City of Columbia Second Ward Councilman Michael Trapp held a press conference Monday afternoon to explain his support for legalizing medical cannabis in Missouri.
Trapp said the legalization of medical cannabis would decrease opioid epidemic mortality because cannabis is a safer alternative for treating chronic pain. Trapp is a certified substance abuse counselor in Missouri and worked in a medical marijuana clinic in California.
“When people have access to medical cannabis, they use less dangerous prescription drugs and that actually saves the taxpayers money,” he said.
Trapp has a personal connection to this issue. His 90-year-old uncle is prescribed fentanyl for pain, and Trapp says in other states medical cannabis would have been a legal and safer option.
“If we had a medical marijuana regime, that decision would be between my uncle and his doctor, and instead that decision has been made by the state,” Trapp said.
He compared city council’s role in the legalization of medical cannabis to its role in the drug monitoring program.
“The city council should not be addressing social issues, and I am somewhat in agreement with that,” Trapp said. “We have a long-standing policy to only address those things that have immediate local impact. I think I’ve made the case that we have immediate local impact with the opioid epidemic.”
Trapp’s proposed resolution is on the agenda at tonight’s city council meeting. It first proposed and tabled in December until city council could do more research. The Board of Health showed support for this resolution, and Trapp says the public has also shown support.