State house candidates discuss medical marijuana and other proposals

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Candidates for several mid-Missouri legislative races gathered Tuesday morning to discuss their stances on several proposed constitutional amendments, including medical marijuana, minimum wage and ethics reform.

The Missouri University Retirees Association organized the event, which was attended by almost 100 people. Candidates in each of the races were assigned one topic to discuss.

Rep. Cheri Toalson Reisch, R-Hallsville, and her opponent, Maren Bell Jones, discussed Proposition D, the fuel tax.

"I think people who use the roads should pay for the roads," Toalson Reisch said. "We have not had a gas tax increase for a very, very long time, and the cost to repair our roads and bridges continues to keep going up."

Jones said she favored the gas tax as well. She said that option was better than toll roads.

"We look at a place like Oklahoma where there are toll roads, the roads are really not that much better," she said.

Rep. Martha Stevens, D-Columbia, and her opponent, Cathy D. Richards, discussed Amendment 2, Amendment 3 and Proposition C, which are all about legalizing, regulating and taxing medical marijuana.

"Amendment 2 would be the best one," Stevens said of the proposal that would tax medical weed at 4 percent. "Overall, I do support medical marijuana in Missouri."

Richards said she supported medical marijuana in general because as a public administrator she saw people struggle with pain.

"I had a lot of people with all glaucoma, all kinds of problems," she said. "It's very painful."

Rep. Chuck Basye, R-Rocheport, and Adrian Plank disagreed on Amendment 1, the Clean Missouri initiative.

"Iím against the Clean Missouri proposal," Basye said. "I think itís too broad. It covers too many issues. But the main problem with the amendment is going to be the way itís done. It gives too much power to the state auditor."

Plank went the opposite way.

"We need to clean up politics," he said.

Rep. Kip Kendrick, D-Columbia, who is unopposed on the November ballot, discussed Proposition B, which would increase Missouriís minimum wage 85 cents per hour each year to $12 by 2023.

"I think itís a good proposal," he said. "Minimum wage right now is $7.85 in the state of Missouri. Itís impossible to live on $7.85 an hour."

Supervising editor is Sky Chadde.

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