**Can You Smoke Weed in Public in Missouri? **
The State of Missouri has allowed the use of marijuana only for medical purposes since 2018 but legal sales began in 2020. It legalized recreational marijuana on November 8, 2022 and commenced legal adult-use cannabis sales on February 3, 2023. Article XIV of the Missouri State Constitution enshrines the right of residents who suffer from certain medical conditions to use marijuana to treat themselves.
Under US federal law, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug. The Controlled Substances Act (1970) states that Cannabis has a high abuse potential with no accepted medical use, and this informed the illegal status placed on marijuana at the federal level and across many US states, including Missouri. Marijuana’s federal classification implies that even with the passage of Amendment 2 in 2018 and the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2022, it is still illegal to use marijuana on federal properties in Missouri.
Yes. Missouri state law permits the use of marijuana for individuals who require it to alleviate certain specific medical conditions. A Missouri-licensed physician must issue the qualifying patient with a prescription stating that the use of marijuana is necessary to treat or relieve their condition. Medical conditions such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, Tourette’s syndrome, and terminal illnesses make an individual eligible for marijuana treatment in Missouri.
Adults aged 21 years or older can also use marijuana recreationally in Missouri. This followed the legalization of adult-use marijuana following a 2022 ballot initiative and the passage of the Missouri Constitutional Amendment 3.
Medical marijuana became legal in Missouri after residents voted for Amendment 2 in the November 2018 ballot. The Amendment won by 66% of the vote. Amendment 2 allowed qualified patients to grow up to six flowering cannabis plants at home and for their personal use. It also established the amount of cannabis patients are allowed to buy every month. It placed a 4% tax on medical marijuana sales and gave physicians the power to decide which conditions they deem debilitating enough for cannabis therapy.
While Amendment 2 passed, there were two other competing Amendments about medical marijuana policy on the November 2018 ballot. Amendment 3 proposed a shorter list of qualifying conditions for medical cannabis use, a sales tax of 15%, and no provision for home cultivation. It only got 32% of the vote. The third question on the ballot, Proposition C, was not a constitutional amendment but a statutory change on the current medical cannabis law in Missouri in 2018. It proposed a lower sales tax rate of 2% but made no provision for home cannabis cultivation. It failed with 44% of the vote.
Over the past year, several ballot initiatives relating to the consumption, purchase, sale, and legal status of marijuana in Missouri have been proposed. The Constitutional Amendment to Article XIV, Relating to Marijuana Use and Taxation, was an initiative that sought to make it permissible for Missouri residents over the age of 21 to consume marijuana in licensed leisure facilities and impose a 7.5% tax on marijuana retail in the state.
In the midterm elections of November 2022, Missouri voters decided on Amendment 3, which modified the state’s constitution to legalize the consumption, sale, and purchase of marijuana to Missouri residents over the age of 21 and approve the release from prison or parole of non-violent offenders with marijuana-related crimes. Amendment 3 also imposed a 6% tax on marijuana sales in Missouri. Amendment 3 passed with a vote of 53-47 at the ballot and became law on December 8, 2022. In addition to the 6% tax established by the Missouri recreational marijuana law, some cities and counties in the state have also established an additional 3% tax on marijuana sales within their jurisdiction.
Under current law, a Missouri resident who is both a qualifying patient and the holder of an identification card issued by the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is allowed to purchase medical marijuana from a licensed dispensary. Purchase is dependent upon the presentation of a valid DHSS-issued ID card. The amount a patient or caregiver can purchase is equally fixed by law at 4 ounces within 30 days. Dispensaries must sell medical marijuana to qualifying patients in its dry and unprocessed form. Under certain conditions, such as if 'two independent physicians' have recommended that the qualifying patient requires a larger dose, purchasing more than 4 ounces may be possible.
Article XIV of the Missouri Constitution provides that only a dispensary formally authorized by the Department of Health and Senior Services can offer medical marijuana for sale. Dispensaries licensed to sell medical marijuana must ensure that the product has passed the required safety tests.
It must be stated that medical marijuana in Missouri is available for purchase to qualifying patients and their designated caregivers. The DHSS issues patients’ caregivers in Missouri with identification cards, which they must present in order to be allowed to buy medical marijuana on behalf of their wards.
Missouri includes a broad range of derivatives and paraphernalia under the description of medical marijuana. These include, but are not limited to, edibles such as hashish, tinctures, cannabidiol [CBD) capsules, creams and lotions, concentrates, sprays, and lozenges. Medical marijuana dispensaries are thus granted permission to sell these varieties of the substance to licensed patients.
Licensed dispensaries must tell their customers about the varieties of medical marijuana available at their shops and the adverse effects of each strain. Because medical marijuana can be ingested by any means and with any number of paraphernalia, dispensaries are also to provide their customers with details about how effective these diverse means of ingestion can be. Furthermore, due to marijuana's potential for abuse and addiction, dispensaries in Missouri are mandated to furnish their customers with the helpline of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is (800) 662-4357.
Missouri started licensing dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana on February 3, 2023. Therefore, adults aged 21 or older can visit these dispensaries to purchase marijuana. They can buy and possess up to 3 oz. of marijuana. Dispensaries must confirm the age of those buying adult-use marijuana by asking for their IDs.
The legalization of recreational marijuana in December 2022 has brought a number of changes to the penalties for marijuana-related offenses in Missouri. For one, the possession of up to 3 oz. is permissible for non-medical users aged 21 years or older.
Under the provisions of SB 491, the possession of 10 grams or less is no longer considered a Class A misdemeanor, an offense which would have attracted a penalty of up to a year in prison. Possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana is now a Class D misdemeanor, which attracts a fine of not more than $500. However, a second offense would attract a maximum fine of $2,000 and 1 year of incarceration.
In Missouri, an individual caught with 10 - 35 grams of marijuana would be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by 1 year of incarceration and up to $2,000 in fine. Possession of 35 grams - 30 kilograms of marijuana is a felony attracting a punishment of 7 years in prison or up to a $10,000 fine.
In Missouri, the illegal sale of:
The sale of cannabis to a minor is a felony punishable by 3 - 15 years incarceration and a fine amounting to twice the profit on the sale. This same fine amount is recommended for distributing cannabis near a school, public housing, or recreational park. This felonious offense also attracts a prison term of 10 - 30 years of a life term depending on the discretion of the court.
Similarly, all cannabis trafficking offenses are felonies in Missouri. It penalizes:
After legalizing recreational marijuana, Missouri allowed the home cultivation of marijuana. However, the law puts in a few limitations. First, only adults aged 21 or older can grow marijuana at home. Secondly, individuals intending to grow cannabis plants at home must register with the state and pay an annual fee of $100. They can only grow up to six flowering marijuana plants, six non-flowering plants, and six clones.
In Missouri, the illegal cultivation of cannabis is a felony. Cultivating up to 35 grams marijuana attracts a penalty of up to 4 years in prison; the offender may also be fined up to $10,000. If the offender is charged with cultivating more than 35 grams of marijuana, it is considered a Class C felony and attracts a sentence of between 3 to 10 years in prison. A fine of $10,000 is also applicable. If marijuana is cultivated near the premises of a school, it is considered a Class B felony, punishable in Missouri with a prison sentence between 5 and 15 years and a fine up to twice the profit from the sale.
The State of Missouri considers the possession of marijuana paraphernalia a Class A misdemeanor if the offender intends to deliver it unlawfully. If the offender possesses marijuana paraphernalia for commercial purposes, it is considered a Class E felony. A first-time offender convicted of possessing marijuana paraphernalia will be charged with a misdemeanor, and will serve no prison time but pay up to $500 in fine. A second-time offender will also be charged with a misdemeanor as well but may serve a one-year prison term or pay up to $2,000 in fine. The unlawful manufacture of marijuana paraphernalia is also a misdemeanor and carries the same penalties as a second-time offense of possession.
The motor vehicle license of a Missouri resident caught in possession of marijuana while driving will be revoked. If the offender is below the age of 21, they will face a 90-day driving license suspension.
It is possible to avoid criminal liability for marijuana-related offenses if an individual is covered by the indemnity granted under Missouri's medical marijuana laws.
Offenders who run afoul of Missouri law regarding marijuana possession while driving or driving under the influence may be liable to additional limitations. The state runs a Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program for individuals charged with marijuana offenses.
In 2014 the Missouri Senate passed Senate Bill 491, which was elaborate in its aim of alleviating medical treatment for people with epilepsy. The legal effect of SB 491 was to reduce the punishments and penalties that marijuana-related offenses had hitherto attracted. SB 491 also created a new classification for marijuana-related felonies to be known as Class E and a new classification for marijuana-related misdemeanors to be known as Class D. Individuals caught in possession of marijuana weighing 10 grams or less would under SB 491 be charged with the lesser Class D misdemeanor rather than the more serious Class A misdemeanor.
In the same year, 2014, the Missouri Medical Marijuana Bill HB 2238 was passed into law. This bill made it legal in Missouri to use an active ingredient in marijuana, cannabidiol, to treat patients suffering from epileptic seizures. The legal effect was to reduce the punishments and penalties for the use of hemp extract, and it gave the Missouri Department of Agriculture leave to cultivate hemp for use in research into the medical properties of the cannabis plant.
In November 2018, the Missouri electorate voted to pass Amendment 2. It made the use of marijuana for medical purposes legal in Missouri and was enshrined as Article XIV of the state constitution. Article XIV gave leave to Missouri residents to access medical marijuana provided they met the criteria.
It became legal in Missouri to cultivate, store, and extract derivatives from marijuana, again with a qualified indemnity so long as one kept within the strict provisions of the statute.
On November 8, 2022, Amendment 3 appeared on the ballot to let Missouri residents vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in the state. It won by a 53 - 47 margin. Exactly a month later, the recreational use of marijuana became legal in Missouri for adults aged 21 or older. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services set a start date of February 6, 2023 for the legal sale of adult-use marijuana in the state. However, it began handing out licenses for recreational dispensaries on February 3, effectively beginning the sale of adult-use cannabis 3 days early.
The fact that medical marijuana is legalized for use by qualifying patients in Missouri does not mean that a visitor from a nearby state where medical marijuana is also legal is guaranteed a license for its use in Missouri. Article XIV of the state constitution disclaims any such 'reciprocity' between Missouri state medical marijuana laws and those of other states. Missouri medical marijuana card holders are prohibited from taking marijuana across state lines.
However, visitors can purchase adult-use marijuana without requiring to present medical marijuana cards in Missouri. Note that recreational cannabis users have a lower purchase and possession limit than qualified medical marijuana patients in the state.
Furthermore, as the use of marijuana for recreational or medical purposes is still illegal under US federal law, Missouri residents or holders of medical marijuana licenses are not granted permission to use medical marijuana on federal property in Missouri. The use of marijuana in federal buildings or national parks, for instance, is illegal in Missouri. Consequently, users of medical marijuana in Missouri are also forbidden from consuming marijuana in any space or place designated as public. Even if the consumption takes place on nominally private property, if that property is equally open and accessible to public view, it is then considered a public place. By this restriction, an individual cannot consume marijuana on Missouri bridges, streets, or sidewalks, nor in Missouri parks, business premises, or school buildings.