CASH CROP

A couple of Ray Countians, Danny Goodman and Bruce White, applied to grow cannabis plants for use as medicine under strict state guidelines and monitoring.

More than 64 percent of Ray Countians in November agreed Missourians should be able to grow, process and sell cannabis for medical use.

But the idea that cannabis-based businesses could operate in Ray County may still concern some people. They should not worry for several reasons. The following are “The Four Freedoms from Worry...

• One basis for freedom from worry is historic. In the 1800s, in this area, hemp used to be a cash crop. In nearby Liberty, for example, Alvin Lighburne operated a hemp factory. At the Battle of the Hemp Bales in nearby Lexington, Southern troops used hemp to achieve victory. An account states the Southerners used bales of hemp to surround and defeat Northern troops. In addition to growing in abundance in this area, up until the time the government made doing so illegal, there is no record to support concern that hemp caused area problems. There is no rational worry now that hemp is going to cause harm to people.

• Another freedom from worry has an economic basis. Recreational marijuana users want the high, or psychoactive effect, that comes from the plant’s tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. But medical users want the hemp’s cannabidiol, or CBD, for health benefits – an alternative to physically addictive and potentially deadly opioids. From a profitability standpoint, Goodman and White will want to grow the varieties of cannabis that produce the most CBD, not the most THC. There is no cause for worry because they do not plan, nor can they do so legally, to sell what they grow for recreation.

• A third freedom from worry is mathematical. The Missouri Department of Human Services will grant licenses to operate within the cannabis growth, processing and sales chain. But the number of applicants to operate within the supply chain, so far, more than doubles the number of available state licenses, meaning Goodman and White have less than a 50-50 chance to get a license, despite paying $10,000 each to apply. The odds are not good, and if one or both of them are licensed, they will face fierce competition in the marketplace.

• The law provides the fourth freedom from worry. Any operation within the medical marijuana chain that fails to follow the law faces various forms of legal retaliation from the state, from being shut down to being jailed.

There is one other reason not to worry – Goodman and White. They are not sketchy people. Goodman is a factory worker with a family. White is a horticulturalist. They are people who live here. They are neighbors trying to make an honest living. That makes them typical Ray Countians.

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