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3 marijuana questions on your ballot today

(AP) — Missouri voters will decide on Tuesday whether to support one, two or three different options to allow medical marijuana for treatment of cancer, HIV and other conditions.

Three separate medical marijuana proposals are on the ballot, the result of three successful and unrelated petition drives.

They are among several issues confronting Missouri voters, who also will also vote on whether to gradually raise the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour from the current $7.85 per hour; raise the state gas tax, currently 17 cents per gallon, by 10 cents per gallon to fund road and bridge improvements, and whether to create a new position of nonpartisan demographer to draw state House and Senate boundaries based on the 2020 Census.

Passage of any of the three medical marijuana issues would mean that Missouri becomes the 31st state to approve its use (Utah voters also are considering a medical marijuana ballot issue). Legislative researchers have estimated that more than $100 million worth of medical marijuana could be sold annually.

Two of the ballot measures are constitutional amendments and the other would change state law. Legal experts predict a court battle if more than one of the measures is approved.

Based on information from the Missouri Secretary of State’s office, constitutional amendments take precedence over the state law proposition, and if both constitutional amendments pass, the one with the most “yes” votes takes effect.

But among the unresolved issues: If a measure passes but is nevertheless trumped by one of the others, would its non-conflicting provisions also become law?

Constitutional Amendment 2, from a coalition of patients, doctors and veterans called New Approach Missouri, emphasizes the value of medical marijuana for veterans. Post-traumatic stress disorder is among the qualifying conditions, and a 4 percent sales tax goes to a newly-created fund for health and care services for veterans.

The competing constitutional change proposal, Amendment 3, was financed almost exclusively by Brad Bradshaw, a Springfield personal injury attorney and medical doctor. It’s funding mechanism: A 15 percent tax on the retail sale of marijuana as well as a wholesale tax on the sale of marijuana flowers and leaves. Those funds would be used to create a new state institute to research “presently incurable diseases.”

Opponents have criticized a provision giving Bradshaw broad powers over the new research institute, including choosing its board members.

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