Missouri Marijuana Laws and Penalties

Legal Marijuana in Missouri

Back in November 2018, Missouri residents approved Amendment 2, a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana. A record 1.6 million people voted in favor of the accounting for more than 65 percent of total votes cast in the Nov. 6 general election. That’s not an easy feat considering that many voters skip over ballot initiatives when voting.  

Under Amendment 2, patients will be allowed to purchase at least 4 ounces of marijuana. Also, in addition to being able to (eventually) purchase medical marijuana at a state-licensed dispensary, certified medical marijuana patients are also allowed to grow their own — up to six plants.  

Amendment 2 also called for a 4% tax rate on medical marijuana sales. And proceed are specifically earmarked to provide services for military veterans.

While Amendment 2 specified a particular list of conditions which could qualify residents to receive a medical marijuana card from the state, it also allows doctors to recommended marijuana to treat any “chronic, debilitating or other medical condition” as determined by a physician. It also applied to any resident suffering with a terminal illness.

Under Article 12 of the Missouri Constitution, amendments to the document “shall take effect” 30 days after the election, marking December 6, 2018 as the day medical marijuana officially became legal in Missouri. Problem was you couldn’t get any yet. There were (and still are at the time of writing) no operating dispensaries. And cards were not available to medical marijuana patients yet. So qualified patients were not yet allowed to grow their own medical marijuana until they got the green light from the state.  

On January 5, 2019, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services began accepting pre-filed application fees. Application forms and application instructions became available to qualified patients and their primary caregivers on June 4, 2019.  And the department is accepting applications now.

By some estimates, the number of Missouri medical marijuana patients could approach 20,000 by 2020. There are also expected to be 192 licensed dispensaries — 24 in each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts.

Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries are not expected to be open for business until December of 2020.

Enthusiasm for the program is high in the state — no pun intended. Many feel Missouri’s medical marijuana laws are among the best in the nation. And a high volume of applications from growers and dispensaries is expected. In March 2019, more than 2,000 people attended a conference hosted by the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association held at St. Louis’ Union Station.

According to MoCannTrade’s website, the agency’s mission is to help build a “thriving medical cannabis industry in Missouri” and “ensuring a compliant, safe and successful program implementation by closely supporting stakeholders and state regulators through education, advocacy, and responsibility.”

Missouri Marijuana Laws

2019 Missouri Marijuana Laws for illegal possession, distribution and paraphernalia.

It’s very important to know about the state’s marijuana laws in general...

You may be thinking, “why should I register for the medical marijuana program when I can just keep buying marijuana from my local dealer?” Well, let’s take a look at what you’re risking if you don’t.

Possession

  • If you’re caught with more than ten grams of marijuana you’re looking at a potential fine of $500. That’s just the first offense. A second offense, or getting caught holding more than 10 grams but less than 35 grams is a Class A misdemeanor which is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
  • Get caught holding anywhere from 35 grams to 30 kilograms is a Class D felony punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
  • If you’re under 21 when you get caught you can lose your driver’s license.

Sale/Distribution

  • Get caught selling any amount of marijuana up to 35 grams is considered a Class E felony punishable by up to 4 years imprisonment and a fine up to $10,000.
  • Get caught selling marijuana to a minor is a Class C felony punishable by a minimum sentence of 3 years and up 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
  • Selling 35 grams up to 30 kilograms is also considered a Class C felony, punishable by a minimum sentence of 3 years and up 10 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
  • Selling 35 grams up to 30 kilograms to a minor is considered a Class B felony, which is punishable by a minimum sentence of 5 years and up 15 years in prison and a fine equal to two times the estimated profit.
  • Selling marijuana near a school, recreational park or public housing is a Class A felony punishable by a minimum prison term of 10 years up to 30 years to life and a fine equal to two times the estimated profit.

In Missouri, the penalties for possession and sale of hash or concentrates are the same as for marijuana.

Mo MedCard Cert

Missouri Paraphernalia Law

Not only are the state’s marijuana possession laws harsh, just getting caught with a pipe can result in jail time. Although possession of paraphernalia is punishable by a whopping $500 fine upon first offense, a second offense can earn you up to 1 year in prison and up to $2,000 fine.

And if you’re manufacturing paraphernalia for commercial purposes, you can be sentenced to up to 4 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

So, as you can see, if you have the ability to secure a Missouri medical marijuana card you should take it and greatly reduce your risk of spending time in jail and paying huge fines.

Missouri’s medical marijuana laws have typically been conservative and very harsh. We’ll go over those laws below.

The snowball began rolling on January 2014 when St. Louis’ Mayor posted an informal poll on his website. The poll asked voters whether or not they were in favor of legalizing recreational marijuana. The results of the rather non-scientific poll showed that over 90% of the people who took part in the poll were in favor of legalization.

It wasn’t until May 2014, that the signing of Senate Bill 491 partially decriminalized marijuana, eliminating the prospect of jail time for first-time offenders holding less than 10 grams of marijuana. The bill also reduced penalties for the sale and cultivation of marijuana and eliminated a ban on probation or parole for third-time drug felony convictions.

Backing up a step, between the years of 2013 and 2017, three major metropolises, Springfield, St. Louis, and Kansas City, implemented decriminalization measures of their own. For example, in April 2017, Kansas City decriminalized possession of marijuana, eliminating jail time for possession of up to 35 grams and setting the fine at a paltry $25. However, cross that line and you do run the risk of spending some time in jail.

Some say Missouri’s medical marijuana program began In July 2014, with the enactment of the so-called Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill which officially legalized the use of CBD oil to treat seizure disorders.

House Bill 2238 allowed the Department of Agriculture to grow “industrial hemp” (not marijuana) for research purposes and permitted individuals suffering from conditions such as epilepsy the use of hemp extract to treat certain individuals with epilepsy to use hemp-derived CBD oil.

In order to qualify for the program, patients were required to be certified by their neurologist to have tried at least three traditional treatment options. Under HB 2238 CBD oil must contain at least 5% CBD and no more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (literally not enough to get a fly high).

A year later, in 2015 officials issued licenses to two non-profits to grow and sell CBD oil to patients.

Many advocates don’t consider the state’s hemp CBD program to be a legitimate medical marijuana program. The fact of the matter is that CBD oil is readily available online as well as being sold in countless shops across the state. Although these products are not yet regulated there are some high-quality CBD brands out there. Visit CBDbay.app to find a list of online shops that carry CBD oil and products for sale. To learn more about buying CBD oil in Missouri, check out The 2019 Complete Guide to CBD in Missouri here.

As we mentioned earlier, in November 2018, with the passage of Amendment 2, the official era of medical marijuana began in Missouri. Earlier that year in August a poll showed that 78 percent of Iowa voters supported legalizing medical marijuana.

Actually, Missouri voters had their choice of three medical marijuana initiatives that year. Two additional medical cannabis initiatives were also on the ballot with Amendment 2. Both were defeated. Amendment 3 proposed a shorter list of qualifying conditions, a 15 percent tax, and no home cultivation. The third lot ballot initiative, Proposition C called for a two percent tax while prohibiting home cultivation.

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