Despite small steps to reduce penalties for possession of recreational marijuana and making some medical cannabis available to select patients, Missouri remains one of the most restrictive states when it comes to cannabis policy.
Recreational Marijuana in Missouri
Recreational marijuana is illegal in Missouri. Lawmakers in 2014 did enact Senate Bill 491 to reduce penalties for the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana. The law, which took effect January 1, 2017, makes the first offense punishable as an infraction (class D misdemeanor) carrying a fine of $250 to $1,000. Possession of 10 grams to up to 35 grams is a class A misdemeanor, but punishable to up to 1 year in prison and a maximum fine of $2,000. Possession of over 35 grams, or 1.25 ounces, is a felony, punishable to up to seven years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
In April 2016, nearly 75% of voters in Kansas City approved Question 5, a measure that eliminated jail penalties and lowered the fine for those caught in possession of up to 35 grams from $500 to $25.
Medical Marijuana in Missouri
Unfortunately, the conservative southern state of Missouri has yet to pass comprehensive medical marijuana legislation. In 2014, the state did pass a medicinal cannabidiol (CBD) law, which gives approved patients with intractable epilepsy access to CBD hemp oil, but is still very limiting for several reasons, including:
- A provision that requires patients to have attempted at least three other treatments without response before using cannabis oil.
- A provision that limits the cannabis oil composition to at least 5% CBD and less than 0.3% THC
- A provision that limits approved conditions to only intractable epilepsy, which provide relief for this segment, but leaves many other people with serious maladies without access to cannabis.
Kansas City NORML is currently working with New Approach Missouri to gather 170,000 petition signatures to put a statewide measure on the ballot in November 2018.
CBD from Hemp Oil in Missouri
The purchase and use of CBD hemp oil without a prescription is federally legal throughout the U.S. However, because Missouri has passed a CBD hemp oil-specific law, the people of Missouri are only legally protected if they access CBD hemp oil through the state’s medical program.
Cultivation of Cannabis in Missouri
Cultivating marijuana for personal or medicinal use is prohibited in Missouri. However, in 2014, the Missouri Legislature passed House Bill 2238, which gives the Department of Agriculture the authority to grow industrial hemp for research purposes. House Bill 2054 also passed, stating that industrial hemp is not a controlled substance, and it is legal for all persons to cultivate hemp as long as they have not been convicted of a drug-related offense.
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