by Missouri Health & Wellness
When it comes to cannabis policy, Missouri has been one of the most restrictive states. Just like it was the case with other states, Missouri prohibited all forms of cannabis in the early 1900s and had harsh penalties for those selling and possessing it. But at the end of the century, governments began to respond to pressure from physicians and patients by introducing the first laws to make cannabis available for medical use. Missouri became the 35th state to do so by introducing the legislation in 1994. However, marijuana still wasn’t recognized as medicine under federal law, so it was difficult to enforce the new legislation.
In 2014, the state signed the Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill into law, allowing patients with severe seizures access to CBD oil. That same year, Missouri lawmakers changed the law and penalties for individuals possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana.
In November 2018, voters finally approved Amendment 2 to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes by qualified marijuana patients. Over the past years, Missouri has amped up its legalized medical marijuana efforts to overturn policies dating from the drug war era and replace them with a regular medical cannabis marketplace.
Find out more about the current status of Missouri’s marijuana, hemp, and CBD laws, as well as how its medical marijuana program applies to you.
Recreational Marijuana Laws
According to current marijuana laws, recreational marijuana remains illegal in Missouri. However, penalties for possession of marijuana were reduced in 2014 by enacting Senate Bill 491 that partially decriminalized possession of the plant. Currently, possession of up to 10g is considered a misdemeanor with a max fine of $500 while possession of more than 35g, but less than 30kg, can come with jail time of up to 7 years and a fine of $10,000.
Today, Missouri is on its way to becoming the 12th state to legalize cannabis for adult use. The campaign Missourians for a New Approach launched a petition to try and put the measure among November ballot initiatives, but this effort was derailed by the COVID-19 outbreak. This petition would have:
- Legalized cannabis in Missouri for adult use (for those 21 or older).
- Allowed for individuals with marijuana convictions to be able to apply for conviction expungement and sentence reductions.
- Taxed marijuana sales at 15%, with the proceeds going to drug addiction treatment and veterans.
- Generated between $90 million and $150 million for state treasures annually.
Although the campaign was suspended, there are efforts to initiate a new one for 2022.
Medical Marijuana Laws
For a state that’s been so restrictive, Missouri has some of the most progressive medical cannabis laws in the U.S. Beyond reduced possession limits, the state has implemented various measures to ensure that patient access to medical marijuana in Missouri is (relatively) unrestricted. The list of medical marijuana regulation conditions that qualify individuals to receive a medical marijuana card is lengthy (with the possibility of adding new conditions in the future).
- Any terminal illness
- Agitation of Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Debilitating psychiatric disorders (If diagnosed by a state-licensed psychiatrist)
- Huntington’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Intractable migraines (patient is unresponsive to other treatment)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Sickle cell anemia
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (If diagnosed by a state-licensed psychiatrist)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Wasting syndrome
- Tourette’s syndrome
- A chronic health condition that is normally treated with prescription medication could lead to psychological or physical dependence when a state-licensed physician determines that the use of medical marijuana could be useful in treating that condition.
- A chronic health condition that causes persistent muscle spasms or severe, persistent pain.
- Any other debilitating or chronic condition that can be treated with the medical use of marijuana (in the professional judgment of a licensed physician).
Possession Laws for Medical Marijuana Patients
Compared to all other states that have legalized the use of medical marijuana, the state of Missouri allows for high levels of possession of medical cannabis. With a Standard Physician Certification and Missouri residence, cannabis patients are allowed to buy and possess 4 ounces of medical cannabis each month. It is illegal for patients to sell or trade their marijuana amongst each other.
If your qualifying condition requires a higher amount of marijuana for proper treatment, you can submit two Alternative Physician Certification Forms to be completed by two separate medical cannabis doctors with the same qualifying medical conditions listed. Once approved, you’ll be able to buy and possess up to 8 ounces of medical cannabis monthly. There are 192 state-licensed cannabis dispensaries in Missouri at the moment, and they are expected to open their doors for first sales soon.
Medical Marijuana Cultivation Laws
Medical cannabis patients and caregivers are allowed to cultivate the herb inside their homes once they get a cultivation license. If you’re a qualifying patient, you can apply for a cannabis patient cultivation ID card to accompany your patient ID. It will grant you the right to cultivate six flowering marijuana plants, six non-flowering plants, and six clones (all under 14 inches in height). You can apply for the cultivation license at the same time as you apply for a patient ID card. The patient card application fee is $25, while the cultivation license will cost you another $100.
Where can you grow your medical marijuana?
Whether you’re growing outdoors or indoors, you must grow your medical cannabis in an enclosed, locked facility. An indoor stationary closet, greenhouse, garage, room, or other comparable enclosed space equipped with function security devices that permit access only to the qualifying patient(s) or caregiver(s) who have informed the Department of Health and Senior Services that this is the space where they’ll cultivate medical cannabis.
As for outdoor growing, it requires an outdoor stationary structure enclosed on all sides by wooden slates, chain-link fencing, or other material that is affixed, attached, or anchored to the ground that can’t be accessed from the top. Also, the plants within the structure cannot be visible to the unaided eye from surrounding properties when viewed by anyone at ground level or from a structure at any level. It also must be equipped with security devices that permit access only to the qualifying patient(s) or caregiver(s) who have informed the Missouri DHSS that this is the space where they’ll cultivate medical cannabis.
Rules about shared cultivation
The state of Missouri allows for a maximum of two patients/caregivers to cultivate cannabis in the same space. The individuals can be two licensed patients, two caregivers, or any combination of the two.
In the shared cultivation space, there may be only 12 flowering plants, 12 non-flowering plants, and 12 clones (up to 14 inches in height). If one of the two individuals is both a licensed patient and caregiver, that person can add six more flowering plants, non-flowering plants, and clones to the shared space (so that he or she may cultivate cannabis for the underage patient, as well). Each plant must be clearly labeled with the patient’s/caregiver’s name, and all cultivation IDs must be posted in the shared growing facility.
Missouri Possession Laws
Although medical marijuana is now legal in Missouri, there are still a number of punishable offenses related to marijuana possession. The metropolitan areas of Columbia, Kansas City, and Saint Louis have made significant reductions to fines and penalties imposed upon isolated cannabis possession offenders. However, the following laws are applicable across the state:
- If you are not a medical marijuana patient, possession of 10 grams of cannabis or less is a class D misdemeanor. If this is a first-time offense, the defendant will be punished by a fine.
- Subsequent cannabis possession offenses are punishable by a maximum fine of $2,000 and up to a year in prison.
- If the defendant has previously been found guilty of a drug-related crime in Missouri or another state, he or she will be charged with a class A misdemeanor. This is punishable with $2,000 in fines and up to a year in prison.
- If the defendant possesses between 35g and 30kg of marijuana, it is a class D felony which is punishable with a maximum of $10,000 in fines and seven years in prison. Possession of that quantity of cannabis has historically been considered as intent to distribute.
Missouri Marijuana DUI Law
When it comes to driving under the influence of cannabis, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services doesn’t make any punishment exceptions. Even if an individual is a licensed medical marijuana patient, the ID card doesn’t offer protection from violating laws pertaining to driving a vehicle while under the influence of cannabis.
In 2019, the state of Missouri awarded ten businesses with medical marijuana licenses as cannabis testing laboratory facilities. To oversee marijuana testing regulations for medical cannabis, Missouri has created a Facility Licensing and Compliance Unit.
For a summary of Missouri Medical Marijuana Law and an access to all the Bills, click here.
Medical cannabis in Missouri has been decriminalized, but recreational cannabis still remains illegal. To be able to purchase, possess, or cultivate medical cannabis, you will need to obtain a medical cannabis identification card to qualify for protection under Missouri law. The easiest way to obtain a marijuana ID card is to schedule an evaluation with a medical marijuana doctor via the Missouri Health and Wellness website. We have partnered with Midwest Cannabinoid Clinics, a clinic that provides medical cannabis certifications to qualified patients to help them obtain their medical cannabis card.