, Halbin asks voters to weigh the need for compassion over potential social consequences. “It’s time to let this plant out of jail and let it start to do its job which is to treat us for a ton of diseases,” Halbin said. “Parents stop children from using drugs, not the law. Churches, strong social ties, strong communities, that’s how you keep your kids off of drugs.” New Approach Missouri has to get its signatures turned into the secretary of state’s office by May 8. The campaign says as of last Friday, it had 175,000 signatures. Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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