Everything you need to know about medical marijuana in Missouri

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Since medical marijuana was passed in Amendment 2 last year, there’s been a lot of change in Missouri already. Marijuana will be legal for those with a qualifying medical condition and the legalization is bringing business, new rules and more changes to Springfield and Missouri.

Here’s everything you should know:

What does a medical marijuana card do?

A qualifying patient card will allow a patient to enter licensed dispensaries and possess and consume medical cannabis in keeping with Missouri law.

By law, patients and caregivers are required to have their medical marijuana ID card available when purchasing or in possession of medical marijuana. 

How to qualify for medical marijuana

How much will a medical card cost? 

  • Qualifying patient fee is $25 annually
  • Caregiver fee is $25 annually 
  • Authorization to home-grow costs $100

Qualifying medical conditions include:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • 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
  • HIV or AIDS
  • and more

Where to apply:

Applications are only online and you must go to the patient/caregiver registration website medicalmarijuana.mo.gov. 

Medical marijuana in Missouri:

A sample of what a Missouri qualifying medical marijuana ID card with a homegrowing authorization looks like.  In the first month of the program, Missouri approved more than 4,000 patient applications. State officials began accepting them June 28, 2019.

A sample of what a Missouri qualifying medical marijuana ID card with a homegrowing authorization looks like. In the first month of the program, Missouri approved more than 4,000 patient applications. State officials began accepting them June 28, 2019. (Photo: Courtesy DHSS)

What we know about dispensaries so far

Dispensaries, while not open yet, are expected to be open in late spring or early summer of 2020. 

Dispensaries in Missouri:

For cannabis businesses, this is what you should know

Businesses wanting to take part in the medical marijuana industry must apply.

Missouri must start taking license applications from marijuana businesses no later than Aug. 3. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said it will take applications through Aug. 17. It must award licenses no later than Dec. 31, per constitutional mandate.

The application fees aren't cheap: $10,000 for a cultivation facility, $6,000 for a dispensary or manufacturing facility; $5,000 for a testing lab. Annual fees of as much as $25,000, for commercial grow operations, also apply.

When applying, these are the topics you may be scored on

  1. Character, background, qualifications and experience
  2. Business plan
  3. Site security
  4. Experience in a cannabis market
  5. Positive impact on the community
  6. Competitiveness in a medical use marketplace 
  7. Experience with marijuana testing
  8. Experience in agriculture, horticulture or health care
  9. Experience with health care, location and accessibility for patients
  10. Experience with food and beverage manufacturing

Confused? Don't be. Here's a guide on what you should know about the 144 questions on the marijuana business application.

Although the questions are set, there is some uncertainty about who will be judging the applications. Throughout this year, businesses wanting a marijuana license have filed 554 pre-filed application forms, along with fees totaling more than $3.9 million as of July 3.

Due to high competition a blind scorer will be judging Missouri business applications. More than 7 blind-scorers have bid for the contract, but only two will be chosen. 

Now that many have submitted their licenses and the date for license approval nearing, there's a lot of businesses vying for a piece of the marijuana pie in Missouri. 

SWIN Dispensaries opened a Springfield location at 108 Park Central Square on July 31, 2019. It sells hemp, or CBD products, including buds that smell and look like marijuana.

SWIN Dispensaries opened a Springfield location at 108 Park Central Square on July 31, 2019. It sells hemp, or CBD products, including buds that smell and look like marijuana. (Photo: Greg Holman/Springfield News-Leader)

Here's the businesses we know so far:

Can you grow your own marijuana? 

Answer: Yes. As long as you don't go over the quarter-pound allowed each month. 

A Missouri authorization to home-grow costs $100, allowing up to six flowering cannabis plants, six vegetative cannabis plants and six seedlings or clones per patient or caregiver. 

These are the requirement and restrictions of growing your own marijuana: 

  • You can grow indoors or outdoors
  • The home-grow facility must remain enclosed and locked according to Missouri's definitions
  • You can have no more than six flowering plants, six plants in a "vegetative state" and six seedlings. 

Cultivating and growing marijuana is an involved process with different stages of growth that will needs different care throughout its development cycle. 

A consulting industry is starting in Missouri to help patient grow and care for their marijuana. 

How growing your own marijuana works:Under Amendment 2, patients can grow their own weed

life cycle of marijuana

What doctors will certify you?

It’s here and legal, but where can you get certified by a doctor to get your medical card?

Missouri does not offer a way to legally access marijuana without getting an ID card — and getting a card requires a certification. Many doctors describe them as a note simply indicating, yes, this patient has cancer; yes, this patient has PTSD.

A certification can not be more than 30 days old at the time of applying.   

What about CoxHealth, Mercy and large hospitals? 

While many large health care systems and hospitals are not necessarily saying no, they’re not entirely saying yes, either. From Mercy to Cox, this is how the hospitals are handling medical marijuana.  

Patient information inside a Green Health Docs clinic.

Patient information inside a Green Health Docs clinic.

What are Cannabis Clinics?

Many parts of Missouri will soon see “cannabis clinics” open, if they don't have them already. These clinics are specifically intended to connect patients with marijuana ID cards.

Smaller clinics and local doctors can provide certifications.

Clinics like Roark Family Health and Elite Pain Management will certify medical marijuana patients for a fee.

Medical marijuana certifications:

How will medical marijuana affect Springfield and Missouri?

Since Amendment 2 passed in November 2018, Missouri lawmakers and DHSS have been busy setting up and implementing the amendment, fostering new businesses and change in Springfield. 

New cannabis businesses from dispensaries to manufacturing will start to pop up in Springfield throughout the year. Each is subject to their own zoning restrictions and different licenses will be awarded depending on what type of marijuana business it is.

These are the types of Marijuana businesses you can expect to see pop up in Springfield:

As many as 10 marijuana testing facilities are expected in Springfield and nearly 200 dispensaries are expected to come throughout Missouri.

How are existing employers reacting to medical marijuana?

With medical marijuana on its way, Springfield employers are already reviewing their human resource policies. Some employers are reviewing best practices, while others will be a “zero tolerance employer,” meaning if THC is detected in an employee they could be subject to discipline.

Springfield employers may face challenges in deciding how to accommodate the change. Whether qualifying patient marijuana cards should shield employees from getting fired for a positive test or protect would-be employees from losing a job offer, has already prompted lawsuits in other states.

What's changing and where Springfield stands with Marijuana:

Law enforcement and marijuana

Earlier this year, Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams detailed possible effects on Springfield’s crime due to the legalization of medical marijuana. From an increase in DWIs and crashes to a possibility of a tax-free black market for marijuana, Williams explained the possibilities.  

While a medical card will allow patients to legally use marijuana, there is no indication that a qualifying patient cannabis card could somehow exempt a person from following driving safety laws. 

A campaign was launched this year using the slogan “Drive High, Get a DUI” by the Missouri Department of Transportation. Aimed at “cracking down on drugged-driving offenders,” the campaign was launched just before the cannabis-culture holiday “4/20” that celebrates marijuana. 

Beyond road rules, officers are finding more marijuana in Missouri, and it’s coming from other legalized states.

The Springfield Police Department's investigative section seized more marijuana in 2018 than any year since it started keeping digital records — and detectives weren't even really looking for it. They seized almost 350 pounds of the drug last year, a 73 percent increase from 2017.

While the potent marijuana seized is coming in from other states now, the local marijuana scene is due for a shakeup when medical marijuana will hit dispensaries across the state — including Springfield.

Where else is marijuana legal? 

In June, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize the sale and use of recreational marijuana for adults.

That brings the total number of states with varying degrees of legalized weed to 36, plus Washington, D.C., as of June 26.

  • In 11 states, plus D.C., marijuana is fully legal for recreational and medicinal purposes.
  • In 22 states, medical marijuana is legal but recreational use is not
  • In 14 states, 12 of which have legalized medical marijuana, weed has been decriminalized, meaning simple possession of small amounts of marijuana no longer carries the penalty of jail time, according to the Marijuana Policy Project.
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