Panelists speak on the legalization of medical marijuana in Missouri

Washington University’s Young Americans for Liberty hosted the panel “Higher Quality Care: A Medical Marijuana Panel” to discuss the legalization of medical marijuana in the state of Missouri Tuesday.

Young Americans for Liberty hosted three panelists in collaboration with Washington University’s College Democrats and New Approach Missouri, a campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Missouri. The three panelists included: John Payne, campaign manager for New Approach Missouri; Lonnie Kessler, a patient and medical cannabis advocate; Dr. Elan Simckes, a fertility physician and member of New Approach Missouri’s advisory board.

Students listen to panelists speaking at the health panel discussing the uses of medical marijuana.

Andrew Eichen, senior and president of Young Americans for Liberty, thought it was important to host the panel to educate students about the benefits of medicinal cannabis.

Each panelist brought a different perspective to the discussion of the legalization of medical marijuana in Missouri. Payne began the discussion with a description of New Approach Missouri’s initiative.

“It is not a full legalization measure, but it is a very broad medical cannabis measure. We’re really trying to put the power in the hands of doctors to make the determination who among their patients needs medical cannabis,” Payne said. “We don’t try to restrict it to just a few qualifying conditions. We say any condition that a doctor believes can be helped by medical cannabis, they [should be able to] make a recommendation for their patients to go out and legally obtain that cannabis. It’s also a very patient-friendly measure.”

Kessler continued the conversation by sharing his own personal story. In 2007, he was diagnosed with a softball-sized brain tumor. Eleven years and two surgeries later, Kessler has been left with a host of health issues including epilepsy, which has stopped responding to his medication.

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