Two years after a medical marijuana initiative missed the ballot by 23 signatures, Missourians will have their choice of three alternative plans to provide pot to patients with debilitating illnesses.

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft on Thursday certified five ballot measures for the Nov. 6 election. The medical marijuana proposals will appear alongside two other measures proposed by petition: Amendment 1, which would strengthen ethics laws and revise how election districts are decided, and Proposition B, which would raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour by 2023.

There will be seven ballot measures in all on the November ballot. Proposition D, a proposal to increase the state fuel tax by 10 cents per gallon over four years, and Amendment 4, to revise bingo regulations, were submitted to voters by lawmakers.

The conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana are similar under all three medical marijuana measures and include cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS and terminal illnesses. Two of the proposals would amend the Missouri Constitution and one would amend state law.

The first medical marijuana proposal before voters will be Amendment 2, submitted by New Approach Missouri, the group that barely missed the ballot in 2016. It imposes a 4 percent tax on retail sales, with the $18 million in anticipated revenue set aside for veterans programs. Amendment 2 is the only one of the three proposals that allows patients to grow their own marijuana supply.

Amendment 3 would tax retail sales at 15 percent and wholesale transactions at $9.25 per ounce of dried flowers to generate an estimated $66 million for a medical board that would support research into cures for cancer and other illnesses.

The statutory proposal, which will be Proposition C on the ballot, taxes sales at 2 percent and the $10 million in estimated revenue would be split among veterans programs, early childhood education and public safety.

If any of the measures pass, Missouri would become the 31st state to allow medical marijuana sales. If more than one passes, conflicts would be resolved in favor of the measure that received the most votes.

The Amendment 2 proposal is the one that has the longest history among advocates. Jack Cardetti, spokesman for New Approach Missouri, said it has the broadest donor base and support among veterans' groups and health care providers. The campaign will emphasize advantages for patients, he said.

While the biggest difference is the level of the tax, the provision allowing patients to grow their own supply is an important part of the Amendment 2 proposal, he said.

“Ours is the most patient-friendly of the initiatives,” he said. “That is what most states that have passed ballot initiatives have done.”

The two other initiatives approved Thursday have strong campaigns backing their efforts. Missouri’s minimum wage is currently $7.85 an hour, a level 60 cents higher than the federal minimum thanks to an inflation adjustment included in a 2006 ballot measure. If passed, the minimum would increase to $8.60 on Jan. 1 and go up 85 cents a year until it reaches $12.

“Missouri’s minimum wage of $7.85 an hour is too low for even full-time workers to afford their basics: food, rent and more,” Bob Goodrich, president of the theater chain that includes Forum 8 in Columbia, said in a news release. “It hurts businesses and the economy when working people don’t have enough income to keep a roof overhead, put food on the table, and enjoy needed recreation like a movie every once in a while.”

Amendment 1 would ban almost all lobbyist gifts, limit contributions to candidates for the Missouri House to $2,000 and to the state Senate to $2,500 and create a new system for drawing legislative districts that takes into account partisan competitiveness and limits the number of cities and counties that are split among multiple districts.

Amendment 1 has gathered a bipartisan group of supporters, including former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth.

“Amendment 1 will ensure fair and competitive elections so elected officials cannot take their voters for granted and must earn their support,” Danforth said in a news release.

rkeller@columbiatribune.com

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