June 17, 2020

Missouri Marijuana Legalization

June 17, 2020
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11 states have legalized recreational marijuana, and another 22 states, plus the District of Columbia, have legalized medical cannabis. So,  here’s where things stand here in the “Show Me State”.

Is Weed Legal in Missouri?

Yes, if you are a qualifying patient or caregiver with a patient or caregiver identification card issued by the Department of Health and Senior Service. That medical card allows you to possess up to four ounces of medical cannabis each month. For more information on how you can get your patient card, check out our article on the subject here.

If you also sign up for a patient cultivation card, you can grow six flowering marijuana plants, six non-flowering plants, and six seedlings at any one time. We’ve covered the rules on patient cultivation in more detail in our article on cultivation in Missouri.

Missouri voters legalized medical marijuana in 2018 by passing Amendment 2 by a two-to-one margin. However, if you are not a qualifying patient, weed is NOT currently legalized for you in the state of Missouri.

Previous Efforts to Legalize Marijuana in MO

There have been a number of important milestones on the road to legalize recreational pot in Missouri over the years:

  • The Columbia, MO,  passed a voter initiated municipal ordinance decriminalizing possession of up to 35 grams of marijuana. The Saint Louis Board of Aldermen would pass a similar measure in 2013. Activists from NORML KC would place an even stronger proposal before Kansas City voters in 2017 and win resoundingly with a nearly four-to-one margin at the polls.
  • In 2012, Show-Me Cannabis led a grassroots initiative campaign which collected nearly 70,000 signatures to place legalization on the ballot. The campaign was unsuccessful, but it laid the groundwork for future efforts, including the Amendment 2 campaign.
  • In 2014, 2016, and 2018, a number of groups seeking “total legalization” (i.e. legalization with no regulation on use or sales) collected signatures. None qualified for the ballot.
  • Saint Louis City Prosecutor Kim Gardner announced in June 2018 that her office would not pursue charges for anyone possessing less than 100 grams of cannabis. Directly following the victory of Amendment 2 in November of that same year, the prosecutors in Jackson and Saint Louis Counties committed to the same policy, effectively decriminalizing marijuana for a third of the state’s population.

Missouri has come a long way towards marijuana legalization in the past decade, but we still have one big hurdle to clear.

Current Efforts to Legalize Marijuana in Missouri

Amendment 2 legalized marijuana in 2018 and Initiative Petition 128 sought to legalize in 2020 but was derailed due to COVID-19

This year, Missourians for a New Approach was collecting signatures on a legalization proposal that would have built upon Amendment 2. They had collected about 100,000 of the 300,000 signatures they needed to place the measure on the ballot when the COVID-19 pandemic sent the state into lockdown and effectively prevented signature collection. The deadline to submit signatures in Missouri for the November 2020 election was May 3, so no legalization initiative will appear on the ballot this year.

According to the official ballot language certified by the Missouri Secretary of State, the petition by Missourians for a New Approach would have:

  • Legalized the adult use of marijuana for those 21 or older.
  • Taxed sales at 15%, with the proceeds going to veterans, highways and drug addiction treatment.
  • Allowed for people with marijuana convictions to be able to apply for sentence reductions and conviction expungement. 
  • Required local voter approval to ban dispensaries.
  • Generated between $93 million and $155 million in stave revenues and between $17 and $27 million for local governments annually.

You can read the ballot language and the full text of the amendment here.

When Will We Legalize Recreational Marijuana in Missouri?

There was very strong support for the Missourians for a New Approach initiative this year, and it likely would have qualified for the ballot and passed had it not been for the pandemic. You should expect to see another effort gathering signatures for the November 2022 election sometime next year!

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