There was a bit of backlash against a member of the Busch family for his support of medical marijuana in Missouri. Adolphus Busch IV sent out a letter Friday and another a week earlier.
They urge people to donate to the effort to gather signatures to put the issue before voters on the November 2018 ballot. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA) doesn't like it.
Mr. Busch’s letter paints medical marijuana as a solution to the opioid crisis now gripping Missouri and the rest of the country.
“There’s a lot of messaging that’s been very simplified like this letter…saying that if we support this initiative then we can solve the opioid crisis,” said Stacie Zellin of NCADA. “There are absolutely risks, one of the biggest being dependency and/or addiction.”
Busch wrote the letter for the “pro” medical marijuana group New Approach Missouri.
The group points to a study showing opioid overdose deaths were down more than 25% in states where medical marijuana has been legalized.
Busch’s letter claims 68% of Missourians support legalization for medical use.
Talk show host Montel Williams – who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis -- is among those who’ve urged Missouri lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana in recent years.
The NCADA is not against using marijuana as medicine but wants it handled like a pharmaceutical with clinical trials and FDA approval before products go market.
In the NCADA’s view, Mr. Busch’s letter carries an air of commercialization.
“One of the largest concerns is who it’s coming from. This is someone who benefited from the profits of the alcohol industry,” Zellin said. “You go into a dispensary. You don’t go into a pharmacy. This is also not prescribed to you by a doctor. You get a note that it is recommended to you…then when you do walk into a dispensary, there isn’t that reliability in terms of product you’re getting, in terms of dosage, or what the different chemicals are in it…that’s a huge problem we’re seeing out in Colorado. There’s products in these dispensaries that have THC levels up to 70-80%. That’s the part of marijuana that also causes damage to the brain.”
A spokesman for him said Busch had no commercial or economic interest in the issue. The letters went out to be about 70 people, he said.