Local politicians show bipartisan support for legalizing medical marijuana

State and local representatives from Boone County showed their support for legalizing medical marijuana at a fundraising event held Wednesday evening at Room 38 restaurant.

The event was hosted by Better Way Missouri, a political action committee that advocates for drug policy and criminal justice reform. The Columbia event was the first of four the group has coordinated, with stops in Kansas City and Springfield, according to its website.

Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, Boone County Clerk Taylor Burks and City Councilman Mike Trapp attended the event. Eapen Thampy, a Better Way spokesman, said their attendance showed the issue was crossing partisan boundaries.

Thampy said that having someone as liberal as Trapp and someone as conservative as Toalson Reisch agreeing on legalization of medical marijuana made a statement.

In this year’s legislative session, Toalson Reisch co-sponsored a bill that would allow people with serious medical conditions to use marijuana for medical purposes. The House approved it, but it died in the Senate.

Toalson Reisch said she is in favor of using marijuana for medical purposes but not recreationally.

“I had a sister-in-law die of cancer,” she said. “I have seen a lot of people suffering from cancer, and if it is something that can help them, why would we not try it”

Burks, a Republican, said he supports legislation that involves expanding access to medical marijuana.

“As a veteran I support medical marijuana,” he said. “Veterans with different conditions should have access to all forms of treatment including medical marijuana.”

In 2018, the committee reported raising around $37,000, according to its campaign finance reports.

Thampy said its mission is

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