Over the past couple years, Missouri has been rapidly amping up its efforts to overturn drug war era policies and replace them with a regulated and robust medical marijuana marketplace. Though the state legalized medical marijuana in 2018, public policies on hemp and cannabis had been undergoing significant changes for several years. Find out the current status of Missouri’s marijuana, CBD, and hemp laws and learn how it applies to you!
Missouri Marijuana Laws: Recreational Marijuana
If you had checked in early March, Missouri was well on the way to becoming the 12th state to legalize marijuana for adult use. However the Missourians for a New Approach Campaign’s petition drive to put the measure on the November ballot was derailed by the outbreak of COVID-19.
The petition by Missourians for a New Approach would have:
- Legalized the adult use of marijuana for those 21 or older.
- Taxed sales at 15%, with the proceeds going to veterans, highways and drug addiction treatment.
- Allowed for people with marijuana convictions to be able to apply for sentence reductions and conviction expungement.
- Required local voter approval to ban dispensaries.
- Generated between $93 million and $155 million for state coffers annually, according to a fiscal analysis of the proposal
Despite the suspension of the campaign, efforts are already underway to initiate a new petition campaign for 2022.
Missouri Cannabis Laws: Medical Marijuana
Missouri has some of the most progressive medical marijuana laws in the country and has implemented a number of measures to ensure that patient access to medical cannabis is relatively unrestricted. This is demonstrated through the lengthy list of conditions that qualify state residents to receive a medical marijuana card.
Missouri List of Qualifying Medical Conditions
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
- Crohn’s disease
- Hepatitis C
- Huntington’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Intractable migraines
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other debilitating psychiatric disorders
- Sickle cell disease
- Terminal illness
- Any chronic condition treated with a medication that could lead to dependence
- Chronic conditions causing severe, persistent pain, or muscle spasms including:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
- Tourette’s syndrome
Missouri Possession Laws for Medical Marijuana Patients
Missouri allows for some of the highest levels of personal possession of medical marijuana of any state.
With a Standard Physician Certification, patients are allowed to purchase and possess 4 ounces of medical marijuana each month. Patients whose conditions require a higher amount of cannabis are able to submit two Alternative Physician Certification Forms, which allows them to purchase and possess up to 8 ounces of medical marijuana monthly. The state requires that each of these two alternative forms must be completed by two separate physicians with the same qualifying medical conditions listed.
Currently, there are 192 licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Missouri, and they are expected to open their doors for first sales to patients sometime late this summer.
Home Cultivation Laws for Medical Marijuana Patients
Like many other states, Missouri allows for medical marijuana patients or caregivers to cultivate marijuana plants inside their homes. If you are a qualifying Missouri patient, you can apply for a patient cultivation card to accompany your patient identification card. The cultivation card grants you the right to cultivate six flowering plants, six non-flowering plants, and six clones under 14 inches in height.
You can apply for your patient cultivation license at the same time as you submit your medical marijuana patient application, and it will cost you $100 on top of the $25 patient card application fee.
For more information on how to obtain your patient cultivation license, see our article on the subject Cultivation License Missouri.
Missouri Drug Possession Laws
Despite the fact that Missouri has legal medical marijuana, there are still a number of punishable offenses related to the possession of marijuana. The metropolitan areas of Saint Louis, Kansas City, and Columbia have made significant reductions to penalties and fines imposed upon isolated marijuana possession offenders, but the following are generally applicable across the state:
If a defendant is not a medical marijuana patient, simple possession of 10 grams or less is a class D misdemeanor punishable by nothing more than a fine if it is a first time offense. Subsequent possession offenses are punishable by up to a year in jail and $2,000 in fines. If a defendant has been previously found guilty of a drug crime in Missouri or another state, they will be charged with a class A misdemeanor and can receive up to a year in a year in jail as well as a $2,000 fine.
It is a class D felony offense to possess between 35 grams and 30 kilograms of marijuana. The maximum penalty is seven years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Possession of this quantity has historically been considered as intent to distribute.
Kansas City, Missouri Marijuana Possession Laws
Following the passage of Amendment 2 to legalize medical marijuana in 2018, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office announced that it would no longer prosecute marijuana possession cases for anything less than 100 grams. It should be noted that Jackson County continues to prosecute cases of marijuana distribution or cases in which the possession of marijuana results in drugged driving or where possession of marijuana results in harm to a child.
This move by the Prosecutor’s Office followed a move by voters in 2017 to approve a citizens petition initiative that reduced the maximum fine offenders could receive from city court for possessing 35 grams or less of pot from $500 to $25. It also eliminated possible jail time as a penalty
Saint Louis, Missouri Marijuana Possession Laws
In 2018, Circuit Attorney, Kim Garner, announced the Circuit Attorney’s office would no longer prosecute cases involving 100 grams of marijuana or less unless there are aggravating circumstances. In 2019, the Saint Louis County Prosecutor’s Office moved to fall in line with this approach to simple marijuana possession, only seeking charges in instances with intent to distribute.
Marijuana arrests in St. Louis had already been declining since 2013 following the passage of a partial decriminalization bill passed by the Board of Alderman that reduced the penalties for possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana. Before, possession of 35 grams or less of marijuana would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. However, in lieu of arresting Saint Louisans for possession of marijuana, police began handing out citations with associated fines between $100 – $500.
Columbia, Missouri Marijuana Possession Laws
Columbia was actually the first city in Missouri to actually pass any form of marijuana decriminalization law. In 2004, the city voted to pass a voter initiated municipal ordinance to decriminalize the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana and treat the offense as an infraction similar to a traffic ticket. The measure passed with 61% support, due partly to the participation of the student population of Missouri’s largest university.
Other Drug Offenses in Missouri
Sale of Marijuana
The sale, distribution, or trafficking of any amount of marijuana in Missouri is a felony and carries a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a $10,000 fine if the amount is less than 35 grams. The penalty for sale of between 35 grams and 350 kilograms carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Distributing near a school, recreational park, or near public housing can result in additional penalties, like added prison time and extra fines.
Sale of marijuana to a minor is also a felony that carries a mandatory minimum sentence of three years and a maximum of 15 years in prison in addition to a fine.
Trafficking of Marijuana
Otherwise considered an intent to deliver marijuana illegally, trafficking offenders in Missouri will face felony charges and jail time ranging from 3 years to life depending on a few factors, including whether the amount of marijuana in question is between 30 grams and 30 kilograms and whether the offender intended to traffick the marijuana across state lines or distribute within Missouri.
Illegal Cultivation of Marijuana
If you are not permitted to legally operate as a licensed cultivation facility or a patient home cultivator, you will be subject to felony charges if you are cultivating marijuana. If you are cultivating below 35 grams of marijuana, you will be subject to a class E felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison and a maximum $10,000 fine. If the amount cultivated exceeds 35 grams, you are subject to a class C felony, between 3-10 years in prison, and a maximum $10,000 fine. If the charge includes illegal cultivation near a school, you will be subject to a class B felony and 5-15 years in prison plus a fine.
Public Use of Cannabis
Even if you are a medical marijuana patient, the use of marijuana in public spaces or places of business in Missouri is illegal.
Employee Drug Testing and Medical Marijuana Use
Missouri’s new medical marijuana law does not change the legal situation for employees in Missouri. Though companies can choose not to penalize workers for having medical marijuana in their systems, Missouri employees can still be fired for testing positive on a drug test for cannabis.
Missouri Hemp and CBD Law
If you go through the proper channels, it is legal to cultivate, possess, and purchase both medical marijuana and industrial hemp in Missouri! Missouri has been a legal CBD state since 2014, when the General Assembly passed HB 2238, allowing for the medical treatment of epilepsy patients with CBD oil. Patients must receive the recommendation of a neurologist to qualify, and two non-profit organizations were licensed to cultivate industrial hemp high in CBD.
In 2018, the federal government revised the Farm Bill, implementing regulatory standards for industrial hemp production and allowing states to oversee and regulate those programs as they see fit within the guidelines. According to the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp products must stay below .3% THC and contain at least 5% CBD.
In response to these updated guidelines, Missouri modified its own hemp cultivation laws and regulatory rules. All across Missouri, it’s not difficult to find a gas station, grocery store, or supplement store that offers some form of CBD infused products, whether it be lotions, tinctures, or infused beverages.
Missouri Marijuana Laws in Conclusion
Missouri currently has legalized medical marijuana and is seeing the regulated program come online as licensed cultivation, dispensary, and infused-product manufacturers undergo their official commencement inspections. Patients participating in the program are exempt from statewide restrictions on marijuana purchase, possession, and home cultivation. For Missourians who are not yet patients, there are a variety of restrictions and penalties for marijuana related offenses. Although the city of Saint Louis, Columbia, Saint Louis County, and Jackson County have all taken major steps to decrease penalties for marijuana possession, marijuana remains illegal statewide.
For more detailed information on Missouri’s Medical Marijuana Program, visit the following online resources.
Medical Marijuana Program Regulations (See Definitions & Patient/Caregiver Rules)