12 Nov Missouri Legalizes Medical Marijuana
Even as little as four years ago Missouri seemed like a state that may never take the right steps toward medical marijuana legalization, despite the overwhelming demonstrated medical benefits.
After a clear and decisive vote on November’s Amendment 2 ballot measure, the Missouri Government must now enshrine patient’s right to access of medical grade marijuana into the state’s constitution. So, what does this mean for patients in Missouri, and for the medical marijuana industry in our state? Here’s a quick overview of what is expected to happen next, and spoiler alert, it involves a bit of waiting.
First, The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (the agency tasked with administering and regulating medical marijuana) will spend months developing rules and regulations before the first medical marijuana card can be applied for, much less granted. It will take even longer before anyone can apply to grow it or sell it.
- By June the Missouri health department must create a marijuana card application form that patients can bring to their doctors. It’s unclear right now whether the forms will require the doctors to explicitly recommend marijuana or just confirm the patients have a medical condition that qualifies them for marijuana.The state must also provide application forms for people who want to grow medical marijuana, infuse it into oils and edible products or sell it in any form, whether raw plant, edible or otherwise. The constitutional amendment allows patients to grow up to six plants at home, but they will need a license for that, in addition to their marijuana card.
- By July the state must start accepting and evaluating medical marijuana card applications from patients. State health officials will have 30 days to determine if they qualify.
- By August the state must start accepting and evaluating cultivation, infusion and dispensary licenses. State officials will have 150 days to determine who qualifies.
The state will also have to write rules about how much people with marijuana cards can buy and possess at one time, though Amendment 2 provides some minimum limits.
Local governments should also be writing their own regulations. Amendment 2 doesn’t allow cities and counties to ban dispensaries or cultivators within their borders, but it does allow them to limit things like where they’re located and what hours they’re open.
The dispensary and cultivator licensing process may be the most important part of the process. Without dispensaries and cultivators to support patient demand, the Amendment has little effectiveness. It will be important, once application guidelines are set, for cannabis businesses to have their ducks in a row. Business owners will need to have their branding in place, product packaging in (at least) the development stage, business plan finalized, and many other operational procedures defined.See the Full Amendment Text