Growing Marijuana In Missouri
How To Get Started Growing Your Own Medical Marijuana In MO
Growing marijuana in Missouri can get you in super big trouble — that is unless you’re a card-holding medical marijuana patient or caregiver.
In this post, we’ll talk about the conditions under which you can legally grow marijuana in Missouri. We’ll also cover the stiff penalties you could face if you grow your own pot without meeting those conditions or if you exceed the limits set by law. And finally we’ll talk about actually getting growing.
The short of it is that medical marijuana patients in Missouri are permitted to have up to 18 plants growing on their own property — six flowering plants, six non-flowering plants, and six seedlings or clones. Frankly, there’s no reason anyone should need to exceed that limit if they’re doing a proper job of growing cannabis.
To put things in context, let’s look at a little backstory to see how we got here.
Medical Marijuana In Missouri
The clear winner in the November 2018 nationwide midterm elections was cannabis. The election brought the number of states with medical marijuana programs up to 32 (now 34). That day, Missouri residents passed a ballot measure known as Amendment 2 with a two-thirds mandate officially establishing a medical marijuana program in the state. A record 1.6 million people voted in favor of the measure accounting for more than 65 percent of total votes cast. Considering most people don’t vote on ballot measures this is an amazing show of support by Missourians.
The bad news is that licensed medical marijuana dispensaries are not expected to be open for business until December of 2020. The good news, however, is that under Amendment 2, which is considered by some to be among the best medical marijuana programs in the country, card-carrying medical marijuana patients are permitted to grow their own medicine.
Should you bother to get a Missouri marijuana grower’s permit?
Now, you may be thinking, “why should I register for the medical marijuana program when I can just grow my own weed at home?” Well, there is the one downside that without a permit it’s against the law. And the penalties for cultivating marijuana in Missouri without a medical marijuana card can be quite harsh.
Yes, it’s true that the possession of marijuana has been decriminalized in Missouri, but A) holding more than 10 grams makes you a criminal, and B) growing marijuana has not been decriminalized outside of the medical program.
For starters, if you’re caught with more than ten grams but less than 35 grams of marijuana you’re looking at a $500 ticket. But that’s just the first offense. A second offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000. Moreover, the possession of more than 35 grams, or about an ounce and a quarter, is a felonious crime punishable by a fine up to $10,000. That’s a lot, but it’s nothing compared to the income you could potentially lose due to spending a whopping 7 years in prison.
That’s just for possession of marijuana. What about being convicted of growing marijuana? Hold onto your chair. Being convicted of cultivation of a mere 35 grams is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. More than 35 grams and you’re looking at rotting in jail for up to ten years. And that’s only if authorities don’t also charge you with trafficking. Furthermore, growing near a school pushes prison time up to 15 years. That’s quite a long time, folks. Imagine what life will be like when you get out in the year 2035.
Penalties for Marijuana Cultivation Without a Permit
10 to 35 grams - Felony 4 years $ 10,000
More than 35 grams - Felony 3 - 10 years $ 10,000
Near a school - Felony 5 - 15 years Twice profit
Missouri marijuana growing rules and regs
Aside from the requirement of obtaining an identification card from the Department of Health, there’s an additional $100 fee to register as a grower.
The main catch is that you can’t just grow weed in your backyard. Your plants must be contained in a “closed, locked facility.”
If you’re approved for cultivation, according to the DHS website, you’ll get a cultivation identification card, “which shall be clearly displayed within the enclosed cultivation area and in close proximity to the marijuana plants.” Furthermore, “the authorization shall list the name of the qualifying patient or primary caregiver and the address of the facility in which that qualifying patient or primary caregiver is authorized to cultivate marijuana.”
Once you’re signed up you’ll be permitted to legally grow up to six flowering plants, six non-flowering plants, and six clones or seedlings. That’s a lot, actually. If you’re growing indoors and you time it right you’ll be looking at a substantial quarterly harvest.
None of this is news to you unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, but something you may not know is that two patients can share one “growing facility” and increase the number of plants to 12 flowering plants, 12 non-flowering plants, and 12 clones. And caregivers are permitted up to 18 flowering plants, 18 non-flowering plants, and 18 clones.
Another condition to make your grow legal is that “all cultivated flowering marijuana plants in the possession of a qualifying patient or primary caregiver shall be clearly labeled with the qualifying patient’s name.” So, if you’re sharing a grow you’ll have six flowering plants with your name on them, and another six with your cohort’s name on them. And if you’re a caregiver you’ll have three sets of plants with three different patient’s names on them.
Getting Growing in Missouri
Let’s start out this section by saying that, currently, at the time of writing, there is no legal way to acquire Marijuana seeds or clones in Missouri. Missouri law states that after Dec. 31, 2020, you must obtain seeds or plants from a licensed dispensary. In the meantime, between now and the time clones become available, which should be some time in early 2020, you’re on your own.
This may seem like an obvious statement, but there are two ways to grow medical marijuana — indoors and outdoors. What’s not obvious to beginners is that there are many ways to grow marijuana both indoors and outdoors. You’ll have to do your homework to decide which method is right for you.
You might not have a choice as to whether to grow indoors or outdoors. Maybe you don’t have space indoors or can’t build a closed and locked area outdoors. Maybe the only outdoor space you have is a balcony. Any number of factors can weigh on your decision as to where and how to grow.
But here are some quick things to consider:
- Length of growing season – If you’re growing indoors you can harvest every three to four months or so, whereas growing outdoors under natural light your time is limited and you’ll get one, or maybe two harvests. If you’re growing outdoors in the northern parts of the state, clones can be put outside in April or early May. In the central and southern regions, plants can usually be put outdoors sometime in April. You might extend your growing season by a month or two if you use a greenhouse. But greenhouses aren’t cheap by any means. You could also get a head start by using a clear plastic tent to protect seedlings from frost.
- Space requirements – The amount of space you have might be a huge factor in how much marijuana you can grow. Growing six mature plants, six non-flowering plants, and six seedlings can take up a lot of space. If you’re growing indoors or on a balcony your canopy space might be more limited resulting in fewer plants and smaller harvests.
- Weather conditions – If you’re growing outdoors your results may vary. Results will depend on how many days of sunshine there are, what the average temperatures are, and so on. Unfortunately, with only about 120 days of sunshine a year, Missouri is no Colorado. Nonetheless, you should not have a problem growing outdoors.
- Pest control – If you’re growing outdoors you’ll have more problems with pests. Controlling pests can be a tough job.
- Electrical costs – If you’re growing indoors, keep in mind that you’ll be burning up the kilowatt-hours running lights, fans, pumps, and so on. It can get costly.
- Odors – If you’re growing indoors, unless you like your house smelling like a skunk all the time you need to have a really good ventilation system.
Whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors you have a range of choices as to how you’re going to grow including potted soil, hydroponics, and aeroponics. We’re not going to get into the nitty-gritty of growing marijuana here. Let it suffice to say that if you’re going to do this you should do it right, and that means educating yourself on how to do it right. Resources for beginner, intermediate, and expert growers alike abound online. There are more growing tip videos on YouTube than you can shake a stem at.
We wish you good luck with your growing endeavors!
Missouri Medical Marijuana Links
Below are links to official government web pages related to the Missouri medical marijuana program.
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Patient Information
- Rules and Law
Missouri Medical Marijuana Contact Information
- Mailing address – Section for Medical Marijuana Regulation
PO Box 570
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0570
- Phone – Toll-Free Access Line: 866-219-0165 (8:30 am – 3:30 pm CST Monday-Friday)
- Email – MedicalMarijuanaInfo@health.mo.gov.