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Marijuana Legalization Debate Comes To Sikeston

Bailey McCormick

Around 30 people gathered in Sikeston Tuesday night to listen and debate the potential legalization of marijuana in Missouri.

Some were supportive of medical use of marijuana like Brandy Johnson of Bernie, Mo. Johnson’s son, Tres, has a rare medical condition that at one point caused him to have more than 300 seizures daily.

Johnson argued that the use of medical marijuana oils could help her son’s severe medical condition.

“Tres’ seizures haven’t lasted for more than four minutes at a time, but he does still have to be resuscitated and he has died in my arms twice,” Johnson said. “Our only other option is to either fight for the medicine that my son and so many others rely on or to move to Colorado and at this moment we can’t afford to move to Colorado.”

Johnson said this is Tres’ last resort because they have tried every form of treatment available to them. The medicines they have tried so far only show temporary improvement. Johnson said in some cases of epilepsy, children have gone from hundreds of seizures a day to a few every month using medical marijuana treatments.

“We should be able to get all of the available treatments to help us. In so many cases like my son’s this is the only option for treatment that there is in the world. There’s nothing else that we haven’t tried and this has been proven to help kids just drastically,” Johnson said.

Few people spoke openly against legalization. Show-Me Cannabis director John Payne said some of the most frequently heard arguments against legalization are youth use and driving regulations.

“I think that is a perfectly logical thing to be concerned about because no matter what the substance is, if you start using at a young age it’s more likely you’ll have problems with,” Payne said.

Payne said both could be dealt with by modeling alcohol regulations, similar to the laws in Colorado.

Payne said members of Show-Me Cannabis will gather signature to get marijuana legalization on the ballot in 2016.

Bailey McCormick was an intern reporter for KRCU in 2014.