New Approach Missouri continues signature collection!

 

Last update: October 12, 2017
 

Medical marijuana ballot initiative in 2018

While the citizen-led initiative failed to make the ballot in 2016, advocates are now looking toward the future. New Approach Missouri has recently established permanent signing locations in Columbia, Kansas City, Springfield, and St. Louis for collection of signatures with aspirations to place a medical marijuana initiative on the ballot in 2018. Please visit New Approach Missouri’s website for more information regarding the ballot initiative!

Legislative standstill

The legislature is at a standstill regarding both medical marijuana and industrial hemp. In March, House Bill 437, a proposed medical marijuana bill, received a hearing before the Health and Mental Health Policy Committee. The legislation would allow patients with painful, incurable illnesses to be treated with medical marijuana. Currently, no further hearings of the House bill are scheduled. Please tell your representatives it is time to move forward with a compassionate medical marijuana program!

Rep. Paul Curtman filed a bill that would legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp. Industrial hemp can be used to make paper, clothing, insulation, and many other products. The bill provides for monitoring and licensure of hemp cultivation and does not allow permits for anyone who has been convicted of a felony in the past 10 years or been convicted at any time of a state or federal felony for possession or distribution of a controlled substance.

The industrial hemp bill passed 126-26 with bipartisan support, and the Senate’s Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee voted 5-1 to approve the bill. Unfortunately, regular session ended on May 12, 2017, and HB 170 has not resurfaced since the legislature reconvened for a special session.


Current marijuana laws in Missouri

 

Marijuana possession has been decriminalized. Legislation was approved in 2014 to decriminalize the possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis, such that possession is punishable by a fine only. The offense remains a criminal misdemeanor. The possession of greater quantities of cannabis remains punishable by jail time.

Cultivation remains illegal. Cultivating 35 grams or less is a Class E felony, which is punishable by up to four years of imprisonment and a maximum fine of $10,000. Cultivating 35 grams or more is a Class C felony, which is punishable by a sentence of three to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of $10,000.

Medical use of CBD oil for seizures is permitted. In July 2014, Governor Jay Nixon signed into law the Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill, allowing the use of CBD oil to treat persistent seizures. In 2015, the state issued licenses to two non-profits to grow cannabis for oil to be sold to patients.


Decriminalization making slow progress

 

On April 4, 2017, residents of Kansas City voted overwhelmingly — nearly 75% — to reduce the penalties for simple possession of marijuana, becoming the latest city in the state to further reduce punishments for people caught with small amounts of marijuana.

The measure will amend local laws regarding the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana for adults age 21 and older from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine.

In 2014, lawmakers enacted SB 491, which reduces penalties for those possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana, beginning on January 1, 2017. A first offense will be punishable as a class D misdemeanor (an infraction), and will carry a fine of $250-$1,000 with no jail time.

While this is better than the current penalty, a $250 fine is out of reach for some Missourians. The state still has a long way to go to treat marijuana consumers fairly. Possession of over 35 grams — about 1.25 ounces — is a felony subject to a prison sentence of up to seven years and a $5,000 fine.

In addition to marijuana prohibition diverting police from more serious crime, it’s also been unevenly enforced among races. Blacks are 2.6 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Missouri than their white counterparts, even though blacks and whites consume marijuana at similar rates. For more information on how the war on marijuana consumers is often waged unequally, check out the ACLU’s report.


Timeline of marijuana reform in Missouri

 

2008: In Missouri v. Cox, the state Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s rejection of a patient’s medical necessity defense because the legislature had already expressed its intent by placing marijuana in Schedule I, even though statute allowed the dispensing of Schedule I substances by certain professionals.

2014: Governor Jay Nixon signed into law the Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill, allowing the use of CBD oil to treat persistent seizures.

Lawmakers enacted SB 491, which reduced penalties for those possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana and began on January 1, 2017. A first offense is punishable as a class D misdemeanor (an infraction) and carries a fine of $250-$1,000 with no jail time.

2015: Tennessee issued licenses to two non-profits to grow cannabis for oil to be sold to patients.

2017: Decriminalization became effective statewide.

Kansas City voted to reduce the penalties for simple possession of marijuana, amending local laws regarding the possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana for adults age 21 and older from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine.


Stay connected

 

Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project and all of our allies. If you have a personal connection to the issue — including if you are a seriously ill patient, a loved one, a physician, or a clergy member — and would like to get more involved, please contact us by email at [email protected]. Please include your address or nine-digit zip code so we can determine who your state legislators are.

To stay updated on the status of marijuana policy reform in Missouri, please subscribe to our email alerts. If you have any questions concerning the status of marijuana policy reform in Missouri, you can contact us by email at [email protected].