Marijuana is legal for adults and is taxed and regulated similarly to alcohol; state also has a medical marijuana law
Last update: April 27, 2023
Adult-use cannabis market ramping up thanks voter-approved law
With passage of Amendment 3, a constitutional ballot measure to legalize and regulate cannabis for adults, Missouri voters ended the failed policy of cannabis prohibition in November 2022by more than a six-point margin.
In addition to establishing an adult-use market for cannabis with a six percent retail tax on cannabis sales, the new law is set to automatically expunge criminal records for thousands of Missourians convicted of nonviolent cannabis offenses. You can read the full text of Amendment 3 here, along with MPP’s summary here.
Regulators with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services moved quickly to allow legal sales to adults in February of this year. Adult-use and medical cannabis sales totalled more than $126 million in March, a new record for the state. The industry has also created thousands of jobs, with the state reporting that nearly 13,000 individuals had been issued occupational ID cards to work at cannabis businesses as of February.
Missourians will vote on an adult-use cannabis ballot measure, Amendment 3
After filing petition language and launching a campaign in August of 2021, Legal Missouri 2022 turned in over 390,000 signatures to put a constitutional adult-use legalization measure on the ballot this November. A year after the start of the signature drive in August 2022, state officials certified the initiative, now known as Amendment 3, for the November ballot.
The proposal would establish a system to regulate and tax cannabis for adults’ use while also establishing a system to automatically expunge criminal records for thousands of Missourians convicted of nonviolent cannabis offenses in the past. You can read the full text of Amendment 3 here, along with MPP’s summary here. The effort has the support of several local NAACP chapters, the ACLU of Missouri, and the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.
A last-minute lawsuit aiming to keep Amendment 3 off the ballot was filed by legalization opponents in August. The litigation claims the measure is unconstitutional and did not receive a sufficient number of signatures to qualify. Campaign leaders for the measure are confident they will prevail in the court battle and give voters an opportunity to end cannabis prohibition this year. According to a poll conducted earlier this year, 62% of Missourians support legalizing cannabis for adults.
Missouri approves Amendment 2 to legalize medical marijuana
On Election Day 2018, Missourians voted to pass Amendment 2 with 65.5% support. Many local medical marijuana advocates and national organizations, including MPP, endorsed Amendment 2. With its passage, the right of Missouri patients to safely access medical marijuana was officially enshrined in the state constitution.
With a physician’s approval, a patient may qualify for medical marijuana if they have been diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
Intractable migraines unresponsive to other treatment
Conditions that cause persistent pain or muscle spasms, including MS, Parkinson’s disease, and Tourette’s syndrome
Debilitating psychiatric disorders such as PTSD
HIV or AIDS
A chronic medical condition normally treated with prescription medication that can lead to dependence, when a physician determines that medical marijuana could be an effective and safer treatment
Any terminal illness
Inflammatory bowel disease
Sickle cell anemia
Home cultivation is permitted for caregivers and qualified patients who apply for and receive a cultivation card. Each cardholder may grow up to six plants.
Current marijuana laws in Missouri
Medical marijuana is legal for registered patients. Voters approved Amendment 2 in 2018 to establish a medical marijuana program.
Marijuana possession has been decriminalized.Legislation was approved in 2014 to decriminalize the possession of 10 grams or less of cannabis. Possession of 10 grams or less is punishable by a fine only, but the offense remains a criminal misdemeanor. The possession of greater quantities of cannabis remains punishable by jail time.
Cultivation for non-patients 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.
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: Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law the Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill, allowing the use of CBD oil to treat persistent seizures.
Lawmakers enacted SB 491, decriminalization legislation that reduced penalties for those possessing up to 10 grams of marijuana. 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: Missouri issued licenses to two non-profits to grow cannabis for oil to be sold to patients.
2017: 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.
2018: Voters passed Amendment 2, legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri.
2020: Missourians for a New Approach submit petition language and begin signature gathering campaign but are ultimately forced to stop due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
2022: Legal Missouri 2022 launched a ballot petition campaign and submitted signatures to put adult-use legalization before the voters.
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We hope you and your family are safe and well.
Public health guidelines and safety concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic have made traditional methods of gathering voter petitions impossible. As a result, signature drives for ballot initiatives all across the country have been severely impacted.
Though the chances of success were slim, leaders with Missourians for a New Approach explored a number of legal avenues that would allow the campaign to resume, including the possibility of electronic signatures.…