What are the benefits of having a Missouri medical marijuana card right now?
When will Missouri’s medical marijuana dispensaries be open?
How can you get an Ohio medical marijuana card so that when they do open you can be the first in line?
How can you buy marijuana legally in Missouri before dispensaries open?
What can you do in the meantime to legally possess marijuana in Missouri?
Good news all around. Let’s get to it.
The grand opening of Missouri medical marijuana dispensaries is just around the corner. We know. You’ve been hearing for a while now that they will be opening for business “soon.”
Cannabis lovers in the state are so excited to “soon” be able to buy marijuana legally in Missouri that they can practically taste it — or smell it, as the case may be.
The good news is they won’t have to wait too much longer. Relatively speaking. And the more good news is just about anyone is capable of getting the legal protections afforded to Missouri’s medical marijuana patients.
But we have even better news than someday dispensaries. You really don’t have to wait! If you get your Missouri medical marijuana card and you can buy marijuana right now! You won’t be able to shop at a marijuana dispensary in the state, but there are other options for resourceful Missourians.
Let’s discuss these three pieces of good news.
When will Missouri medical marijuana dispensaries open? And what took so long?
Since medical marijuana was given the green light in Missouri in 2018, regulators in the state have been working diligently — although some might argue that point — to make marijuana happen.
Early on there were some stumbling stones that pushed the planned opening to later than patients had hoped. Then along came the coronavirus resulting in further delays. Regulators were signaled to balk on scrutinizing license applications submitted by hopeful growers, processors, and dispensaries.
That problem has been solved for the most part. So what’s the holdup now?
Well, marijuana growing and processing facilities and dispensaries take some time to construct. And marijuana takes time to grow — about 15 weeks give or take. Then it takes time to process the marijuana into sellable goods. Curing (aka drying) alone can take weeks when done properly.
All of that work is finally underway and the marijuana makers are saying they’ll be ready to open the floodgates come fall. No exact dates yet, but everyone expects dispensaries to open in Missouri well before the year is over.
The first dispensaries to open in Missouri will have an advantage. They’ll get a head start on building a customer base and be able to charge a premium for their products.
However, as more and more dispensaries come online, the state is expected to see a surplus of medical cannabis products — along with a substantial drop in price. One can only hope.
So you can bet that everyone with a horse in the race is working diligently to cross that finish line first.
There are expected to be nearly 200 licensed dispensaries in Missouri when all is said and done.
How can you buy marijuana legally in Missouri before dispensaries open?
Technically, you can’t. It is still illegal to sell marijuana without a license. But people do it every day. Here are a few ways it happens.
1. Buy marijuana “on the street.”
The fact is this: Medical marijuana cardholders in Missouri can legally possess marijuana. Although the transaction itself is technically taboo, the risk is far greater for the seller. Once you have a bag in your hand — assuming you have that magical medical marijuana card — you’re legal. That’s regardless of where you bought it.
As far as where to get it, we recommend talking to friends who partake or to Missouri medical marijuana patient groups for advice.
NOTE: We don’t recommend that you buy marijuana on the street — especially from a stranger. For one thing, it really is illegal. And for another the weed that street dealers sell is probably not tested for pesticides, molds, and other toxins. And worse yet, it could just be hemp, which looks and smells like marijuana but doesn’t contain the buzz-causing compound THC.
2. Buy marijuana in an “adult use” state such as Illinois
Another way to get your hands on some marijuana today would be to go to a state where it is legal — such as Illinois, which is within a somewhat reasonable driving distance.
Once there, you can walk into a recreational marijuana dispensary and shop to your heart’s content. But you’re still crossing a line. Not just the state line. Bringing marijuana across the border is still illegal. But again, people do it every day.
NOTE 2: As with buying weed on the street, we don’t recommend interstate transportation of federally illegal substances. Trust us. You don’t want to spend time in a federal prison.
3. Take a trip to Arkansas, yes Arkansas
A third strategy would be to take yourself and your medical marijuana card on a trip to Arkansas. Why Arkansas?
It’s a little bit more of a drive than Illinois, but the state offers a reciprocal MMJ program. If you have a Missouri medical marijuana card you can legally buy your meds in Arkansas. But once again there’s the taking it across the border issue.
NOTE 3: Again, the interstate transportation of federally illegal substances is, well, illegal. So use great caution.
4. Grow your own or get it from someone who does
Under Missouri medical marijuana laws, patients in Missouri are permitted to grow their own medicine — up to six mature plants.
That being said, if you’re just getting started with that, by the time you harvest you’ll be able to buy it at a dispensary. But perhaps you know someone who grows their own and has some cured homegrown bud that can hook you up.
5. Assign a caregiver that grows
Finally, you could hook up with a patient caregiver who is actively growing medical marijuana for other patients. This is probably your best bet! It’s completely legal, you don’t have to drive for hours and cross state lines with a Schedule I controlled substance, and you don’t have to put in the effort to grow your own.
Check out the links at the end of the article for more info on Missouri’s medical marijuana caregiver rules.
Can anyone get a medical marijuana card in Missouri?
Just about. You don’t have to be super sick to get a Missouri medical marijuana card. Missouri has a list of serious medical conditions that instantly qualify patients for a medical marijuana card. See list below.
But there’s also this last bullet item last on the list:
Any “other chronic, debilitating or other medical condition” that may be alleviated by marijuana “in the professional judgment of a physician”
What does that mean? It means that if you find a medical marijuana doctor in Missouri that is sympathetic to your cause you might be able to squeak by with just a single symptom rather than an entire disease.
For example, let’s just say you have problems with occasional nausea, or cramps, or nightmares that keep you awake at night and cannabis helps alleviate the issue. You might be eligible for an MO MMJ card.
Again, your best bet is to look into patient groups in the state and see what kinds of symptoms doctors are sympathetic to. If one of them happens to feel that cannabis can help you with your nausea or cramps or sleepless nights — or many other symptoms — then go to that doctor.
We’re not telling you to make up a malady just get a medical marijuana card. We’re just saying.
And if you’ve got one of these following qualifying serious or chronic medical conditions then you’re good to go as you’re sure to find a doctor that will hook you up with a card:
- Any terminal illness
- Alzheimer’s disease agitation
- Anxiety Disorders
- Crohn’s disease
- Chronic pain/neuropathy
- Hepatitis C
- HIV/AIDS or cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Huntington’s disease
- Intractable migraines
- Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Menopause Symptoms
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Opioid substitution
- Parkinson’s disease
- PTSD or other “debilitating psychiatric disorders”
- Tourette syndrome
- Sickle cell anemia
The application process can be done online and your doctor or someone on his team will usually walk you through it. You don’t even need to visit your doctor in person. You can do it from your couch using “telemedicine” to consult with a marijuana doctor via video conference.
A Missouri medical marijuana card costs $150.
Do you really need a medical marijuana card in Missouri?
As they say, “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” Missouri’s marijuana possession laws are strict. If you don’t have an MO MMJ card, and you’re caught with:
More than ten grams of marijuana you’re looking at a potential fine of $500 on the first offense.
A second offense, or getting caught with 10 grams to 35 grams is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000.
From 35 grams to 30 kilograms can get you up to 7 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Even just getting caught with a pipe in Missouri can result in jail time if you don’t have a medical marijuana card. Seriously.
So, yes, you need a card.
Wrapping things up...
So to wrap this up, the good news is dispensaries will almost certainly be opening before the year is out.
And the other good news is that you don’t have to wait for that to happen. You can get your Missouri medical marijuana card and the legal protections that come with it and get yourself some cannabis in short order.
Oh, one final word. If you are truly in need of some relief and don’t want to deal with any of the suggestions above you can always buy CBD-rich hemp flower or buy CBD oil online. It doesn’t contain THC but it could tide you over until this fall when dispensaries open in Missouri.
That’s it! Go get ‘em!
Additional resources and links
Below are links to official government web pages related to the Missouri medical marijuana program.
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.