Secretary of State Jason Kander announced the results of the Amendment 1 recount. It “confirmed the passage of Amendment 1.” This will add a section 35 to Article 1 of the Missouri Constitution, which will read:
Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.
There are qualifiers in there.
“Agriculture” must provide:
- Health benefits
Another law passed this year was championed by Sen. Eric Schmitt, who gave a passionate speech on the Senate floor, urging his fellow Senators to vote to allow cannabis oil to be used in Missouri:
Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, told a hushed chamber that his son had his first infantile spasm at 11 months old and a four-hour seizure when he was 2 years old.
“He was convulsing uncontrollable, foaming at the mouth, the bedspread was wet. It was a terrible moment for us,” Schmitt said. “There was nothing anybody could do. I remember holding his hand and praying.”
Schmitt said Stephen was “maxed out” on all of his medications and that after looking into the CBD oil as a treatment, it sounded like a good option.
“The hardest part is the fear. The fear that you live with that the next one could be that four-hour one — or worse,” Schmitt said. “The promise of CBD oil is real … I don’t know if this will work. We’ve had hope before. It might or it might not.”
Clinical trials on a CBD extract are underway in the U.S., but they are limited to particular locations. The drug derived from marijuana plants is produced by a British-based company called GW Pharmaceuticals, and FDA clinical trials are being conducted at six U.S. locations.
CBD extract is one medicinal use for the cannabis plant.
Business Insider lists twenty-two other uses, some better than others, including glaucoma, slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and easing the pain and nausea associated with chemotherapy.
So, the question is, when you look at the list of “health benefits” derived for the cannabis plant, and then look at Amendment 1, is the right of cannabis growers to engage in farming now guaranteed in this state, forever?
It’s a question I posed to the Attorney General’s office. They replied, “Unfortunately, we are not in a position where we can offer any kind of informal legal interpretations regarding the recent passage of Amendment I as the Attorney General’s Office could ultimately end up representing the State of Missouri in litigation regarding the matter.”
I’ll sure they will.
Now a person could argue that “subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri” grants the Public Safety director authority to enforce Missouri’s drug laws, and that’s possible.
But it’s also possible a person could say Amendment 1 makes drug laws regarding cannabis unconstitutional.
Remember the qualifiers mentioned above. We’ve covered medicinal use. What about the rest?
Well, cannabis can be used in food.
Energy? Apparently, it’s very good for bio-fuels:
Cannabis seeds, often discarded, contain the plant’s oils that can be turned into fuel. At the University of Connecticut, researchers found industrial hemp to contain viable qualities for producing biodiesel. Hemp biodiesel produced by graduate students at the school had a 97 percent conversion efficiency.
There’s this line of thinking:
Afghanistan’s cannabis crop is funding terror groups; a reality that directly undermines the White House’s stated counterterrorism objectives. According to a 2010 Time article titled, Afghanistan’s New Bumper Drug Crop: Cannabis, federally legalizing marijuana would drain cash from insurgents in the ongoing Afghanistan War:
“‘Afghanistan is using some of its best land to grow cannabis,’ says Antonia Maria Costa, director of the UN drug office in Vienna. ‘If they grew wheat instead, insurgents would not have money to buy weapons and the international community would not have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on food aid.’
… ‘Eradicating marijuana and opium fields can breed resentment by people and be destabilizing,’ says John Dempsey, a rule-of-law adviser to U.S. and Afghan officials for the U.S. Institute of Peace.
… Groups of armed drug traffickers, meanwhile, travel through the countryside, buying opium and cannabis at the farm gates for cash. For many farmers in the area, making a living and staying alive — sadly — go hand in hand.”
It can be argued that the cannabis plant meets not one, but all four qualifiers to be defined as “agriculture” protected by Amendment 1.
It’s possible Amendment 1 will be used as a vehicle to try to legalize marijuana in Missouri, so it’s really just a matter of time before we find out what the courts think.
Even if a court does say it makes growing it legal, Amendment 1 does nothing to legalize its usage, either for medicinal or recreational purposes. It’s possible a judge might say, “Yeah, you can grow it, but you can’t sell it or use it.”
It might just be something legalization activists use to move the ball forward, or as a way to elevate their visibility.
What do you think? Will anyone try to make this argument, and if so, how do you see it turning out?