Understanding Missouri’s Cannabis Laws
In 2018, Missourians voted to legalize cannabis for medicinal consumption. Nearly 70% of voters said yes to the bill. Amendment 2 allots the 4% sales tax on cannabis purchases to veteran’s affairs in the state.
Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services collected over $13 million in license application fees in the summer of 2019, and they were all non-refundable. The race to win a license in Missouri was competitive. Most people who applied were heartbreakingly denied, but the tough stakes are a testament to Missouri’s enthusiasm for the medical cannabis program.
Missouri’s medical program contains inclusive patient language
Medicinal laws are different than recreational ones and require a few more steps to be eligible. Missouri isn’t the most ‘lax’ cannabis state around, but it’s surely not the most restrictive! One area where Amendment 2 shines is the number of medical conditions eligible for a medical marijuana recommendation.
Until Illinois’ adult-use industry came into play, their medical cannabis program was notoriously limited, with only the most severe cases being recommended as a patient card. Because cannabis is still considered a Schedule I Substance and illegal at the federal level, each state runs its own industry differently but often takes notes from other state’s playbooks.
Missouri’s qualifying conditions for a medical marijuana card
Here are the qualifying conditions for a patient card in Missouri, per the law:
- Intractable migraines unresponsive to other treatment
- A chronic medical condition that causes severe, persistent pain or persistent muscle spasms, including but not limited to those associated with multiple sclerosis, seizures, Parkinson’s disease, and Tourette’s syndrome
- Debilitating psychiatric disorders, including, but not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder, if diagnosed by a state-licensed psychiatrist;
- Human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome
- A chronic medical condition that is normally treated with a prescription medication that could lead to physical or psychological dependence, when a physician determines that medical use of marijuana could be effective in treating that condition and would serve as a safer alternative to the prescription medication
- Any terminal illness
- In the professional judgment of a physician, any other chronic, debilitating, or other medical condition, including, but not limited to, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, autism, neuropathies, sickle cell anemia, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, and wasting syndrome.
The language is interesting because there is room at multiple points throughout this list for the physician to make a judgment call based on what they see and what you tell them. The last point basically says: if the physician thinks you’d benefit from cannabis, they can recommend it to you.
Missouri’s inclusive language creates a pathway for nearly everyone who needs it to access the medicine that works best for them! In states like Illinois, many people were left out of receiving medical marijuana cards because the language didn’t explicitly state their condition. The loose language of Amendment 2 serves Missouri patients in this case and gives more people leeway to try medical marijuana.
You won’t be prescribed medical cannabis
A doctor’s medical marijuana recommendation is not the same thing as prescribing cannabis. The first step to getting your patient card is getting your doctor’s recommendation, which costs an average of $150. If you’re severely disabled or simply don’t want to leave your house, plenty of Missouri physicians offer telehealth visits through Zoom or other video chat platforms. You must receive a recommendation from a board-certified physician in Missouri. It’s okay if they are licensed to practice elsewhere too, but they need to be qualified to practice here, too. After your visit, you’ll take the recommendation from the physician and apply through Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services website, which costs $25 + tax to do.
Patients and caregivers in Missouri
At this point, you can also apply to be a caregiver, which means you are licensed to grow cannabis at home for yourself and/or other licensed patients. In order to be a caregiver, you need to be at least 21 years old. The home cultivation program is in place to provide medicine to disabled individuals who may be:
- Low income
- Far away from a dispensary
- Unable to leave their house due to PTSD or other reasons
Caregivers are also able to grow cannabis at home for their underage children who rely on the medicine. There is a way for children in Missouri to obtain medical marijuana cards, but the parent or legal guardian would need to submit the application on their behalf. The condition usually needs to be severe for underage children, like recurring seizures, negatively impacting their quality of life, or those suffering from cancer.
The grow must be locked and secure away from children and only accessible to the grower listed on the application. Each patient and caregiver’s monthly allotment is 4 oz. Keep in mind, you may not purchase cannabis for anyone other than yourself at the dispensary.
Like other states, cannabis consumption is prohibited in public settings, and must only be consumed in the privacy of your own home. Property owners are also allowed to limit the consumption of medical cannabis to non-smokable forms, so keep that in mind as you look for homes to rent in Missouri.
Missouri’s cannabis home cultivation laws
Licensed home cultivators can legally grow:
- 6 seedling plants or clones
- 6 nonflowering or vegetative plants
- 6 flowering plants
You are not allowed to have more than 12 plants in one space at any given time, unless you cultivate on behalf of a third patient in which case you can have 18. Missouri’s cannabis home cultivation laws are very generous, and most of the cannabis enthusiasts in the state are pleased with them.
What’s the best method of consumption for me?
If you’re new to cannabis, your motto is “low and slow until I’m comfortable.” Cannabis is very gentle, it has never been proven to kill or seriously injure someone, unlike alcohol or even cigarettes. However, there’s a chance for some unpleasant side effects, like anxiety or becoming too drowsy, so start slow and determine which method of consumption is best for you.
Edibles are ideal for people who need relief all day long. They are by far the longest-lasting method of cannabis consumption and don’t require additional tools or preparation if you buy them at the dispensary. Keep in mind, they do take some time to kick in. If you need instant relief, edibles might not be right for you.
Smoking and vaporizing cannabis flower are by far the most popular methods of consumption, and they also kick in immediately. Unlike ingestibles, you’ll begin to feel the effects of smoking and vaporizing right away. If you’re a new cannabis consumer, be careful consuming concentrates. They are, as the name suggests, heavily concentrated and very high in THC. Concentrates are not recommended for new consumers unless the situation is severe.
Topicals are great for people experiencing chronic pain, and they last for quite a while. They won’t get you high, either, so it’s the perfect way to feel relief without the high.
How we can Help
The Farmer’s Wife team is dedicated to Missouri’s patients and helping you on your path to wellness. Our knowledgeable team is here to answer your questions. We’d love to meet you, so stop in any time and say hello.