Saint Louis Launch Party Draws a Crowd
We would like to extend our thanks to the approximately 80 contributors who attended our launch party in Saint Louis last Friday evening. The event was a great success, bringing together so many supporters and raising nearly $4,000 for the cause in grassroots contributions! Please consider contributing to the campaign to keep up this momentum!
I had the pleasure of emceeing the program and introducing the campaign consultant for New Approach Missouri, Jack Cardetti. Jack talked about the strong public support for medical cannabis we've found in public policy polling, both through our own research and independent polls. Majorities of every voter demographic in the state except those over the age of 75 would support a medical cannabis initiative, and Jack pointed out that this the a rare issue that largely transcends party, ideology, region, and even age.
We know we have the public support, so our biggest challenge isn't convincing people to vote for our initiative; most are already predisposed in its favor. The biggest struggle, Jack argued, is to gather over 160,000 valid signatures needed to access the ballot, which will require raising over $1 million between now and May 8, 2016.
Jack then introduced Past State Commander for the Department of Missouri Veterans of Foreign Wars Tom Mundell. Tom was one of the two people who filed our initiative with the Secretary of State earlier this month, and he spoke about how he has witnessed medical cannabis turn around the lives of veterans who have suffered terrible injuries in combat. Some of these veterans have gone from relying on a cocktail composed of scores of pharmaceuticals to make it through each day and wanting to end their lives to replacing many of their prescriptions with cannabis and flourishing. I have heard Tom give similar speeches many times, but it never fails to move the emotions.
Furthermore, Tom discussed how our proposal will benefit Missouri's chronically underfunded veteran's services. The license fees and small tax on cannabis will be allocated into a new Veterans Health and Care Fund and cover such services to veterans as the Missouri Veterans' Home, mental health and drug treatment, and homelessness prevention. As Jack said in his introduction of Tom, "We do a very good job in this country of sending our soldiers off to war, but we don't do as well taking care of them when they come home."
Finally, I introduced Michael Mandel, a young man from the Saint Louis area who suffers from severe Crohn's Disease. Just a few years ago, Mike had a very promising future ahead of him, as he was pursuing an advanced degree in physics. However, with the onset and worsening of his Crohn's, he was forced to withdraw from school and move back home with his parents. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy to treat the disease and struggles daily just to eat and sleep, which most of us take for granted.
Medical cannabis can treat many of the symptoms of Crohn's, but it seems that, for some patients, cannabis can even send the disease into complete remission. If we legalize cannabis therapy in Missouri, we can give patients like Mike another option that can diminish their pain and allow them to live more fulfilling lives.
We are off to a good start to reach that goal, but it's not going to happen without support from people like you. If you believe that it's time for Missouri to stop criminalizing medicine, I urge you to make a contribution of $5, $25, $50, or more now. We can make a difference, but it will take all of us working together.