The Missouri House has rejected a proposal to legalize medical marijuana.

The legislation failed on a 66-87 vote Thursday after lawmakers scaled it back to only permit cancer patients in hospice to use the drug.

The pro-legalization National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said of the 23 states to permit medical cannabis, only Florida's laws were comparably narrow.

Some supporters of expanding access to marijuana said they could not support such a limited measure. Other opponents said permitting any form of legalized marijuana would lead to higher use among teenagers and, potentially, even looser drugs laws in the future.

But some lawmakers said inaction on marijuana legislation could embolden activists who are seeking to put a more expansive measure on the ballot.

iStock